Charles Wesley was, along with his brother John Wesley, the founder of Methodism. Charles Wesley was also one of the most prolific poets and hymn writers in the history of the English language. He has 65 credits in the 1989 United Methodist Hymnal(UMH) and conservative estimates contend that he may have written the lyrics for as many as 6,500 hymns and possibly as many other poems about his family and other elements of his everyday life.
One of the great hymns of the Christian faith that was written by Charles Wesley is “Love Divine, All Loves Excelling” (UMH #384). The title (also the first line) indicate a love that is from God and that exceeds all else. Through the four verses Charles weaves together the thoughts expressed in many Bible verses that describe a love born out of Christ’s compassion and God’s promise of an eternal life in God’s presence.
This hymn is an excellent statement of the Wesley’s (Charles & John) vision of the path of Christian Perfection: “Jesus, thou art all compassion, pure, unbounded love thou art; . . .” in the first verse, “take away the love of sinning;
Alpha and Omega be; . . .” in the second verse, “. . . pray, and praise thee, without ceasing, glory in thy perfect love.” in the third verse, and finally in the fourth verse completing the journey: “Finish, then, thy new creation; pure and spotless let us be: . . . till in heav’n we take our place, till we cast our crowns before thee, lost in wonder, love, and praise.”
This is the Love that Jesus calls us to practice for God, our neighbors, and ourselves (Mark 12.30-31, also in Matthew and Luke), as well as for our enemies (Matthew 5.44). The Apostle Paul says that this Love is beyond human understanding (Ephesians 3.18-19) and that nothing can separated us from it. (Romans 8.38).
I look forward to being your pastor and exploring the Love and Grace of God with you. I am excited about the possibilities that await us as we learn new ways and share old ways of living and celebrating God’s great Love through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior as we become “lost in wonder, love, and praise”.
Grace & Peace,