Tag Archive | john wesley

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing!

Once upon a time, two missionary brothers, John and Charles Wesley, were introduced to worship by a few German Moravian Christians while crossing the Atlantic Ocean.  The Wesley brothers were impressed with the hymn singing of the Moravians, even while sailing through fierce Atlantic storms.  They realized that hymn singing could be an uplifting, spiritual experience.

Fast forward a few years…Charles Wesley’s hymns was first published in 1739, and brother John followed suit with his own hymnal, which he prefaced with this directive:

Sing lustily and with good courage. Beware of singing as if you were half dead, or half asleep; but lift up your voice with strength. Be no more afraid of your voice now, nor more ashamed of its being heard, then when you sung the songs of Satan.

 Above all sing spiritually. Have an eye to God in every word you sing. Aim at pleasing him more than yourself, or any other creature. [1]

Today’s Christmas carol shares the gospel of grace and calls for hearty singing with good courage!  Let us focus today on Jesus, the newborn King, Prince of Peace, our everlasting Lord, and Son of Righteousness, bringing Light, Life, and healing to us all!! And we will live happily ever after!

 

Hark!  The Herald Angels Sing!
          
 by Charles Wesley

 Hark the herald angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King!
Peace on earth and mercy mild
God and sinners reconciled
Joyful, all ye nations rise
Join the triumph of the skies
With the angelic host proclaim:
“Christ is born in Bethlehem”
Hark! The herald angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King!”
 
 Christ by highest heav’n adored
Christ the everlasting Lord!
Late in time behold Him come
Offspring of a Virgin’s womb
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see
Hail the incarnate Deity
Pleased as man with man to dwell
Jesus, our Emmanuel
Hark! The herald angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King!”
 
 
Hail the heav’n-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Son of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings
Ris’n with healing in His wings
Mild He lays His glory by
Born that man no more may die
Born to raise the sons of earth
Born to give them second birth
Hark! The herald angels sing
 

 

I uploaded two versions of this song in the music box.  Chris Tomlin’s rendition is from his Christmas CD,  Glory in the Highest.  And I had to include a personal favourite, sung by Johnny Cash.

[1]  from John Wesley’s Select Hymns, 1761

Who IS My Neighbor?

“Love your neighbor.”


After my last post on loving our neighbor, I brainstormed the age-old question, Who IS my neighbor?” 

This question, from Luke 10:29, was originally posed to Jesus by a lawyer, who was “wishing to justify himself.”   [Some things never change 🙂 ]

The Greek word for neighbor comes from plesion, which means “the near.”  So a neighbor is anyone, everyone who is near:

Spouse
Children
Parents
Siblings
Other Family
Friends
Neighboring neighbors
Co-workers
Students
Professors
People at church
Strangers we walk past
The cashier, waitress, security guard, traffic cop, taxi driver we encounter
The homeless person we walk past, or try not to walk past
The immigrants, legal and illegal, that we notice each day

After Jesus shares a parable in response to the lawyer’s question (known to many as The Good Samaritan), Jesus asks,  “Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers’ hands?”

The lawyer responded, “The one who showed mercy toward him.”

Jesus said to him, “Go and do the same.”  

John Wesley commented on this Scripture, saying,

“‘Go and do the like manner’.  Let us go and do likewise, regarding every man as our neighbor who needs our assistance. Let us renounce that bigotry and party zeal which would contract our hearts into an insensibility for all the human race, but for a small number whose sentiments and practices are so much our own, that our love of them is but self love reflected!”

Everyone is our neighbor.

Matthew Henry drew a similar conclusion from Jesus’ instruction:

No one will ever love God and his neighbor with any measure of pure, spiritual love, who is not made a partaker of converting grace….It is lamentable to observe how selfishness governs all ranks; how many excuses men will make to avoid trouble or expense in relieving others.

“But the true Christian has the law of love written in his heart. The Spirit of Christ dwells in him; Christ’s image is renewed in his soul. The parable is a beautiful explanation of the law of loving our neighbor as ourselves, without regard to nation, party, or any other distinction…. The believer considers that Jesus (thus) loved him, and gave his life for him…and having shown him mercy, he bids him go and do likewise.  It is the duty of us all, in our places, and according to our ability to succor, help and relieve all that are in distress and necessity.” 

Everyone is our neighbor. 

Lord, help us to daily respond in sincere love and mercy to everyone You’ve placed in our lives, just as You’ve demonstrated unconditional kindness, compassion, mercy and love towards us!!