A Name

Here are my thoughts for the “Back Page” of the Fishkill UMC bulletin for July 28, 2019, the 7th Sunday after Pentecost (Year C). On August 18th, we will be having a hymn sing so feel free to add a comment with your favorite hymn or two. I would also appreciate your thoughts on what the hymn means to you.

This is about  our collective name.  To say that one is a Christian means that one is a follower of Christ.  It has been that way for just over 2000 years now.  But what does it mean when we say we are a Methodist?

Now, if you have been attending the new member class, you know the answer to that question.  But just in case you haven’t been attending or if you forgot, we are Methodists because John Wesley, along with his brother Charles and a few of their college friends, to strengthen their faith developed a program of regular prayer and service.  This regular program, or method, was derided by their contemporaries.  But to John Wesley’s credit, he took this pejorative and made it a positive.

Instead of just being a personal plan, Methodism became the plan for taking the Gospel from inside the church to the people in the fields and factories.  Methodism changed the course of society. 

But just as Wesley proudly accepted the label, he also worried that those people called Methodists would become complacent, creating a situation very similar that lead to the rise of Methodism.

The world around us today calls for Methodists, individually and collectively, to again step forward, to make a public statement of faith and to speak out and work against injustice in all its forms.  We may be called names, just as those who came before us were, but we know that, with our faith in Christ and the method of our faith, we can change the world.  That is what our name means.                                                                 ~Tony Mitchell

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