Why Wesley?: Bob Rauschenberger
When Pastor Miriam asked me if I would consider offering my thoughts about “Why Wesley?”, I sought for a word that others had not yet chosen.” I finally settled on a word that may seem old fashioned and strange….it is the word pilgrim.
Wikipedia defines pilgrim this way. “A traveler (literally one who has come from afar) on a journey to a holy place. A worshiper, devotee, believer.”
So “Why Wesley?” Because, for me, Wesley honors the pilgrim part in each of us. We arrive here from different nations, communities, languages, families, and vocations. We come with unique gifts and talents and aspirations. We bring our joys and sorrows, questions and doubts, successes and failures. When Wesley is at its best, we honor and accept all pilgrims here.
“Why Wesley? “. Because for me, Wesley is not essentially this limestone structure on Green Street, but rather, the diverse community of pilgrims, sojourners, and God seekers that “welcomes and extends the grace of God to everyone.”
Why Wesley? Because, as pilgrims, this place is not our destination. We are all individually and corporately “works in progress”. It does not matter how young or older we are, in God’s eyes, we are all still in growth mode. He is not done with us yet.
As pilgrims and sojourners, we come here to renew our strength for the journey. We offer here praise and prayers. We share a sacramental meal around a common table in memory of our Lord and Savior. We hear God’s word in Scripture and song and Preaching. And then we must be on our way for we are Pilgrims and sojourners and God still has work for us to do.
This is my first smart phone. It is not the latest model but it does have a Map App. When I first used the App I entered our house address as “Home”. Through the magic of GPS, the Global Positioning System, all that I need to do when Maps requests my destination is enter “home”. Instantly, the path to home is displayed often with several alternate routes. This is very useful.
Wesley is for me is like spiritual GPS. It is the place where big “G” God is acknowledged and worshiped. Wesley is the place where we, big “P” pilgrims gather for support and fellowship and where we renew our strength for life’s journey. And finally, Wesley is where the big “S” Savior of the World, Jesus Christ is proclaimed as the way home for all of God’s children. I remind myself that we will arrive by many alternate routes.
Since the first Sunday we came to Wesley nearly a dozen years ago, Meg and I have attended the Scriptural Foundations Adult Sunday School Class. At the end of each class we join hands and pray, one at a time, for our World and our Church and each other. For many years the prayer time ended with our dearly departed member, Alora Bowles, saying “and the people of God said”, the class responding ”Amen”. And Alora leading out “God is Good” and the class responding “All of the time.” And Alora again, “All of the time”. Class response “God is good”.
This is the Wesley message. As his pilgrim people, God is calling us. We must be on our way.
I don’t hear that message so clearly in other places.
That is “Why Wesley” for me.