John & Charles Wesley

24 May -- Lesser Festival -- Pastors -- White

Born at Epworth Rectory in Lincolnshire, John Wesley was the son of an Anglican clergyman and a Puritan mother. He entered Holy Orders and, following a religious experience on this day in 1738, began an itinerant ministry which recognised no parish boundaries. This resulted, after his death, in the development of a world-wide Methodist Church. His spirituality involved an Arminian affirmation of grace, frequent communion and a disciplined corporate search for holiness. His open-air preaching, concern for education and for the poor, liturgical revision, organisation of local societies and training of preachers provided a firm basis for Christian growth and mission in England.

Charles shared with his brother John the building up of early Methodist societies, as they travelled the country. His special concern was that early Methodists should remain loyal to Anglicanism. He married and settled in Bristol, later in London, concentrating his work on the local Christian communities. His thousands of hymns established a resource of lyrical piety which has enabled generations of Christians to re-discover the refining power of God's love. They celebrate God's work of grace from birth to death, the great events of God's work of salvation and the rich themes of eucharistic worship, anticipating the taking up of humanity into the divine life.

John died in 1791 and Charles in 1788.


God of mercy,
who inspired John and Charles Wesley
   with zeal for your gospel:
grant to all people boldness to proclaim your word
and a heart ever to rejoice in singing your praises;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

A reading from the prophecy of Ezekiel.

The Lord God said to me: O mortal, stand up on your feet, and I will speak with you. And when he spoke to me, a spirit entered into me and set me on my feet; and I heard him speaking to me. He said to me, Mortal, I am sending you to the people of Israel, to a nation of rebels who have rebelled against me; they and their ancestors have transgressed against me to this very day. The descendants are impudent and stubborn. I am sending you to them, and you shall say to them, "Thus says the Lord God." Whether they hear or refuse to hear (for they are a rebellious house), they shall know that there has been a prophet among them.

This is the word of the Lord.         Ezekiel 2. 1-5

Responsorial Psalm

RSing God's praises among the nations;
[let all the earth come to know the Lord].
Rejoice in the Lord, you righteous;
it is good for the just to sing praises.
Praise the Lord with the harp;
play to him upon the psaltery and lyre. R

Sing for him a new song;
sound a fanfare with all your skill upon the trumpet.
For the word of the Lord is right,
and all his works are sure. R

He loves righteousness and justice;
the loving-kindness of the Lord fills the whole earth.
By the word of the Lord were the heavens made,
by the breath of his mouth all the heavenly hosts. R

He gathers up the waters of the ocean as in a water-skin
and stores up the depths of the sea.
Let all the earth fear the Lord;
let all who dwell in the world stand in awe of him. R         From Psalm 33

A reading from the Letter of Paul to the Ephesians.

Be careful then how you live, not as unwise people but as wise, making the most of the time, because the days are evil. So do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. Do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but be filled with the Spirit, as you sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, singing and making melody to the Lord in your hearts, giving thanks to God the Father at all times and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

This is the word of the Lord.         Ephesians 5. 15-20

Hear the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Mark.

The apostles gathered around Jesus, and told him all that they had done and taught. He said to them, "Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while." For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. And they went away in the boat to a deserted place by themselves. Now many saw them going and recognised them, and they hurried there on foot from all the towns and arrived ahead of them. As he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.

This is the gospel of Christ.         Mark 6. 30-34

Post Communion

God, shepherd of your people,
whose servants John and Charles Wesley
revealed the loving service of Christ
   in their ministry as pastors of your people:
by this eucharist in which we share
awaken within us the love of Christ
and keep us faithful to our Christian calling;
through him who laid down his life for us,
but is alive and reigns with you, now and for ever.