Monday Musings – July 4, 2016

Dear Friends,

Some of you met Wayne Lavender when he was with us in late April.  Wayne was running and walking from Virginia Beach, Virginia to Portland, Oregon where he did his best to persuade the General Conference of the United Methodist Church to make caring for orphans worldwide our missional priority for the next four years.  (He came close, and he has not given up.)  While he was here, he gave me a book he had written, Who Will Care For the Orphan?  It ended up under a pile of books I wanted to get to first, but I finished it yesterday. I highly recommend it.

I learned two things from reading this book, not related to its central message, that I am embarrassed to admit I did not know.  I may be the only United Methodist pastor who would have been surprised by these two bits of trivia, but I sure was.

First, I learned John Wesley’s middle name.  I didn’t think he had one.  He never used it, but the full name he was given at birth was John Benjamin Wesley.

Second, I learned that Jesus wasn’t the only one who came back to life on Easter (See Matthew 27:52-53).  I have read those same verses many times, but somehow this startling bit of information never quite registered.

It got me to thinking how much we all have to learn.  My life’s work has involved the Bible and John Wesley, and if I didn’t know these two bits of basic information, what else do I not know?  Kind of scary, huh?

It’s not a bad goal for all of us every single day to learn something we didn’t know before.  Not that we’ll ever know it all, but at least we’ll know more than we do right now.  And the more we know, the more we will realize how much we still don’t know.  As Ralph Sockman, a Methodist pastor of a few years ago, said:  “The larger the island of knowledge, the longer the shoreline of wonder.”

No Monday Musings next week.  Helen and I will be on vacation.  Rochelle Killett is preaching on July 10.  I know you’ll want to come hear her.

In Christ, John