“Do No Harm, Do Good, Stay in Love with God”
These are three simple rules for Christian Living.
Simple to remember, harder to practice.
What are the origins of such a simple plan for our Christian living together, we may ask?
Consider that way back in 1739, in London, 8-10 persons deeply convinced of sin earnestly sought redemption and the deeper meaning of salvation. In their need, they reached out to an Anglican Priest named John Wesley, as they knew him to be a man of good reputation and character who cared for those in the city, in the country, in the prisons, and took up collections for the widows and orphans.
Other concerned persons heard about these gatherings and joined in for mutual encouragement, accountability, and service. Word spread. Their numbers grew daily. A few more joined in…. And a few more… And a few more!
This small group of people had no way of knowing they would help give birth to a renewed movement of the Holy Spirit that would spread across the Continent of Europe and to America. After all, it was just three simple rules: Do no harm, do good, and stay in love with God.
Initially these persons sought help because they felt “wrath was continually hanging over their heads!” Who knows what prompted this concern. Maybe they had been through a rough time, had lost a job, or were having difficulty in their marriage or with their kids. Perhaps they felt empty or numb or entrenched in the social and economic injustices of the times. Maybe they had wronged their neighbor, family, or business associate and wanted to make things right. In any event, whatever the trigger, each one felt an awakening and need for new hope and life.
They began meeting together once a week, every Thursday evening at the appointed hour. These were the humble and holy beginnings of our Methodist “United Societies” first in Europe and then in America. Their numbers grew to such a point that they multiplied into smaller groups, where more sharing and personal testimony could take place. “How is it with your soul?” was the familiar question asked of each person each week.
Interesting, isn’t it, that the first rule acknowledges our common human condition and need for God’s grace?
This Sunday, as we gather together to worship God, let us take to heart these simple rules: do no harm, do good, and stay in love with God!
And as always, like Jesus, let us offer hospitality and welcome to any new persons in our midst.
Thanks be to God, God’s goodness is stronger than evil.
Grace and peace,