The name of "Methodist" for John Wesley and his followers was coined by their critics. It was a negative commentary on their "methodical" attention to their walk of faith. They would gather together to pray, study the Bible, and seek to "confess Christ — not by words alone, but by the living of our lives."
That practice — of giving thoughtful consideration to what we see and what we say and what we do — is another word for "mindfulness." It broadens and deepens our relationship with the Beloved, making us aware of God's presence in all places at all times; and it calls us to care for all that God loves. Our faith and belief impels us to be prayerfully at work in the world; living lives of "practical Christianity."
A Modern "Rule of Life"
- We are not called to be perfect; but to keep making the effort to do as our Lord taught us, so it may be "on earth as it is in heaven." The best place to begin — the only place — is in the conduct of our own lives.
- A Methodist has been blessed with a deep and abiding love of God: a soul born ever-upward in the joy and delight of life and its Creator.
- A Methodist strives to follow the Holy One faithfully, passionately — with heart and soul and mind and strength; seeking to do good and resist sins and petty-mindedness.
- A Methodist's daily bread is prayer and thanksgiving: nourishing the soul and inspiring the spirit.
- A Methodist studies the Scriptures — not as a dry history text or rigid law book, but as a living Voice; confident that the Holy Spirit continues to reveal God's will for us through them.
- A Methodist seeks to discern the will of the Beloved through prayerful, reasoned consideration of the Scriptures, history and traditional teachings, and the experience of daily living.
- A Methodist's heart is warmed by compassion for all creatures great and small. Christ's commandment to love and care for one another is the basis for all decisions.
- A Methodist does not seek to escape from the world, but to re-form it into the heavenly haven our Lord proclaimed. A Methodist is dedicated to alleviating suffering and hunger, and eradicating hatred and violence.
- A Methodist treats the body as the sacrament it is: nourishing it adequately, treating it kindly, and delighting in its beauty.
- A Methodist is a good steward, protecting and nurturing all that the Beloved has given to our care: this precious earth and all who dwell upon it.
- A Methodist speaks the truth, and refutes lies and deceptions.
- A Methodist does not force conversions nor demand allegiance to a creed or doctrine; trusting instead in the persuasive sweetness and redemptive power of the Beloved.
- A Methodist lives a life of practical piety, observing John Wesley's counsel: "Do all the good you can, in all the ways you can, to all the souls you can, in every place you can, at all the times you can, with all the zeal you can, as long as ever you can."
- A Methodist knows that we can do better and has faith that — with the help of our God — we shall continue to grow in grace and truth.
Perhaps, after reading this, you've discovered that what a Methodist looks like — is you!