"Do all the good you can,
By all the means you can,
In all the ways you can,
In all the places you can,
At all the times you can
To all the people you can
As long as ever you can!"
Those are the words are generally attributed to brothers John and Charles Wesley. Today the Anglican Church commemorates these brother preachers and evangelists. John is regarded as the founder of Methodism. While both Charles and John were Anglican until death, there were often at odds with the church and created and supported what was then the Methodist movement. In fact when the societies became too numerous for John to visit he drew up General Rules which became the nucleus for the Methodist discipline that is quoted above. In the meantime Charles wrote of 6600 hymns, many of which are standards for us today.
Charles Wesley plays a role in our Christmas celebration each year as we sing with great joy, "Hark the Herald Angels Sing." Throughout the year we raise songs like "Love Divine, All Loves Excelling," and "Rejoice the Lord is King," or perhaps "Come Thou Long Expected Jesus," or even "O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing!" While we may be on the long journey toward the Christian Passover and may sometimes lament the lack of celebration as we fast and pray, we look forward to Easter and when it arrives when we will sing with excitement "Jesus Christ is Risen Today." Wesley left a lasting impression that we see and hear regularly.These were very busy brothers. They have left a legacy that we are all grateful for.
Speaking of busy people, on Sunday we had The Hon. Howard Pawley remind us that doing the work of justice is really a mandate for all of us. It was the beginning of our Lenten Justice Series. The series now moves to Wednesday evenings throughout Lent. Tomorrow evening we will hear from Dr. Norm Becker. While Norm is known to many of us at St. Mark’s as the generous Engineer who has done so much to help us complete our dream of Raising the Roof, Norm is known around our community, to other communities in our country, and to communities around the world as a man who cares enough to work for a difference. I think the ‘rule of life’ above is a mantra that Norm must live by. Norm genuinely cares for people and genuinely wants to make a difference and in his hard working approach, he is doing just that. It occurs to me on this very cold Lenten day that our hearts might be warmed by such acts of love and kindness. It is a witness to all. Norm is not ordained, he does not belong to any specific congregation or for that matter subscribe to any church or religion that I am aware of. I don’t belive that he spends much time in church at all – on Sundays that is! Yet he takes what he has been given, his engineering skill, and uses it to advance the lives of those who need the help. Sometimes those of us in the church need to hear a fresh perpective, and Norm is just that.
What gifts have we been given? What are we doing with them? I invite us on this Lenten journey to ask ourselves, are we doing all the good we can, by all the means we can, in all the ways we can, in all the places we can, at all the times we can, to all the people we can, as long as we can? Let’s be content to live in the question and respond appropriately by acting.
You can hear Norm Becker Speak at 7:30 PM at St. Mark’s by-the-Lake Church.