The hymn that Charles Wesley and his brother, John sang following John’s personal experience of conversion, ‘Where shall  my wondering soul begin?’ at a meeting in Aldersgate Street on 24 May, 1738 provides a clue to one of God’s characters as no respecter of persons. ‘But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted’ (Acts 10:35). In Greek, the word ‘respecter of persons is prosopolemptes in relation to ‘a judge who looks at a man’s face instead of at the facts of the case, and makes a decision based on whether or not he likes the man.’ The hymn ‘Where shall my wondering soul begin’  points to the fact that God’s window of forgiveness has no respect of persons, age, political affiliation, colour, position, Jews or Gentile.

In God’s equal chance and fairness towards all humans lies His Character of free salvation to everyone through Jesus Christ (Jn 3:16). The reflection is that it is only the grace of Jesus Christ that we need to accept in order to find peace, healing for our wondering souls and gain eternity with God. God commanded us to choose life and live hence, we all have a choice with eternal consequences (Deut 30:19). There were two thieves on the cross along with Jesus. These two represents every person on earth. The one on the left kept mocking and insulting Jesus while the one on the right had become sick and convicted of his sin, and confessed it (Luke 23:40, 41).

Aldersgate Sunday points us to the fact that confession is good for the soul hence, as we confess our sins, God is cleansing us from all unrighteousness. Aldersgate Sunday summons us, all the wondering souls to the experience of God’s forgiving love, ‘antepast (foretaste) of heaven.’ God is no respecter of persons and nations hence, Jesus Christ ‘opens his arms to all ‘outcast,’ inviting all to believe. Aldersgate Sunday calls us to recall the beginning of Methodism shaped by conversion of soul just as Charles confessed his ‘unbelief and want of forgiveness,’ 279 years ago.

All sins come from unbelief in God’s promises and the greatest sin today is the sin of unbelief with many wondering souls as in the days of Charles and John Wesley. In a generation where currency of unbelief flourishes, Scriptural truth becomes so familiar with contempt, disdain, and despise. Aldersgate Sunday as a fundamental drive and invitation to save human souls from the consequences of sin, ‘wrath and hell’ points to heaven aspiration. Aldersgate Sunday prepares the believer for the fullness of God’s power and to receive the precious promises of God’s Word with experience of spiritual victory. Using the words of Charles Wesley, Aldersgate Sunday calls and summons you and me to ‘Come, O my guilty kindred, come, groaning beneath your load of sin! His bleeding heart shall make you room, his open side shall take you in; he calls you now, invites you home: come, O my guilty kindred, come.’

 

Prayer: O Lord, in Your mercy, forgive us our sin of unbelief.