24 May 2020 – A reflection by Rev Ajay Singh
This week we have two major events to consider in our reflection. It was Ascension Day last Thursday (21st May), and on Sunday (24th May) Methodists celebrate Aldersgate Sunday.
Ascension Day: As you know, traditionally, Ascension Day is celebrated on the 40th day after Easter Sunday, which is a Thursday, and commemorates Jesus Christ’s ascension into heaven. Jesus and his disciples went to Mount Olive near Jerusalem and they were the actual witnesses as Jesus ascended to heaven.
Aldersgate Sunday: On 24th May 1738 John Wesley unwillingly attended worship at a Moravian ‘Religious Society’ meeting on Aldersgate Street in London. It was during this service that he felt his “heart strangely warmed” as he experienced God’s love in a most personal and life-giving way. Until then he had known God in his mind, but not in his heart. Now he understood the value of a personal experience of God that would bring assurance of salvation to the believer.
It’s a great opportunity for us to celebrate the work of God in our lives, and to reflect on how we should respond to everything that God has given us, like Jesus, in his pastoral prayer in John 17, submitting his task after fulfilling the purpose He came to this world.
John 17 : 1-11, where Jesus commends himself to God is an eye opener for us in how he relates himself to God and His association with Him from the very beginning of creation. His prayer is a kind of report to God with humble submission:
Concern – I pray for the people, whom You have given to me.
Introduction – People, who know you and your word.
Submission – What belonged to me belongs to you.
Security – I am about to leave in a while, may they be protected in your name.
John Wesley and his brother Charles both encountered the Holy Spirit that night with the result that that which they had been practising became clearer – understanding their faith and salvation and the meaning of serving God. Their lives were transformed. I know of a few people who have shared similar testimony: they have been reading the Bible since childhood, attending worship regularly on a Sunday and know most of the stories and teachings of the Bible, but, when they became frustrated, and their faith was tested in time of trouble and distress, tried to push themselves off the track of faith that they were following. Then some magic happened and they experienced a big change in their lives: The Word became clearer and understandable and they started living those words in their lives.
We may have the similar or different experiences in our world. Remember: we should pay the price of having faith in Jesus by joining Him in his mission, which may happen to anyone after they encounter the Holy Spirit.
Ultimately, we all need to submit ourselves to God. May the Spirit of the Lord be upon you!
Rev Ajay Singh