Almighty God, we commend to your gracious care and keeping all the men and women of our armed forces at home and abroad. Defend them day by day with your heavenly grace; strengthen them in their trials and temptations; give them courage to face the perils which beset them; and grant them a sense of your abiding presence wherever they may be; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
“While the storm clouds gather far across the sea,
Let us swear allegiance to a land that’s free,
Let us all be grateful for a land so fair,
As we raise our voices in a solemn prayer. ”
God Bless America,
Land that I love.
Stand beside her, and guide her
Thru the night with a light from above.
From the mountains, to the prairies,
To the oceans, white with foam
God bless America, My home sweet home.
—Words and music by Irving Berlin, ©1938, 1939
O Captain my Captain! our fearful trip is done,
The ship has weathered every rack, the prize we sought is won,
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring;
But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.
O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up—for you the flag is flung for you the bugle trills,
For you bouquets and ribboned wreaths for you the shores a-crowding,
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
Here Captain! dear father!
This arm beneath your head!
It is some dream that on the deck,
You’ve fallen cold and dead.
My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still;
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will;
The ship is anchored safe and sound, its voyage closed and done;
From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won;
Exult O shores, and ring O bells!
But I, with mournful tread,
Walk the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.
There is a price for everything,
nothing is easy, nothing free.
To be left without wanting,
then you must pay the cost.
With little price paid
and your appreciation lean,
value slips away to fade.
The desired becomes ignored.
If you yearn, if necessity be,
work for it to earn the worth.
Then care for it that you shall see,
the appraisal shall not deflate.
Freedom comes to everyone,
if the price be paid, with blood.
Sacrifice for sake of freedom,
it is not easy and it is not free
—©2002 Roger W Hancock (www.PoetPatriot.com)
Whenever I see a soldier boy
No matter where it be
I give him salutation
for he means so much to me
He’s not the boy we used to know
In store, at desk or plow
He’s a defender of our faith
He’s in the service now
He keeps Old Glory flying
on land and air and sea
He lives to make our homes secure
He dies to keep us free.
—© 1942 Sam Miller
Today we conclude our series of excerpts from the writings of Fr. John Wesley that celebrate/commemorate his Aldersgate experience. I hope you have enjoyed Fr. John!
There is only one condition previously required of those who desire admission into these [Methodist] societies: “a desire to flee from the wrath to come, and to be saved from their sins.” It is therefore expected of all who continue therein that they should continue to evidence their desire of salvation, First: By doing no harm, by avoiding evil of every kind, especially that which is most generally practiced, such as: The taking of the name of God in vain. Drunkenness. Slaveholding. Secondly: By doing good; by being in every kind merciful after their power; as they have opportunity, doing good of every possible sort, and, as far as possible, to all men. Thirdly: By attending upon all the ordinances of God; such are: The public worship of God. The ministry of the Word, either read or expounded. The Supper of the Lord. Family and private prayer. Searching the Scriptures. Fasting or abstinence.
If there be any among us who observe [these rules] not, who habitually break any among them, let it be known unto them who watch over that soul as they who must give an account. We will admonish him of the error of his ways. We will bear with him for a season. But then, if he repents not, he has no more place among us. We have delivered our own souls.
—The Book of Discipline of the UMC 1996, 70-72
There you have it. Mutual Christian accountability to help live lives worthy of the call. Cool.
Is not the eating of that [communion] bread, and the drinking of that [communion] cup, the outward, visible means, whereby God conveys into our souls all that spiritual grace, that righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy ghost, which were purchased by the body of Christ once broken and the blood of Christ once shed for us? Let all, therefore, who truly desire the grace of God, eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.
—Sermon 16, 5.195
Here is a hard season coming on, and everything very dear; thousands of poor souls, yea, Christians, dread the approaching calamities. O that God would stir up the hearts of all that believe themselves his children, to evidence it by showing mercy to the poor, as God has shown them mercy! Surely the real children of God will do it of themselves; for it is the natural fruit of a branch in Christ. I would not desire them to lose one meal in a week, but to use as cheap food, clothes as possible.
By Christian Perfection, I mean, 1. Loving God with all our heart. Do you object to this? I mean, 2. A heart and life all devoted to God. Do you desire less? I mean, 3. Regaining the whole image of God. What objection to this? I mean, 4. Having all the mind that was in Christ. Is this going too far? I mean, 5. Walking uniformly as Christ walked. And this surely no Christian will object to. If any one means anything more, or anything else by Perfection, I have no concern with it.
Christian perfection does not imply an exemption from ignorance, or mistake, or infirmities, or temptations; but that it does imply the being so crucified with Christ, as to be able to testify, “I live not but Christ lives in me.” (Galatians 2:20) and has “purified my heart by faith.” (Acts 15.9.) It does imply “the being holy, as he that has called us is holy, in all manner of conversation:” (2 Corinthians 10:5; 1 Peter 1:15;) and, in a word, “the loving the Lord our God with all our heart, and serving him with all our strength.”
—An Earnest Appeal to Men of Reason and Religion, 8.22
Today we continue our celebration/commemoration of Wesley’s Aldersgate experience by highlighting one of his distinctive contributions to theology: Christian perfection.
A year or two after, Mr. Law’s “Christian Perfection” and “Serious Call” were put into my hands. These convinced me, more than ever, of the absolute impossibility of being half a Christian; and I determined, through his grace, (the absolute necessity of which I was deeply sensible of,) to be all-devoted to God, to give him all my soul my body, and my substance.
—A Plain Account of Christian Perfection, 11.367
We continue our weeklong celebration/commemoration of Wesley’s Aldersgate experience.
By Methodists I mean, a people who profess to pursue (in whatsoever measure they have attained) holiness of heart and life, inward and outward conformity in all things to the revealed will of God; who place religion in an uniform resemblance of the great object of it; in a steady imitation of Him they worship, in all his imitable perfections; more particularly, in justice, mercy, and truth, or universal love filling the heart, and governing the life.
—Advice to the People Called Methodists, 8.352