It has often been said that Methodism was born in song and that Methodists sing their theology! Singing hymns is a way of worshiping God, just as the Jews did with psalms long ago!! These songs highlight doctrine and Bible passages. They were memorable and thus invaluable long ago, when many were illiterate. Methodists sing hymns and choruses from many different sources but among those we love best are the Wesleyan hymns……..
Methodists love to sing
“Come thou long Expected Jesus Born to set thy people free….”
“Hark the Herald Angels Sing
Glory to the new born King,
Peace on earth and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled!”
John Wesley wrote many hymns, but it was his brother Charles who was the more prolific poet, and he wrote over 6000 hymns
- Praising God,
- Celebrating Christian faith,
- Reflecting the church year from the incarnation to the death of Christ and
- Explaining doctrine in simple terms.
Many of them we still sing today!
Music was essential to singing and many hymns borrowed popular tunes! Traditional Methodist churches have a band stand where musicians sat to accompany the singing! Organs only came into use later and were initially thought a little too reminiscent of fairgrounds!
Prayers, Liturgies and Service Books
Methodist Churches do have service layouts and liturgies which give form to our services, but they are not always used exclusively, and so informal free prayer and free expression of beliefs is a common feature of a Methodist service. Methodism traditionally appealed to working class people and so did informality. It would not be true to say church was free of formal beliefs and practices, however. Each church is linked to an Irish Connection and the Worldwide Methodist church. Members come together regularly, to ensure a consistency of teaching and practical Christianity.
Bible Reading and Sermon
Methodists tend to seem more informal than many other churches, but Bible reading is an important part of our service. We usually follow the same lectionary (three-year Sunday sequence of Bible readings) as do our brothers and sisters in Roman Catholic and Anglican churches. Generally, an Old Testament, a New Testament and a Psalm are suggested for each Sunday. The sermon then tries to unpack a message from one or more of them.
Methodists usually have a children’s sermon, which young people can listen to before going off to their own Sunday School and Adults can settle down, without distractions, for the rest of the service! It is often on the same theme as the main sermon and helps us all look at our lives differently.
Methodists join for the Lord’s Supper (“Mass”) as instructed by Jesus. This happens about once a month. and all who “love the Lord” are invited to join us.
We also baptise children or adults as per Jesus’ example
Most Methodist services want to inspire you and then send you forth to live and work to God’s praise and glory. At some point there may be a collection of money to symbolise our giving of ourselves and our belongings to God’s work. Not everyone gives on a Sunday. Some do direct Debit! So, don’t worry if you weren’t expecting this and haven’t a contribution! It is not the point of our coming to Worship! Really!
For a little more about Charles Wesley you may like to look at this you tube documentary!