Today, May 24th, is Aldersgate Day. “Aldersgate Day is celebrated on May 24 (or the Sunday closest) to commemorate the day in 1738 when John Wesley experienced assurance of his salvation. Wesley reluctantly attended a group meeting that evening on Aldersgate Street in London. As he heard a reading from Luther’s Preface to the Epistle to the Romans, he felt his ‘heart strangely warmed.’ Wesley wrote in his journal that at about 8:45 p.m., ‘while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone for salvation; and an assurance was given me that He had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.’”*
A few years ago, I had the opportunity to travel with a class at Boston University School of Theology to the United Kingdom as an alumni. On our trip we traveled to London and were able to visit all the historical Methodist sites. It felt surreal to be visiting places I had only read about in books. One of the places we visited was Aldersgate Street where John Wesley experienced his heart being “strangely warmed.” There is a plaque sharing about the moment and also a sculpture featuring John Wesley’s journal entry written out. The small group I was with took a moment to read through the journal entry together and share our own moments when we experienced our hearts being ‘strangely warmed.’
As we remember the day when John Wesley’s heart was ‘strangely warmed,’ it is a good time for us to reflect on a moment or moments when our own hearts were ‘strangely warmed’. Rev. Jeff Lowery wrote a song about this moment that our youth band Sanctuary shared in worship yesterday. Simply play the video below to listen.
As you take a moment to pause and reflect I invite you to share your moments in the comment section of this blog post.
Pastor Alyssa Baker
*United Methodist Church. www.umc.org/en/content/ask-the-umc-what-is-aldersgate-day. Accessed 24 May 2021.