May 24, 2023
If you have been in The United Methodist Church for any amount of time, perhaps you have heard of Aldersgate Day. It is celebrated on May 24 each year to commemorate the day in 1738 when John Wesley experienced assurance of his salvation. According to our UMC Communications, Wesley reluctantly attended a group meeting the evening of May 24, 1738 on
Aldersgate Street in London. As he heard a reading from Martin Luther’s Preface to the Epistle to the Romans, Wesley 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.”
Charles Wesley, John’s brother, only a few days before had also had a conversion experience in a building that still stands on an adjacent block (John Bray’s house on Little Britain). We do not know whether the building where John Wesley’s experience took place still exists, nor exactly in which building on Aldersgate Street it may have been if it still stands. A monument at the London Museum on Aldersgate Street marks where some believe the building may have been.
A plaque on Aldersgate in London, which is now the financial district in the city.
I have always thought the choice of words describing his experience that night was always so beautiful. Wesley said his heart was “strangely warmed.” He experienced God in a new way on that evening and it truly changed his life moving forward. God’s grace and the love of God was an essential topic of theology for Wesley. God showed up in a powerful way in the life of
Wesley that evening in 1738, and God still show up in our lives in 2023.
Wesley preaching to an outdoor crowd in Epworth, UK, where he grew up as a child.
In what ways has your heart been strangely warmed by God? As Pentecost Sunday is now upon us, may we all seek after and outpouring of the Holy Spirit in our lives as live as faithful disciples of Jesus Christ!
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