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England Day 6: Susanna Wesley

Today we are in London!  After a brief stop at St. Paul’s Cathedral and lunch at the London Museum, we visited the grave site of John Wesley’s mother, Susanna.  She is known as the mother of Methodism because her influence on John and Charles was so clearly seen.   

A pastor’s daughter, Susanna married a pastor in the Church of England.  Together she and Samuel had 19 children (9 died as infants).  After taking time each morning for personal prayer and scripture reflection, she would tutor her children for 6 hours each day.  She taught them Latin and Greek and other classical studies.  Each evening she spent individual time with a different child.  She also ran the household and wrote meditations on such things as the Apostle’s Creed and the Ten Commandments.  To get a greater sense of what Susanna was like, check out the 16 rules she kept for her house.  They include everything from not complaining when you receive medicine to learning to pray as soon as you could speak.

One time, while her husband Samuel was away for an extended period, Susanna started holding worship services in her kitchen.  Evidently, Samuel had appointed a guest preacher to cover the Sunday services.  But all his sermons revolved around repaying debts.  Susanna was unhappy about this.  So, she would gather children on Sunday afternoons.  They would sing a psalm.  Then Susanna would give a Bible lesson.  This would be followed by another psalm.  It wasn’t long until neighbors began to ask if they could attend.  At one point there were over two hundred people attending Sunday afternoon service.   At the same time, the Sunday morning service dwindled to nearly nothing (Wikipedia). 

When Samuel heard from the guest preacher what was going on, he wrote to Susanna.  We don’t have a copy of his letter.  But there is a copy of Susanna’s reply to Samuel’s letter.  It is posted on the wall in the family home in Epworth.  Here is a direct quote of part of it.   “If you do after all think fit to dissolve this assembly, do not tell me anymore that you desire me to do it, for that will not satisfy my conscience; but send me your positive command in such full and express terms as may absolve me from all guilt and punishment for neglecting this opportunity of doing good to souls, when you and I shall appear before the great and awful tribunal of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

How’s that for getting to the point?  For Susanna, nothing was more important than helping others encounter Christ.  What about us?  Is leading others to Jesus the main passion and focus of our church?  Does our coming eternity with Him serve as a guide for all we do?  How can we keep the end in mind when it comes to our ministries at FUMC Winter Park?

More London tomorrow!  In the meantime, I pray that God would give me and you the same fervor Susanna Wesley had for the kingdom of God!