The Hidden Mr. Wesley

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Yesterday, Patty and I were returning from a lunch with a couple in the Marylebone area of central London.

We noticed a very small, shaded urban park on Marylebone High Street and took a detour through it, discovering it to be part of an old church graveyard. And there in one corner, we came across this monument which was over the grave of Charles Wesley.

I think I was stunned by its obscurity. And awed by the thousands who pass it daily in this major shopping area who have no earthly idea of who lies six feet under.

Along with brother, John who was the organizational genius, Charles helped bring into being the Methodist movement. He was the creator of a new epoch of religious music (sometimes called “hymns of the human school”) which, through easy melodies, words and style, made worship accessible to the unlearned masses and the illiterate.

While John provided the intellectual and theological firepower for the movement, Charles provided the emotional fuel by creating music that had an irresistible appeal through such songs as: Jesus, Lover of My Soul; Hark the Herald Angels Sing; Love Divine All Loves Excelling; and Christ the Lord is Risen Today.

What a remarkable legacy and what obscurity in death.

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