Calvary United Methodist Church | 131 West Second Street | Frederick, MD 21701 Church 301-662-1464 School 301-622-6783 office@calvaryumc.org

According to Google, searches for prayer were at an all-time high during the height of the pandemic. People were looking for ways way to cope amidst the fear and uncertainty. Now that COVID continues to recede we still may wish to find ways to cultivate a deep connection with God. How might we pray and grow in our faith?More than 200 years ago, John Wesley joined with several other like-minded individuals and went out to grow in their spiritual life. These individuals were teased as “Methodists” because they took on “methodical” practices to grow their faith in God. Although times have changed and the particular practices of those first Methodists may not have much appeal to us today, we can learn from them.John Wesley proposed a set of three general rules that he encouraged believers to follow if they wanted to have a deep and meaningful connection to Jesus Christ.  The rules are fairly simple and easy to remember, but they can have a significant impact on how we live out our lives as followers of Jesus.First, DO NO HARM. Second, DO ALL THE GOOD YOU CAN. And third, ATTEND UPON THE ORDINANCES OF GOD, which we can understand to mean, making use of the time-tested ways that God has provided for people to foster genuine spirituality. This would include prayer, studying the Bible, receiving Holy Communion, participating in corporate worship, and giving to the poor. Each of the three rules is simple but they do require some interpretation and fleshing out. Wesley provided examples of what he had in mind for each of these three rules, but the world has changed considerably since then and we have to make some judgments about what applies to each of these rules in our day.Methodism, as a movement, has always been about working out one’s spiritual life in the context of a community of faith. The individual discovers what it means to follow Jesus Christ as they participate in a conversation with other believers. We are to be in conversation with one another, encouraging each other, learning with each other, and offering one another some accountability to grow and become more and more of the person God calls us to be in Christ.We can learn and build upon what has been passed on to us and so come to have a deeply satisfying faith that gives us strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow.Grace and peace,Pastor Steve Larsen