Unsettled Christianity

Gloria Dei homo vivens – St Irenaeus
April 18th, 2014 by Joel Watts

“Come, sinners, to the Gospel feast” – Charles Wesley

Oft times, Methodists like to pretend that the theology we inherited from John and Charles is that of a symbol — yet, in reading the stanzas, we see sacrificial language, mimicking the high sacramentarianism of the Catho-Anglicans.

This hymn was part of our Maundy Thursday service, and I having never heard it before, listened as intensely as one does to an new lover.

(I note the singers of this version left out some pertinent parts…)

Come, sinners, to the Gospel feast;
Let every soul be Jesus’ guest.
Ye need not one be left behind,
For God hath bid all humankind.

Sent by my Lord, on you I call;
The invitation is to all.
Come, all the world! Come, sinner, thou!
All things in Christ are ready now.

Come, all ye souls by sin oppressed,
Ye restless wanderers after rest;
Ye poor, and maimed, and sick, and blind,
In Christ a hearty welcome find.

Come, and partake the Gospel feast;
Be saved from sin; in Jesus rest;
O taste the goodness of your God,
And eat His flesh, and drink His blood!

You vagrant souls, on you I call;
(O that my voice could reach you all!)
You all may now be justified,
You all may live, for Christ hath died.

My message as from God receive;
Ye all may come to Christ and live.
O let His love your hearts constrain,
Nor permit Him to die in vain.

His love is mighty to compel;
His conquering love consent to feel,
Yield to His love’s resistless power,
And fight against your God no more.

See Him set forth before your eyes,
That precious, bleeding Sacrifice!
His offered benefits embrace,
And freely now be saved by grace.

This is the time, no more delay!
This is the Lord’s accepted day.
Come thou, this moment, at His call,
And live for Him Who died for all.

Joel Watts
Watts holds a MA in Theological Studies from United Theological Seminary. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians, as well as seeking an MA in Clinical Mental Health at Adams State University. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

Comments

10 Responses to ““Come, sinners, to the Gospel feast” – Charles Wesley”
  1. Yikes! “O taste the goodness of your God,
    And eat His flesh, and drink His blood!”
    Reminds me of TSA fixation on “Washed in the blood of the lamb”. I always cringed hearing that one, imagining the poor kids listening to it, thinking “where’s the exit! So far, at least, the UMC hymns seem to be rated PG.

    • that is historic language (John 6…)

      There are several hymnals for use in the UMC… several are more modern

      • Just old dudes interpreting scripture the way they saw it. I like modern UMC, not 18th or 19th century.

        • Scott Fritzsche says

          No matter how modern you make it, the story of Easter and thus the way that all of us can find redemption is not a PG story.

          • “and thus the way that all of us can find redemption is not a PG story”…I think there, we can find a discrepancy in our thought processes! Redemption, I assume, you think is required because Adam decided to eat forbidden fruit. I say, ridiculous. Redemption is not required because there is no such thing as original sin.

          • Agreed – original sin in the Reformed sense is a doctrine owed to Augustine’s inability to properly translate Greek.

            But, this is where we must turn to Irenaeus and his idea of recapitulation – and Christus Victor!

  2. Scott Fritzsche says

    I was referring to the Crucifixion which whether you need redemption, salvation or some other ‘tion’ it can not be a PG story.

    • That’s why I always wondered why they call it “Good Friday”! People die. Christ died. Emphasis, seems like it should be “Good Sunday”, and “not so Good Friday”. Same for the gruesome depictions of Christ on the cross in some churches. I am glad hymns are modernized to reflect good and hope, instead of blood drenched sacrifices of purification ceremonies (similar to voodoo), like Leviticus, or TSA fixation on “washed in the blood of the lamb”. That was my original point.

  3. Christianity is not pg or g. R at least. Blood is life and God give his life to the world through the sacrifice of Jesus. It wasn’t hard for first century people including children to understand that. Their meat didn’t come wrapped in saran wrap. Our queasiness with blood and sacrifice is one of those white people’s problems of the 20 – 21st century. Eat his flesh, drink his blood; be united to the divine sacrifice on your behalf that won your redemption. We have to explain it. We don’t have to apologize for it. I sinned whether or not it had much to do with Adam. I needed redemption and still benefit from the life of Christ.

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