One of the themes that seemed to be on his mind on July 7, 1784 was the conduct of people in worship. Today I came across this:
“I recommended to the congregation here...the example of the people in Holland,... who never talk in a place of public worship, either before or after the service.”I have seen this brought up several times. It would seem like the tendency to make worship a time of fellowship is not something new. Wesley has a growing distaste for it.
I think he would remind us that worship is God directed not people directed. We do not gather together to meet and fellowship but to lift up or voices in praise and listen to what the Holy Spirit might have to say to us. It is hard to hear the “still small voice” when we are listening to the latest gossip or commiserating about the latest ache or pain.
I think I side with Wesley on this one. I think the time when the congregation is told to greet each other sucks the life out of a service. If we want to talk, lets go to coffee. Even more radical, maybe you could invite me home for dinner.
I regularly thank God for the shoulders of giants on which we stand.
homo unius libri