O for a thousand tongues

This Sunday we'll start the eleven o'clock service with a rousing hymn, "O for a thousand tongues to sing my great Redeemer's praise".

Charles Wesley was struggling with ill-health and spiritual battles in May 1738. Things changed dramatically at the feast of Pentecost, on 20 May 1738. His journal describes how he found his faith renewed and his heart warmed by the Holy Spirit as he prayed.

Several weeks later, the Vicar of St Mary's, George Stonehouse, invited Wesley to "take charge of his parish, under him, as his Curate."

And so it was, while ministering at our church a year after his Spirit-led renewal, that Wesley wrote a poem which became the famous hymn. His title was For the Anniversary Day of One’s Conversion and the full version ran to eighteen verses (complete with references to harlots and publicans, sons of lust and pride).

Almost 274 years to the day, at our own Pentecost feast and on the spot where Wesley preached and worshipped, we'll gladly sing:

My gracious Master, and my God,
Assist me to proclaim,
To spread through all the earth abroad
The honors of Thy name.