John Wesley, the founder of the United Methodist Church, lived from 1703 until 1791, a long life for anyone in the 18th century. Some scholars state that he was one of the most influential men of his age, even going so far as to claim he was instrumental in preventing a repeat of the French Revolution from occurring in England.
In the preface to the Methodist Hymnbook, he wrote: “The Gospel of Christ knows no religion but social, no holiness but social holiness.”
What is social holiness in a world filled with poverty and hunger? The answer can only be found in community.
Holiness today has to understood as people of faith reaching out to embrace all of humanity with the same love and acceptance with which Christ loves us. That depth of love is inclusive, totally inclusive, and will not allow the recipients to remain apart or in want.
Social holiness practiced today, the Gospel of Christ according to Wesley, would mean a world where we lived in true community…a world without hunger.