John Wesley wrote of an imaginary conversation once. His fictional interlocutor asked where he wanted to lead the men and women to whom he preached.
Wesley responded that he wanted to lead them to happiness.
When I read that, I am reminded of some of the great hymns of Methodism and Wesley’s reported final words: “The best of all, God is with us.” I wonder if people who encountered him felt his sense of happiness. Did people think of Methodists as happy? Did Methodists’ love of God shine forth as happiness that moved people?
I’ve read a great deal that Wesley has written. I’m not as familiar with people’s reports about Wesley. I often hear 21st century United Methodists talk about him as an iron-fisted tyrant who was uptight and exacting in all he did. But do we describe him as happy? Does what he meant by happiness look anything like what we mean by that word?
For those who are not all that interested in Wesley: Do the Christians you know seem like happy people?