Hearts Warm and Eyes Fixed

May 24 marks for me the coinciding of two of the most formative events of my life. The first happened on May 24, 1738. It’s John Wesley’s “heart-warming” experience. Here’s from his journal on that day:

“In the evening I went very unwillingly to a society in Aldersgate Street, where one was reading Luther’s preface to the Epistle to the Romans. About a quarter before nine, while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone, for salvation; and an assurance was given me that He had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.”

John Wesley’s life—and the lives of all of those with whom he would share the message of God’s grace and love—was forever changed. My own journey has been tremendously influenced by Wesley.

The second event happened on May 24, 1941. It was the birth of Robert Zimmerman, a.k.a. Bob Dylan. Bob Dylan has influenced me more than any other music artists. He can speak on and to the deepest human experiences, longings, and emotions. One could get lost in reflecting on his songs, or even on single phrases or words in his songs. 

One of my favorite lines, from the song “Desolation Row,” the closer to arguably his best album—maybe even the best album by anyone—Highway 61 Revisited:

“And though her eyes are fixed upon Noah’s great rainbow, she spends her time peeking into Desolation Row.”

So today I’ll celebrate on this high holy day in appropriate ways. 

Side note: every now and then, a third formative event falls on the same day—and that’s the Day of Pentecost. The Holy Trinity of influence, you might say.