WORSHIP MUSIC COMMUNION TEACHING @ 5:30PM
A few years ago, a parishioner asked me to help her get to know Jesus. Now, you might think that’s a regularly made request of preachers but I can assure you it is not; it’s much too simple…and religion is something complicated, right?
Many, if not most, Christians are pretty sure that the work and understanding of religion is out of their reach. The Bible is long, its language somewhat dated. Preachers use big words. Every commentary has a different take on (your favorite scripture here). And God is, well… mysterious. That’s precisely why I was caught a tad off-guard when someone asked me something as simple as, Will you introduce me to Jesus?
I recall thinking what a remarkable request I had just received and began wondering how it could be fulfilled. Eventually, I remembered something my spiritual mentor, Father Chuck Irish, used to tell people who inquired about walking out their faith. He would say, Go read all the red letters and do that. Red letters… Of course. What better way to become closer, to really know Jesus than to study his spoken words? That epiphany led me on the road to compiling and eventually teaching the Red Letter Study.
What began as a very simple trial study method soon took on a life of its own. (That’s what a living Word will do). Before long, those red letters began linking together…they reveled and illuminated some big teachings, kingdom keys, if you will. In other words, I found that Jesus’ words taken in pure doses provided a distillation…a clear reduction of all that purportedly complicated stuff into several very straightforward and powerfully simple understandings. It also became abundantly clear that Jesus wanted everyone to receive these teachings very clearly.
The Red Letter Study is designed to help us get to know Jesus as if we were walking by his historical side listening to his every word. We will spend our time as his disciples did, immersed in his words…words which we have found to be the clearest light by which we, like our fathers, may live.
We will come to know Jesus in 8 distinct roles, as The Messiah, The Teacher, The Comforter, The Sufferer, The Betrayed, The Crucified, and The Redeemer. But these 8 roles are simply a means to knowing Jesus, just as we come to know one another first by understanding another’s job, family, or hobby. They are not the big ideas or keys in and of themselves. What we will call simply the Big Teachings will emerge for each one of us as we study together the roles and person of our Savior. Words, phrases, and commandments will appear, then be repeated, reviewed, re-contextualized and repeated again and again.
Our goal is to know Jesus better. Knowing him means that we will be able to take his light yoke on ourselves. We will begin to see his purpose and teaching not as something complex and out of reach but as something clear, close by and very accessible.
The Red Letter Study uses no textbook or study guide. The 1847 work of The Rev. Henry Wilder Foote will be our only earthly study resource and it is little more than an organized reprinting of Jesus’ words as they are found printed in red in the King James Bible.
Getting to know Jesus has no end so we will continue with this teaching as long as the Holy Spirit is pleased to continue blessing us. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. John 14:26