Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Red Letters

As I shared before I've been preparing to teach the youth group about Jesus. The specific question being 'Who Is Jesus?' As I've delved into the world of scholarship and even more so into my heart to come up with some kind of intelligible answer dcTalk's song 'The Red Letters' kept coming to mind.
I've never actually owned a red letter Bible. I've always wanted one though. I love the idea of Jesus' words being visually different from everything else. And I appreciate the symbolism of red letters. Not green, blue, or purple letters. Red letters.
I'm really grateful that I was able to do this lesson as we're drawing closer to Easter. Every Easter and Christmas season I long for it to be meaningful. I have lofty goals of reading all the gospels and lots of books about those holidays. I thirst to truly appreciate the magnitude of both events. God drawing close and making that closeness possible for forever and always. The bridging of the chasm. History and the cosmos forever altered. It's so hard to fathom the true magnitude of what He really did, so it's much easier to simply enjoy the holidays rather than wrestle with their meaning.
And no matter my lofty goals or good intentions I inevitably get distracted and never achieve what I want. Christmases go by and spending time trying to really grasp the meaning of it all has been thrown by the wayside to do shopping, wrap gifts, and send Christmas cards. Easters go by much the same way. And I'm always left feeling as if I just missed a marvelous opportunity.
The reality is I don't need a holiday to spend that kind of time grappling with the magnitude of God on Earth, but the holidays are full of ritual that can coincide really well with it. A catharsis happens on Christmas morning or Good Friday & Easter morning when I've really soaked in the reality of Jesus. And thanks to this youth lesson I've jumped in the deep end of studying and searching.
And I've been discouraged because I'm waaaay behind in a Lent reading plan of the gospels and a book of readings for Lent. I've been feeling like I've failed on my goal before really getting started. But God impressed upon me that it doesn't matter whether or not I stay on track with a plan created by man to study Him and His word. What matters is that I do the studying regardless of the plan. It doesn't really matter if I get through all 4 gospels before Easter as much as I read to find Him in the red letters. Much could be lost if I rush through the readings to simply meet a deadline. So much more can be found if I take this journey to Easter with God instead.
I want to close this post with the lyrics to dcTalk's 'The Red Letters' (and here is a link to youtube so you can listen to the song yourself. The bridge is a little funky but it is classic dcTalk...and the song is profoundly powerful). And I want to invite you to spend some time in the red letters and let Jesus guide you through His life. This Easter can be an experience and not just another Easter Sunday if you meet Jesus on the way.
Pages filled with a holy message
Sealed with a kiss from heaven
On a scroll long ago
Phrases, words that were bound together
Now have the power to sever
Like a sword evermore

Heed the words divinely spoken
May your restless heart be broken
Let the supernatural take hold

There is love in the red letters
There is truth in the red letters
There is hope for the hopeless
Peace and forgiveness
There is life in the red letters
In the red letters

One man came to reveal a mystery
Changing the course of history
Made the claim he was god
Ageless, born of a virgin Mary
Spoke with a voice that carried through the years
It's persevered

Heed the words divinely spoken
May your restless heart be broken
Let the supernatural take hold

(repeat chorus)
What you say moves me, revelation, come and take me
The more I look [the more I look] the more I see [the more I see]
The word of God [the word of god] is what I need

Oh yeah, oh yeah
Yeah, it's the book of love
Yeah, yeah, yeah
It's the book of love
(repeat chorus)

Speak to me, breathe in me new life [x2]
Let him in your heart [x4]

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