A Real Red Letter Day!
When I was a young boy, my grandmother had a Bible that she used most of the time when she studied or read her devotions. And I don’t mean she just “read” the Bible – I mean she “READ” the Bible. I once asked Grandma how many times she had read the Scriptures cover to cover and she said that she couldn’t answer my question – because she had read the Bible so many times that she had lost count! Now that’s dedication. And I know several people who say that they read the Bible each year, but I confess that I’m not one of them.
I have read the Bible cover to cover twice – every word – silently. But Janet had never completed the task, so we decided to do it together. Our agreement was to read every work out loud. And one year we did that – every night we sat together and one of us read to the other. She kind of preferred to listen, and I kind of preferred to read, so that’s pretty much the way it worked out. Whenever we came to a passage that was difficult to understand, I tried to explain it to the best of my knowledge. It was a very special year, although I think in reality it took closer to 18 months to complete the task.
But I’m getting a little off-track here. Back to Grandma’s Bible. I noticed that part of the book was in red print. I never knew what that meant but I did know that I didn’t like it. I was one for consistency and I didn’t like the fact that some of the print was black and the rest of it was maroon, or some other shade of red. By the way, I found it more difficult to read the red print – it just didn’t have the same contrast as the black print on the white page. One other thing – I really didn’t care for the color red – still don’t, by the way. I much prefer blue – but now I’m way off the subject.
As I grew older, I learned that the words in red were the words that were spoken by Christ. Most people know that the red color symbolizes the blood of Christ and is a constant reminder on the pages of the New Testament that He died for our sins. In fact, today, I tend to like to use verses for my daily posts that are the words of Christ, if at all possible.
Throughout the years, I have heard the phrase “red letter day.” Those are days that are of special significance. In some of the older universities, such as Cambridge and Oxford, where formal black gowns are the standard dress for professors and those with earned doctorates, red letter days are those days when the formal red gowns are worn. In the early times, special days, such as the monarch’s birthday in England, were always marked in red on the calendar – instead of the traditional black. Even as far back as the Council of Nicea, in 325 A.D., red was used as a color to mark special days in the church. So, it’s not tough to see why the printers of the Bible would put the words of Christ in red throughout the Scriptures.
Well, today was a red letter day. The deal that we have been working on for so long came to fruition about 4:30 pm. It’s a wonderful feeling to know that something you have worked so hard for has been accomplished. It is a benchmark day – worthy of being printed in red on the calendar. But there’s one thing that is more important than that.
Our team puts Christ first in all the things that we do. We wait until we are sure that God is in the middle of our mission – leading the way. We think about that every day. Not just some days – but every day. And like the Bible, whenever Christ is at the center, the words are in red. In our case, every day is a red letter day because Christ is the center of all that we do.
In the ancient languages, to mediate on something had a different meaning than we assign today. It was something deeper – more intense and introspective. The word picture is like that of a cow chewing her cud. The “word” of God is not just “eaten”; it is chewed and chewed and then chewed on some more, until it is fully digested. Just like the food that is passed through the multiple stomachs of a cow. In our English, we don’t think of the intensity with which we are to focus on the words of Christ – we are to study them until they are fully digested – and that’s impossible in our human condition. I guess that means that we are to study the Scriptures our entire lives – to read them again, and again, and again…
The verse for tonight combines the meditations of the Scripture with the deeds of God. From Psalm 143:5, “I remember the days of long ago; I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done.” Certainly today is worthy of meditation and wonder. In every sense, it is a red letter day.
My encouragement this evening is that I hope you will see that Christ is central to every day in your life. My prayer is that you will focus on each day being a red letter day worthy of worship and adoration. Just like my day was today. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…