Good Archbishop Charles Chaput opens his final paragraph of this most important speech with “Let us preach Jesus Christ with all the energy of our lives.”
Just what does this seemingly simple statement really mean? How does one “preach” Jesus? This has been a major issue in my life for as long as I remember. My mother tells of story of a six year old Bryan declaring, from the Chrysler’s backseat one Sunday after church that he was not interest in attending the New Haven United Methodist Sunday School anymore. She asked why and I commented” “Because they are not teaching me about Jesus, they are just teaching me how to be a good boy and I can figure that out on my own.” (In their defense it was the 60’s.)
As Mom tells the story our family became Baptists the next week. My mom was “saved” after her first Sunday at New Haven Baptist Church, the church that taught me about Jesus, the Bible and never secularist ethics.
I grew up in the Baptists’ well run Sunday School program, learning the Old and New Testaments on Anna Jury’s flannel board. I graduated to Bible College in my late teens.
A few years after that I was struggling with the concept of “Church.” Why do it? What was it supposed to be? How does it differ from a few friends in a living room?
One of the things about church that bothered me most was an ad hoc and seemingly casual attitude toward the communion service. This “ordinance” of the Word (a sign, not a sacrament I was taught) allowed much interpretation and was the subject of almost no religious zeal among the Baptists I knew.
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