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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

"Oaks of Righteousness", & The Lectionary

They will be called oaks of righteousness…
~Is. 61:3

I love that.  It is contained in next Sunday’s lectionary readings.

The lectionary is a pattern of Bible readings for the year.  Lectionaries take into account the liturgical year, or cycle of Christian holidays and observances.  

The Revised Common Lectionary occurs in three year cycles.  In each of the three years, one of the first three gospels is heard beginning to end.  The remainder, of the books of the New Testament, are heard in whole, or in large part, in each year of the lectionary, as well.

Readings are prescribed for each Sunday including an Old Testament reading, A Psalm, an epistle, and a Gospel reading.

This year, we are on Year B.  The gospel readings this year come from Mark.  Because Mark is short, the Gospel of John is used to “fill in”.

There are some great things about use of the lectionary:

  • ·        It facilitates inclusion of all three parts of the Gospel story (Old Testament, New Testament, Epistles) and helps one to draw ties running throughout the history of God’s relationship with His people. 

  • ·         It encourages speakers, pastors, and teachers to deal with all parts of the Bible…not just those that they are most familiar and comfortable with.

  • ·        People all over the world follow the lectionary.  In this day and age, we are closely connected by the web.  Being on the same passages at the same time with a huge portion of the world’s Christians, allows us to tap into the insights and experiences of others.

  • ·        There is something powerfully stirring about hearing a reading in church (or at home) that you know is being read on that same Sunday from lecterns, across denominations, all over the world.

The current week’s lectionary readings are always located on the left sidebar of this blog.  Click on them, and they will take you to the Bible readings (NRSV).

Have a peaceful week.  We're halfway to Christmas!  This Sunday:  The Pink candle.

Pax Christi,


  1. Hi Michelle,

    I find comfort that anywhere around the world in a Catholic Church, the congregation will be hearing the same readings and that it's organized. I didn't know it was the same for the Anglican Church! I like order in things and not the notion of a pastor just picking his own readings to fit what he'd like to talk about. It does ensure that the congregation hears much of the bible instead of favorite parts as you said!

    Are you familiar with Jeff Cavins? I listened to one of his CD's called "I'm Not Being Spiritually Fed" or something like that. He used to be a Protestant Minister for a number of years and he said he felt pressure to "entertain" his congregation so they wouldn't go elsewhere. Having order eliminates that kind of pressure.

    I'm so happy to have "met you!"

  2. Noreen,
    I understand completely what you mean about the lectionary and mass being the same everywhere that you go. It provides a level of comfort and unifies the whole Christian family. In fact, we feel very comfortable when we attend a Roman Catholic mass, because it is so similar to our own.

    Anglicans, and many other protestant Christian bodies use the lectionary. (Lutherans, Presbyterians, United Methodists, American Baptists, Moravians,and many others use the RCL.)

    Because the RCL is based on the Ordo Lectionum Missae...which Roman Catholics use in various local and I are probably hearing pretty much the same readings each Sunday. I have been thinking of including the Roman Catholic variations to the readings, when they differ from the RCL, on my sidebar. If anyone would like this, let me know!

    I am not familiar with Jeff Cavins...but I'm going to look him up right now! Thanks for the suggestion!

    It's wonderful to have met you too, Noreen!
    Pax Christi!


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