Where do the Sunday scripture readings come from?
You may have wondered this question from time-to-time as you’ve listened to the various scriptures read in our worship services.
As we’ve moved through the last year, you may have noticed that we’ve covered a lot of scriptural ground in our service readings and sermon focuses. Believe it or not, there is a method to this madness!
Our ministerial staff builds our services around the scripture passages found in the Revised Common Lectionary. A Lectionary is a book or listing that contains a collection of scripture readings appointed for worship on a given day or occasion.
In our case, each Sunday the Lectionary deepens our focus on scripture through an assigned Old Testament lesson, a reading from the Psalms, a Gospel reading, and a New Testament lesson. These passages follow a three-year cycle (we’re in year B currently) with the main Gospel focus changing from year to year (this year’s focus is Mark, last year was Matthew).
Why use the Lectionary at all?
The Lectionary gives us the opportunity to not just engage scripture passages that are familiar, but also ones that are not. It gives us the ability to dig deeper into the Bible each Sunday as we hear the various passages read as we follow the larger narrative of the work of God.
As we read them, hear them preached on, or pray through their words, we listen for the guidance of the Holy Spirit in our lives. We wrestle with some of the words we hear and find comfort in others.
We also find strength and assurance in the ways the Lectionary joins us with the larger Church of Christ in the world. Churches all over the world preach and read from the Lectionary passages every week. As we hear their words, so do Christians in almost every corner of the world. In many ways, our use of the Lectionary unites us to them through Scripture each week.
If you’d like to look ahead, you can always follow along with the Lectionary passages for each week at https://lectionary.library.vanderbilt.edu/.
See you Sunday,