In Praise of the lectionary

Grammatically speaking the title should be “in praise of a lectionary” but titles sound better with more authority. There are a couple of lectionaries that one can find. Our church uses the Revised Common Lectionary (RCL) and for my devotions I use the Daily Office Lectionary, from the Book of Common Prayer.

With that, what is good about a lectionary?
Lot’s-o-Scripture. Carl Trueman wrote a piercing article titled “What the Hijab Witnessed, and What She Did Not” which speaks to the dearth of Scripture reading in many modern evangelical churches.

In our church we use the gospel readings from the RCL to add a second reading of Scripture to our service. This is obviously in addition to the Scripture passages being read for the sermon. On top of that we use the lectionary reading as the basis for the children’s sermon. This means in effect we have two sermons and two blocks of Scripture being read.

Less fuss. Many people start the new year trying a read-through-the-Bible-in-a-year plan. All good intentions, but usually trying to go through a chronological (or the likes) type of plan once you miss a day it all goes to pot.

I’ve found that using the Daily Office Lectionary on the ESV’s website to be just the ticket. It focuses heavily on the Psalms (giving you 2 a day), Old Testament reading, New Testament reading, and a gospel reading – every day. But for me, if I miss a day I just move on and skip it. The point for me is not to read the Bible in a year but to be saturated by Scripture every day.

In each case the lectionary provides an easy way to add more Scripture – whether privately or publically. If the Bible is the Word of God, living and active, then we should let it confront us every day. The lectionary is a great tool for that.

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