The Lectionary is a three-year cycle of assigned readings, which are taken from the Old Testament, the Psalms, the Gospels, and the Epistles. The idea is by following this cycle you will have covered the vast majority of the Bible at the end of the three years. I am generally a Follow-the-Lectionary preacher. That means I’ve preached from the lectionary around 780 Sundays, which means I’ve preached through the Lectionary Cycle about 5 times. You might wonder how can anyone preach from the same material over and over again without getting bored. I don’t find it boring, I find it fascinating.
It’s fascinating to me that every time I look at a passage of scripture I find something new that I didn’t see three years ago. It depends on lived experience and lived context. What we need to hear today may not be the same lesson/message we need to hear three years from now. When the 15th Sunday after Pentecost in Year B of the Lectionary Cycle comes around again, I have no doubt that the Spirit will have something new and relevant to say to us. We will have changed, our families and communities will have changed, the times in which we live will have changed. But God still speaks.
Rev. Michael Piazza says
That is what fascinates me about the Bible. I know how it was written. I know the contradictions and flaws; the sexism and militarism; the cultural biases and inaccuracies. Still, there is something mystical about it that I cannot explain. There is a depth and richness that endures and makes it, well, Holy. I can read words that I have read a thousand times, and they suddenly leap off the page and grab me, and I know God still speaks.
This is why I bought Eugene Peterson’s new paraphrastic translation of the Bible called The Message because I wanted to read the old stories in new ways. Some times I just love how he uses modern phrases and sayings to get the Message across and sometimes the poetry and depth seem to be missing. Is it the language or is it my personal experience or the events of our current time that keep me from hearing its Truth – or is it both/and? In any case, it’s always good to take the old with the new. Each speaks the Truth because ultimately the Truth is God’s still speaking. We just need ears to hear.