FIRST SUNDAY IN ADVENT
Today we light the first candle in the Advent wreath.
What is a Lectionary?
By DEBORA BUERK
Editor, Here & Now
& Selah Companion
Sharing in the same scripture through Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany, we knit our community in ways that unite us through God’s word
Sharing in the same scripture through Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany, we knit our community in ways that unify us through God’s word. For each of these scriptures provided, we are reading scripture from the Revised Common Lectionary that will be followed not only by those who participate in this blog but also by those all around the world who also use the Revised Common Lectionary. We are not alone as we connect with God through God’s words and with others who are being shaped by these words.
For some, the lectionary may be a new resource for use with scripture. Following the church calendar that begins with Advent and ends with Epiphany, we provide a scripture each week, starting with Thanksgiving, that opens us to explore the ways God can shape us through “His words.”
You can participate in these scriptures in a variety of ways throughout the Advent season:
- You can focus on Lectio Divina, a sacred reading whereby the scripture reads you as you hold words in a contemplative posture.
- You can use artistic expression through drawing, music, dance, or writing that responds to the words below.
- You can journal through the scriptures by using an Examen of gratitude for what these words say to you.
- You can engage with the reflections—the observations and responses to the given passages—as a source of encouragement, challenge, and/or comfort.
History of the Lectionary
About the Revised Common Lectionary—A lectionary is a table of readings from Scripture appointed to be read at public worship. The Lectionary (1969, revised 1981) developed by the Roman Catholic Church after Vatican II provided for a three-year cycle of Sunday readings. This Roman lectionary provided the basis for the lectionary in the 1979 edition of The Book of Common Prayer, as well as for lectionaries developed by many other denominations.
The Common Lectionary, published in 1983, was an ecumenical project of several American and Canadian denominations, developed out of a concern for the unity of the church and a desire for a common experience of Scripture. It was intended to harmonize the many different denominational approaches to the three-year lectionary.
The Revised Common Lectionary, published in 1992 and officially adopted by The Episcopal Church in 2006, considered constructive criticism of the Common Lectionary based on evaluating its trial use. As the current prayer book lectionary, it is a three-year cycle of Sunday Eucharistic readings in which Matthew, Mark, and Luke are read in successive years, with some material from John read each year. https://www.episcopalchurch.org/about-revised-common-lectionary/
The Lectio Divina practice usually follows this process: read through the scripture to familiarize yourself with the passage; read a second time to listen for a word or phrase that surfaces for you; read a third time to let the word or phrase speak to your current situation; close with a prayer to ask the Spirit to let the word or phrase from the scripture shape you. That’s how “letting scripture read you” changes our approach from only reading scripture. (paraphrased from Eugene Peterson)
The Examen practice starts with a time of reflection, noting what is life-giving in what you are reading, what is life-draining, and that for which you are grateful. Using this practice through the season allows you to see patterns that emerge in your discoveries