Perhaps you have noticed that our worship this fall has featured one primary, Old Testament reading from scripture. Traditionally, our texts come from the Revised Common Lectionary (RCL), a three-year cycle of readings that weekly assign an Old Testament reading, Psalm, Gospel, and New Testament reading. Typically, the preacher will focus on the gospel text, a story about or teaching of Jesus found in Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John.
As I'm sure you have experienced by now, 2020 is just a different kind of year! As we worship together virtually at a distance, or in our small Home Grown Worship (click here for more on Home Grown Worship) circles, we will be following a different lectionary called the Narrative Lectionary (NL).
Developed by Luther Seminary faculty several years ago, the Narrative Lectionary aims to give a congregation the full sweep of the Biblical story in a single year. So, the first thing to know is that our central worship text will move sequentially through the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation.
One of my favorite things about this lectionary cycle is that it gives us an opportunity to listen to and reflect upon stories and lessons that don't routinely appear in the RCL. The Bible is filled with so many beautiful and challenging texts, so the NL will give us an opportunity to hear some different voices that perhaps we have not listened to for a while in our corporate worship.
The Narrative Lectionary runs through a typical "program year" of a church. It begins with Genesis in September and lands us at the early church by May. Because there is only one, central text each week, the NL will give us a common story to dive into each week, whether we worship virtually from home or in a small group.
We will progress through wonderful, important lessons from the Old Testament through Advent. At Christmas, we turn to the New Testament and remain there through May. If you would like to look ahead at what we will be reading together each Sunday, you can click on this link:
Blessings to each one of you as we journey together through this sacred story in a strange time. The narratives we are living today are intimately bound up in the still unfolding story of the living God. May the Spirit continue to lead and guide us.