Being Led by the Lectionary

Throughout the year, the Bible readings suggested by the lectionary provide many opportunities to celebrate, learn, grow, and be the Body of Christ. The readings of the Revised Common Lectionary can open us to new and exciting ways to live out our faith.

Lectionary History

From the earliest days of Christianity, some churches have followed a lectionary for their worship. The revision of the Roman lectionary during Vatican II inspired a renewed interest in lectionary usage by a variety of denominations. This eventually led to the Revised Common Lectionary (1993), which is used in worship books, hymnals, and church calendars throughout the English-speaking world. Using four scripture readings per week, this lectionary provides a structure for reading a large portion of the Bible over a three-year cycle.

Moving through the seasons…

The seasons of the church year, which guide the readings in the lectionary, engage spirituality in a number of different ways. Within the rhythms of the church year and the readings from the lectionary are ample opportunities for the Holy Spirit to lead in a new and holy dance. As an added advantage, the lectionary is both ecumenical and international, meaning that churches around the world explore the same scriptures each week.

Advent, Christmas, Epiphany

In Advent, the mood of anticipation and hope is enhanced by readings from the Hebrew prophets and gospel readings about God being born among us. Church activities focus on preparation for a new birthing of God within our lives, which is celebrated in the short Christmas season. The Season after the Epiphany celebrates the beginnings of Jesus’ earthly ministry. It provides opportunities to explore calls to both individual and congregational ministry. It also invites congregations to examine how they might better invite and equip people to live out their ministries.

Lent, Easter

Lenten readings invite us to examine ourselves, looking within both individual and communal hearts to better understand what it means to be a follower of Jesus. Some churches concentrate on spiritual growth and development through additional worship and learning opportunities. Easter is a joyous celebration of fifty days – beginning with Easter Day and culminating with the festival of the Day of Pentecost. In this season, readings from the New Testament epistles examine the life of the early church, learning from their activities, mistakes, and adventures.

Pentecost 1 and 2

Following the festival of Pentecost we enter a long period of time which some churches call “Ordinary Time.” Seasons of the Spirit divides this long season into two seasonal resources. Stories of Jesus’ teaching and healing, set against sweeping sagas of Hebrew history and prophetic readings, remind us how God is with us in the everyday moments of our lives.

Season of Creation

For the first four Sundays in September, Seasons of the Spirit users can choose to follow the Revised Common Lectionary, or to celebrate the Season of Creation. The Season of Creation uses its own set of readings that broadly correspond to the pattern of the Revised Common Lectionary, with each year centred on one of the synoptic gospels: Matthew (Year A), Mark (Year B), and Luke (Year C). The Season of Creation invites congregations to “celebrate Earth as a sacred planet filled with God’s vibrant presence” (from the Season of Creation charter). The colour of the season is aqua (symbolic of the green-blue colour of planet Earth).

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