Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The Lectionary

Last week our church staff made a decision that we would follow the lectionary for corporate worship at my church. We agreed to begin with the first week of Advent and stick with it all the way through Advent 2008.

For those of you who don't know this, the lectionary is a three year systematized way of reading most of the Bible in depth. The schedule follows the church year.

For those of you that know me, you can guess several reasons why this is a seriously hard commitment for me, and why I'm twitching.

1 - I don't usually plan that far ahead. Without my wonderful assistant I wouldn't hardly know what I am supposed to do today.
2 - I'm more like the wind that I care to admit. This commitment means that I don't get to waver off course because the whole team is planning and working alongside me on this.
3 - I fight structure at most every turn. I'd prefer to be loose and free wheeling in my approach to all of life, even my sermon planning.

We'll see how this goes. Any of you readers follow the lectionary in your church? Would love to hear how you make it work. Of course, I'm telling you all so that I'll be more accountable to actually doing this!


AJ said...

Reminds me of Beowulf...How? Because he made great boasts for all his peers to hear, before going off to fight Grendel and Grendel's Mother. That way, if, during the course of battle, things weren't going well and the thought of fleeing crossed his mind, the shame of facing his peers after such boasts would stiffen his resolve and drive him on to victory! I have used this same philosophy on a number of occassions myself...quite successfully. So maybe talk it up from the pulpit next week, and it might pressure you into success (although for 52 weeks it seems a stretch). Speaking of Grendel's mother, did you hear that Angelina Jolie is playing that part in the Beowulf movie set to come out this month? Somehow, I never pictured Grendel's mother as ANYTHING like Angelina Jolie. Guess I need to go sharpen my sword...

PL said...

The word lectionary comes from legere [latin: lego,legere,legi,lectus] , meaning in one sense "to read" and in another sense "to gather." So when we read these texts we are gathering our ideas, experiences; stories about God.
This is a huge commitment from you and your staff, but I know that it will be a memorable experience. One of Aristole's principles in the Posterior Analytics is that we name things as we know them. This way of reading texts allows us to know God and then speak of our knowledge of God, not the other way around (as in much of Baptist preaching). After we know something we then can name that thing. So the lectionary gives us a context to know God through the revelation of God. As we know, then we are to name. As, Catherine Smith would say, "Preaching is the theological act of naming."