"As I mused, the fire burned"

Reflection on life as a person of faith.

Schedule of Readings Easter – Trinity

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For the season of Easter, we’ll be working through 1 Corinthians 15 as our focus. For the season of Pentecost (10 June to 2 September) we’ll be working through 2 Corinthians by chapter and verse.

April 15, 2 Easter; 1 Corinthians 15:1-11; John 20:19-31

April 22, 3 Easter; 1 Corinthians 15:12-19; Luke 24:13-35

April 29, 4 Easter; 1 Corinthians 15:20-34; Luke 24:36-49

May 6, 5 Easter; 1 Corinthians 15:35-49; John 21:1-14

May 13, 6 Easter; 1 Corinthians 15:50-58; John 11:23-27

May 20, Ascension; Acts 1:1-11; Luke 24:46-53

May 27, Pentecost, Acts 2:1-21; John 15:26-16:15

June 3, Trinity; Isaiah 6:1-8; John 3:1-17

Just in case you wanted to read ahead. The date names are taken from the liturgical calendar, that breaks our year up into church seasons which reflect the major feast days and broad thematic focuses. Trinity Sunday marks the first Sunday after Pentecost.

In the ‘mainline’ churches, the readings are normally taken off the Revised Common Lectionary (RCL), which provides a listing of readings throughout the year by season. That lectionary (or schedule of readings) is used by most liturgical churches (those that follow a set pattern of worship). This includes Anglican, Lutheran, Roman Catholic, United, Baptist (I think) and others. The cycle is three years long (Year A, B, C) and then repeats.

The RCL was intended to provide a consistent focus across denominations week by week. I’m not sure why that was a salutary goal. At St John’s we often leave the lectionary to follow a thematic season of teaching. We just came through reading Mark cover to cover, will focus on 1 Corinthians 15 (all about Jesus, so an Easter theme), and will read all of 2 Corinthians through the season of Pentecost.

The RCL has some problems – it leaves out big chunks of the Bible, and has a tendency to snip out difficult or challenging passages. It also frequently fragments a reading so badly that violence is done to the overall context. At times it is difficult to pull a consistent teaching theme across more than a few Sundays, as the readings also tend to jump around. It is very powerful to preach a series based on a comprehensive look at a book of the Bible. My own experience preaching through Mark in the past 4 months is that there were things I had never picked up on before, because the RCL fragments the book and leaves some parts out all together. The RCL also prefers some gospel accounts over others, so as you’ll see below Mark’s parable of the sower is left out.

Just by example, here’s what the RCL leaves out of of Mark:
Mark 3:1-5 Lawful to heal on the Sabbath?
Mark 4: 1-25 Parable of the sower/mysteries of the kingdom
Mark 6: 1-13 A prophet is without honour in his hometown
Mark 8: 1-26 Feeding of the 4000, missing loaf in a boat, healing of the blind with spit
Mark 9:1 I tell you, some will not taste death before the kingdom comes
Mark 10:1 Where they were walking
Mark 11:20-end The withered fig tree, questions of authority
Mark 12: 1-27 The owner of the vineyard and the evil tenants, taxes to Caesar, seven brothers

The sad thing is that the RCL has become in most circles an unalterable rule (from bishops) that is passionately defended (by some preachers). It is a rule of man, made to build up the Body of Christ. If it is not building up the body, or a particular community has different needs, it is alterable. Unfortunately, the RCL has become an issue of idolatry for some. I have learned so much from our preaching series at St Johns (speaking as a preacher), that I’ve been fully converted as to the power of thematic series.


Written by sameo416

April 9, 2012 at 7:10 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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