Our Uninspired Lectionary

The point of the lectionary is exploring all of the Bible, but it misses a couple important things.

Celebrate God’s Word

The lectionary doesn’t offer a month to simply celebrate God’s Word. So that’s what we’re doing this month, based on the ELCA constitution, which declares: The Bible is “the inspired Word of God and the authoritative source and norm of its proclamation, faith, and life.”

We are breaking this into three segments of “Hearing God’s Word in Your Life”:

    • Inspiration, “Seeking the Source,” 2 Peter 1
    • Orthodoxy, “Seeing Through God’s Lens,” Jeremiah 36
    • Orthopraxy, “Steering with God’s Guidance,” Psalm 119:105

On the fourth Sunday in November, we might focus on preaching as God’s word and rhema. Or, we might step into Advent.

The HOLE in the Lectionary

Last year we spent a month in five books that the lectionary entirely misses. Can you imagine talking with the Apostle John in heaven:
YOU: John, I heard so many great sermons from your Gospel and your First Letter. Thank you for writing those books.
JOHN: How did your preachers handle my Second and Third Letters?
YOU: They never preached on those. They weren’t in the lectionary.
JOHN: Huh? God inspired those Letters, but he did NOT inspire a lectionary.

The month’s theme was:
“How Close Is God? Ancient Sages and Their Transcendental Doorways
Learning from King David, King Solomon, Sts. John and Jude”

    • 1 Chronicles 15, David worships
    • 2 Chronicles 6, Solomon prays
    • 2 John, Is Truth More Important Than Love?
    • 3 John, Is Love More Important Than Truth?
    • Jude, Eternity

About Ben Unseth

Migrant executive and professor.
This entry was posted in Bible, theology and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Our Uninspired Lectionary

  1. churchmouse says:

    More on this subject, please! 🙂 Do you bypass the Lectionary and read the entire chapters, preaching on them? (I’m not trying to put you on the spot here, just wondering.) If so, your congregation is blessed, indeed!

    • Ben Unseth says:

      We generally read lessons from the Old and New Testaments and from one of the Gospels. We also read a Psalm, or a portion of one, responsively. Because we read this much Scripture and celebrate the Lord’s Supper each Sunday, we do not typically expand to an entire chapter. There is also the issue of Western attention spans. Unless a lesson is a narrative, many people seem to glaze over after about ten verses in a passage.

      Lectionary boundaries seem even more ad hoc than chapter and verse boundaries. In order to present a more complete discourse, we will frequently begin or end a passage at a different place than the lectionary recommends.

      Rather than ricocheting around the lectionary, I usually follow a book of the Bible for a month at a time. This frequently requires borrowing a couple passages from outside the lectionary. This also allows me to invite people into God’s Word for themselves–to read that book of the Bible during that month. Sometimes I will relate a month’s theme to our common culture. Because America has its big movie awards in March, last spring I preached from the lectionary psalm each Sunday in March and related it to a movie, “Oscar’s Favorite Movies & God’s Favorite Songs”:

      Last December I tied Advent Scriptures to the new C.S. Lewis movie, “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader”:

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