Will Humes, a Methodist pastor in Pennsylvania, is proposing a four year lectionary. Two major benefits he sees for this lectionary is that it would give the gospel of John a bigger place in the lectionary, and also inclusion of more wisdom literature. I have already briefly commented on this. What I’m planning to do here is compare the two lectionaries for the next few weeks to see what preaching/teaching from them might be like.
I am not currently preaching anywhere, but I do use the lectionary in my devotional study and frequently use it in teaching. When I am invited to preach I normally preach from the lectionary texts. Because of the extra year I’m going to compare three sets of texts: 1) The RCL texts for the coming week, 2) The texts from the same year/gospel from the proposed four year lectionary, and 3) the texts we would use if this was the year for the gospel of John.
For this coming Sunday, August 21, that would be Proper 16A, Week 16A to match, and 16D for John.
Here are the texts:
|Old Testament||Exodus 1:10-2:8 or
|Genesis 38:1-26 or
|Genesis 8:1-13 or
Acts 26:1, 9-23, 27-29, 31-32
|Psalm||Psalm 124 or
|Psalm 18:31-36, 43-50||Psalm 132:1-5, 11-18|
|Epistle||Romans 12:1-8||1 Corinthians 6:12-20||Revelation 3:14-22|
|Gospel||Matthew 16:13-20||Matthew 12:1-21||John 8:31-47|
If we were in Year A of the four year series we would have our choice between the rather risque story in Genesis 38 (Judah and Tamar) and the lofty language of Isaiah 40. In the epistle, 1 Corinthians 6:12-20 has a remarkably similar (though of course not identical) message to Romans 12:1-8. Obviously that’s not the issue, but I found it interesting! The gospel contains a collection.
If we were in Year D, we’d have the story of the exit from the ark after the flood, material on the Davidic covenant and God’s faithfulness from Psalm 132, the letter to the church in Laodicea, and a passage from John about whose children Jesus’ opponents really are.
I find it about equally difficult to create a good overarching theme for these passages and for those in the RCL. Sometimes there’s an intentional theme, and sometimes there’s not, but that’s nothing new.
I like the inclusion of passages that are not part of the normal lectionary readings. I wonder how many churches would actually read Genesis 38. I can’t recall anyone actually preaching from it!
In any case, I enjoyed the comparison. I hope to write a bit more on these passages as the week goes on, but it’s a busy week, and I may not get around to it. I will certainly compare a few more weeks of passages to help you get a flavor for this idea.