Our worship follows the Revised Common Lectionary (RCL), although there are certain times when our worship is theme based rather than lectionary based. To find lectionary readings for this week, click HERE.
Below is some information on the lectionary taken from the Vanderbilt Lectionary Project website:
The Revised Common Lectionary is a three-year cycle of weekly lections used to varying degrees by the vast majority of mainline Protestant churches in Canada and the United States. The RCL is built around the seasons of the Church Year, and includes four lections for each Sunday, as well as additional readings for major feast days. During most of the year, the lections are: a reading from the Hebrew Bible, a Psalm, a reading from the Epistles, and a Gospel reading. During the season of Easter, the Hebrew Bible lection is usually replaced with one from the Acts of the Apostles. The lections from the Hebrew Bible are sometimes chosen from the Apocrypha.
The seasons of the Church Year reflect the life of Christ. Consequently, the gospel lections for each Sunday provide the focus for that day. The other lections for a given day generally have a thematic relationship to the gospel reading for that day, although this is not always the case. In Ordinary Time, the Revised Common Lectionary offers two sets of readings for the lessons from the Hebrew Bible. One set proceeds semicontinuouly, giving the story of the Patriarchs and the Exodus in Year A, the monarchial narratives in Year B, and readings from the Prophets in Year C. In the other set of readings for Ordinary Time (shown in italics on this site) the readings from the Hebrew Bible are thematically related to the gospel lections. Denominations or local churches generally use either the semicontinuous readings or the thematic readings during Ordinary Time. They do not typically move back and forth between the two over the course of a single season.
The gospel readings for each year come from one of the synoptic gospels according to the following pattern:
- Year A – Matthew
- Year B – Mark
- Year C – Luke
Readings from the Gospel of John can be found throughout the RCL.
The RCL offers a three-year cycle with four readings for every Sunday in the Church Year. These readings are:
- A Lesson from the Hebrew Scriptures (or Acts during the Season of Easter)
- A Psalm
- A Lesson from the Epistles or Acts
- A Lesson from the Gospels
During Ordinary Time, there are two sets of Hebrew Bible readings. One set that progresses semi-contiuously through the Patriarchal/Exodus narratives (Year A), the Monarchial narratives (Year B), and the Prophets (Year C). The other set of Hebrew Bible readings is related thematically to the gospel lections for those dates. Likewise, during Ordinary Time, there are two separate Psalm readings, one that corresponds to the semi-continuous Hebrew Bible lection and one that corresponds to the theme of the gospel lection. On the Vanderbilt Lectionary Site, the thematic Hebrew Bible lection and the thematic Psalm are in italics. The Hebrew Bible lections during the rest of the year are thematically related to the gospel lections, which are in turn connected to the seasons of the Church Year. Additional readings are provided for special feast days.
Using the RCL ties worship in a local congregation to the worship of millions of Christians around the world. Drawing from a common set of texts means that Christians will be hearing and reflecting on the same scriptures and themes. Sometimes they are even singing the same hymns.
In addition, building worship around the texts of the RCL also ties local worship to that of the historic Church. Using all four readings develops the discipline of reading and hearing the scriptures that define the Christian faith. It also deepens the congregation’s understanding of the Church Year (and consequently the life of Christ) while also helping to set the rhythm for that year. Since the Revised Common Lectionary is drawn from a long succession of older lectionaries, using those reading in worship echoes the earlier practice of the Church.
One final, pragmatic advantage to using the RCL is the wealth of liturgical and homiletic resources that are available around the common texts.
The Revised Common Lectionary was produced by The Consultation on Common Texts (CCT). At the time the RCL was compliled, the CCT was composed of representatives from the following denominations (taken from Consultation on Common Texts. The Revised Common Lectionary. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1992) :
- The Anglican Church of Canada
- Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
- Christian Reformed Church in North America
- The Episcopal Church
- Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
- Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada
- Free Methodist Church in Canada
- International Commission on English in the Liturgy
- (an Agency of 26 Roman Catholic National or International Conferences of Bishops)
- The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod
- Polish National Catholic Church
- Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
- The Presbyterian Church in Canada
- Reformed Church in America
- Roman Catholic Church in the United States
- Roman Catholic Church in Canada
- Unitarian Universalist Christian Fellowship
- The United Church of Canada
- United Church of Christ
- The United Methodist Church