Lectionary readings in a new context

Over the last year, I’ve been attending services at The Church of the Redeemer in Pittsburgh and more recently, at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Berkeley.  I have found  much needed refreshment in the worship services, leavened as they are with the  solemn beauty of written and spoken word, from the Bible and from the Book of Common Prayer.  The scriptural readings are scheduled according to a lectionary (the Revised Common Lectionary (RCL), I believe though I’m still a tad confused on these matters.) As a practical matter, this means that I have a ready-made schedule of texts to study:  either to look ahead (so I can prepare this coming Sunday) or to review (so that I can reflect on what we meditated on last Sunday).

Happily, I have found online sources for the Sunday lectionary readings, including:

Ultimately, I’d like to find sources of daily readings too. In the past, I’ve overreached in my Bible reading ambitions.  Now I plan to start with the Sunday readings but then add daily readings as I get more regular and proficient in my Bible reflections.  So when I’m ready, I should take a look at Book of Common Prayer Daily Office Lectionary (ESV Bible Online).  I took a quick glance at Reading Plans – YouVersion.com, hoping to find lectionaries tied to this online Bible and community. I’ll want to figure out how the Episcopal order of reading relates to that of the PCUSA for which I can get daily readings provided by the PCUSA (e.g., today’s reading is  PC(USA) – Devotions – Daily readings for Friday, January 29, 2010)

P.S. A post on the lectionary won’t be complete for me if I don’t mention how I can ultimately geek out on it. The Lectionary points to a spreadsheet that “has the RCL, Roman Catholic, Episcopal, Lutheran, and Methodist lectionaries keyed to Bible passages.”  With this key, I’ll be able to computationally generate multi-denominational Bible readings for different days in different forms.  Lectionary mashups, here we come!

2 thoughts on “Lectionary readings in a new context

  1. Great entry, Raymond! These are , indeed great resources. I also carry a Lectionary app and a BCP app on my iPhone.

  2. “Lectionary mashups, here we come!”

    Very interesting, Raymond.

    In some ways, lectionaries serve to keep priests in line, by disallowing totally free-form sermons, without scriptural grounding. In other ways, lectionaries enable congregants — and independent readers and seekers — to prepare and repurpose their scriptural study. All win who read wise words systematically. Staying literally “on the same page” helps enable common understanding and common purpose. From such, community. Thus, common prayer.

    My prayers for such a project:

    Don’t forget Hebrew & Muslim lectionaries, nor the biennial &/or triennial cycles common to all these traditions of The Book, nor the computational glories of their varied solar, lunar, biennial, triennial, and liturgical calendars.

    See Calendrical Calculations, with a caveat about licensing (see Emacs for Open Source versions)

    http://www.amazon.com/Calendrical-Calculations-Nachum-Dershowitz/dp/0521702380/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1264824333&sr=8-1

    For a given date — secular or traditional — solar, lunar, biennial, triennial, or liturgical — what is today’s given text?

    Extra credit: compare for two or more denominations. Or textual variants for a single given denomination.

    Should find some good resources for Christian texts at The SWORD project
    http://www.crosswire.org/sword/index.jsp

    “The SWORD Project is the CrossWire Bible Society’s free Bible software project. Its purpose is to create cross-platform open-source tools– covered by the GNU General Public License– that allow programmers and Bible societies to write new Bible software more quickly and easily.”

    Lectionaries are inherently complicated — deal with:

    solar, lunar, biennial, triennial, or liturgical calendars

    scriptural variations — and commonalities — across religions

    scriptural variations within one religion

    scriptural variations within one denomination

    A daunting project. Godspeed!

    Paul Wilson

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