The Lectionary – not just for Sundays!
You might be used to looking on a list to see what the reading are for this Sunday if you are reading a lesson or perhaps preparing the prayers, and probably know that the church of England provides a list of readings for each Sunday (the Sunday lectionary). But Charles Read wonders if you know that it also provides readings for each day?
You can find the daily lectionary most easily by following this link where you can follow the links to get to the readings for each day. This website also lets you see the actual readings. You will see there that there are three lectionaries in use each day. They are:
The daily Holy Communion lectionary – for use if your church has a daily Eucharist (or one on a weekday perhaps once a week). This lectionary runs for two years then begins again.
Morning Prayer – this is the one I would recommend to use for daily Bible readings, but you can use the others if you like. Like the daily Communion lectionary, this one runs for two years.
Evening Prayer – again, you could use this if you wish. It is another two-year lectionary.
The Additional Weekday lectionary – this is intended for churches which have a lot of visitors. It aims to give the ‘highlights’ of the Bible so that if you just come to one service occasionally, the readings still make sense. (The other lectionaries often assume you will read the next bit of the passage next day). This is a good lectionary to use if you are new to reading the Bible and want to get a broad sense of what it is about. This lectionary lasts a year then begins again.
You can read your daily readings in the context of saying daily prayers. The Church of England provides an easy way of doing this. Look on the Church of England website under “prayer and worship” or follow this link to find the whole service for that day in Common Worship: Daily Prayer. This includes the readings.
The lists of readings can be a bit confusing but once you get into it, you will find that you can work out the right readings for each day. (The Oremus site and the daily prayer site do it for you). If you think you have got it wrong, don’t worry! Just carry on reading the Bible.
Here is a simple way to think about each reading. In a notebook, try to find three things in each reading, perhaps using these symbols:
? – something in the reading that puzzled you (which you might ask someone about later)
! – something in the reading that challenged you
√ – something in the reading that affirmed or reassured you
Finally, if you want to read the whole Bible in a year, there’s a lectionary for that too! It is in the Book of Common Prayer and is called The Calendar, with the Table of Lessons. You read a lot of the Bible each day but you do read it all in a year. You can find it online here www.dofn.org/thecalendar
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