A Wise Guide to Scripture Reading

Wednesday, November 6th 2019

I promised last week that I would write more on why it is a mistake to abandon a common lectionary. Again, let me refresh you that a lectionary is a schedule of Bible readings. The Revised Common Lectionary, a Protestant effort based on the Roman Catholic Ordo Lectionum Missae, was formed and is used by a large number of Protestant denominations, including, but not limited to, the American Baptist Church, the Episcopal Church, Several Lutheran Bodies, the Moravian Church, the Presbyterian Church, the United Methodist Church, and others.

We have been encouraged, but not commanded, by the North American Lutheran Church to use this schedule of readings for Sunday and Feast Day services. We have also been encouraged to use the form of it with a few revisions made by the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. This is the path taken by our congregation.

On the face of it there is one obvious advantage, and that is of “common” usage lending to an expression and practice of unity. In spite of our many vexing differences between various denominational traditions, being able to share in common lessons can lend a sense of participating together in hearing God’s Word. Further, it affords us a chance to share in mutual conversations and reflections on God’s address and revelation to us.

I am not as well versed on the development of the two year daily lectionary of readings, but I do know the one found in the Lutheran Book of Worship is the same as the one used in the Book of Common Prayer used in the Anglican Church.

Unlike some reading plans, the two year lectionary ensures that each day there is a reading from the Gospel Accounts to go with successive readings through the Old Testament, and the rest of the New Testament. Such readings prevent an individualized, idiosyncratic, and undisciplined approach. It provides a trustworthy, time-honored, and wise guide. And in humility we all need a trustworthy guide.

Since You Asked…

Why do we say in the Creeds that Jesus Christ “is seated at the right hand of the Father”? Does this mean that our Lord is far away from us?

This has little to do with Christ’s physical location. Instead it has to do with the authority he assumes. For a King to be seated on a throne is a symbolic gesture of his rule and authority. Heaven itself is a reality that transcends time and space. It is the unseen and timeless realm that underlies the visible and temporal world. We confess Christ to be seated at the right hand of the Father because we believe him to be the rightful King of the universe. Indeed, Jesus is Lord!

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