Reformed Worship and the Lectionary

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I know this isn't the official Reformed Worship magazine site, but since RW is slightly associated with a few people here (Joyce B., John W.), I have a question (or maybe it's a comment) for you that I am too slothful to send in to RW.

When our worship committee plans Advent and Lent services, we like to use RW resources. The problem is, I also prefer to follow the lectionary (RCL) for preaching. I meet weekly with other pastors from other Christian traditions to study the lectionary passages, and this is a great exercise in ecumenical relations, learning about the broader Christian tradition and liturgy, and stimulating new homiletical ideas.

So, I would like to see more of the "series for the season" features follow the lectionary. Maybe this is impossible, or unworkable, because the services (I presume) are unsolicited. But at least I asked. I wonder how many RW readers use the lectionary and would also like to see more integration in this area. Maybe a lectionary feature?

Blessings, Randy Blacketer

Posted in: Worship; Discussion Topic

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I would be interested in dialoguing with others about how to update or reframe the lectionary for missional congregations. Anyone out there have thoughts/ideas and willing to chat about that?

I can't even get a response to my original post. But that is an interesting idea.

Contributor

I was hoping that others would weigh in as to whether they use the lectionary or not. 

As you suggested most of the resources for RW are unsolicited meaning that churches send in services/resources that they have developed we don't ask churches to develop a series on an assigned group of passages.  On occasion the resources or series we receive follow the lectionary but not often.  Our habit has been to recognize the link to the RCL when it is clearly based on it.  When planning worship using the RCL I would encourage doing a scripture search on the RW website to come up with additional resources.  That said we are toying with the idea in the new redesign of RW to indicate when a service is based on a text also used in the RCL.  It is also my hope that the search function on the new website will further help you locate resources... maybe even a lectionary calendar where you simply need to click on the day and a list pops up?? 

A recent survey of RW readers affirmed our current position of not tying series/resources too closely to the lectionary.  There are a plethora of good resources available for churches that follow the lectionary there are fewer good resources for non-lectionary based worship.

Thank you, Joyce!

Our dilemma is that we use the lectionary and RW, but they don't usually mesh. Everything we do in Advent and Lent is related to RW somehow. It's our #1 go to resource, followed by the Worship Sourcebook.

I remember someone giving a presentation on the RCL at the Worship Symposium some years back; he had been involved in its creation, and he said sometimes the readings are all coordinated in some way, and sometimes they are not, or in different ways...it's confusing. The lectionary is not always so user-friendly or self-explanatory. If it weren't for the ecumenical aspect I might not use it that much; it certainly has its faults (skipping large portions of scripture; questionable verse selections, etc.) I've been using it for at least a decade and I still don't have it figured out. Sometimes I think they need a "Year D" to cover what they missed in A, B, and C.

What we are missing, or what we're looking for, is some kind of theme that ties the advent or lenten readings together. What we do now is basically create a hybrid of stuff we find on RW and the lectionary readings, and I do some exegetical gymanstics to relate the text to the theme; sometimes it works very naturally, other times its more like a trapeze act.

Joyce, you said "There are a plethora of good resources available for churches that follow the lectionary there are fewer good resources for non-lectionary based worship." That is not my experience as a lectionary user. I use Textweek.com, but I don't find the resources there anywhere as creative or helpful as RW. I don't want RW to leave us lectionary people behind. But I may be in a very small minority.

Thanks again for the response!

Randy

Contributor

Just received the Abingdon Worship Annual for 2012 which provides various resources for each Sunday and follows the lectionary.  It includes a CD with links to additional material.  Another good resource is Call to Worship a journal put out by the PCUSA which has lectionary aids online

I have heard some talk of creating a Year D but work hasn't begun on it. 

The challenge for RW is that the lectionary is not set up for thematic preaching over a course of several weeks.  While there is a theme or focus for each Sunday there isn't necessarily a theme that ties several weeks together.  So in that way it doesn't always lend itself to the series idea as presented by RW.  But RW would be very happy to receive more service outlines and even series from churches that do follow the lecitonary.   In the meantime I encourage you to search RW's website by scripture to find services and resources for a particular lection.

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