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Liking the Lectionary

How sermon preparation can change for the better when you preach by the church calendar

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For 17 years I was an expository preacher at a midsized non-denominational church in California; however, after leaving pastoral ministry, I found myself increasingly drawn to liturgy. Though in guest preaching I often delivered expository sermons, on my off Sundays I slipped into a local Episcopal church just to experience the liturgy. Eventually I joined a church plant associated with the Anglican Mission in the Americas and Bishop Todd Hunter. Now I find myself preaching twice a month at that church following the Revised Common Lectionary (RCL). Along the way I am learning valuable lessons about lectionary preaching that build on my experience as an expository preacher.

Discovering the Lectionary A lectionary is a book that contains appointed Scripture readings for particular days coinciding with the Christian calendar. According to preaching historian Hughes Old, use of lectionaries originated in synagogues in the fourth century before Christ. By the fourth century after Christ, ...

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Johnny Cox

June 18, 2013  8:41am

Honestly I have considered the lectionary because I have always found it difficult to plan a years worth of sermons ahead. Using the lectionary helps me to cover the whole council of God.

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Gaylord Goertzen

June 17, 2013  9:44am

After preaching book by book for years and only using the lectionary at Advent and Lent/Easter, I preached from the lectionary for a year. It was a great preaching adventure. Each Sunday I made a daily devotional insert using the texts for the next Sunday. People enjoyed reading the texts and seeing how they related. The devotional prepared the people for the seromn. As an evangelical, I thought preaching from the lectionary was great and would recommend it to a pastor from any denomination.

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Brint P Keyes

August 25, 2012  2:52pm

Another great blessing to preaching from the lectionary is its witness to the One Church. Because lectionary preaching extends across denominations, it is not at all uncommon for co-workers on a Monday morning to arrive at work having heard different sermons from at their own houses of worship, yet all based on the same text. I am always delighted to hear a parishioner tell me a story of how he or she was able to carry the Sunday message forward into the week by "comparing notes" with someone at work whose pastor preached on the same passage. (I won't deny that it also keeps me on my toes, knowing that what I prepare and deliver will be thoughtfully discussed later on in the light of a brother's preaching).

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Richard Cameron

August 22, 2012  5:36am

Very helpful article. Best concise argument for using the lectionary I've seen.

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Gary Karas

August 20, 2012  12:02pm

I use texts from the RCL typically for Advent, Lent and Easter. This is the first clear explanation that I have read as to the rationale behind the RCL. Thnaks Timothy.

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