Needed: Lectionary Emergency Assistance
I might as well admit it now. I lost track of time. As an admitted lover of the liturgical year, with its nuances and sounds, symbols and gestures, I felt at home within the confines of the cycle of lectionary readings. The overlapping texts of Old Testament story and Gospel narrative were bookended with the Psalms and Epistles. It was an adventure to dig into the four texts to find the flow and golden cord holding them together.
Then I left my homeland, Minnesota and the midwest to be sure, but also the lectionary and liturgical year. Instead we are going through the "heilsgeschicte" or holy-history of the Bible. We began last January with the "big" story from the Old Testament. The response was tremendous. The members loved having the Sunday sermons hold together in such a basic way (which is, I think, the intention behind the lectionary readings in the first place). So we began in September to tell the story of Jesus, Sunday after Sunday; incarnation, birth, baptism, temptation, exorcism, teachings, healings, money, anger, and parables. If you look at the church blog site (www.mcchurch.org), you can see how the altar-pieces were creatively designed to fit with the theme. Again, response from the congregation has been strong to the point of overwhelming.
But, we decided to honor two seasons of the church year in the middle of this series: Advent and Lent. So last Sunday, November 19th I preached on the Parables of Jesus in Luke 14: 15-24 about the great banquet, which fit well with Thanksgiving Coming and Christ the King, who invites us to the banquet. Then we were ready to launch Advent this week, preaching four Sundays of Advent with the 5th being Christmas Eve. All was working smoothly until my good friend from Illinois told me that THIS Sunday was Christ the King and Advent did not begin until December 3rd!! I did not quite believe him because he preaches more series than lectionary (like I used to) so I called the Episcopal and Roman Catholic churches in the area and....I found out he was right and I was wrong.
Therefore, I think a Liturgical Hot-line is needed for those of us living off-the-grid of the lectionary year and readings. What will we do? Well, Christ was on the throne before last week, is on the throne this week, and remains on the throne next week. We will stay with the parables of Jesus and create a fresh service (with a little bit of egg on my face!)