From the Pastor’s Desk
So what do we read next?
How do you decide what you are going to read next in the Bible? It is a huge book covering over 4000 years, with some stories taking books to resolve and others stories hidden inside other texts. How do you cover all the important bits and avoid repeating constantly?
The Jews, probably during the Babylonian Exile, created the the first ‘Lectionary’ or list of prescribed readings in an order. The first was designed to read the entire Torah in one year, with specific scrolls being read at certain moments.
Early Christianity developed their own which eventually was adapted by the Roman and Orthodox Churches. The Pre-Vatican II Roman Catholic lectionary was a 1 year rotation of a Gospel reading and an accompanying non-Gospel lesson.
The Post-Vatican II lectionary began a cycle of 3 years, with four readings each day: Old Testament (or a New Testament reading doing Easter season), Psalm, Epistle, and Gospel. Each year would be focused on Matthew, Mark, or Luke, John would be read from regularly each year. At the end of the 3 year cycle, a person will have read nearly the entire Bible.
Some Protestant denominations came together to develop their own version based on the Roman Catholic's, this is called The Revised Common Lectionary (RCL). It is a great tool to use in your daily devotionals.
The Church of the Brethren has no stance on the usage of RCL, some pastors use it regularly, others not at all, and a few, like myself, will use it on occasion. Sometimes it is nice to have a little bit of extra help in finding a direction.