Author Topic: One Year Lectionary?  (Read 1237 times)

John_Hannah

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One Year Lectionary?
« on: October 18, 2021, 01:16:13 PM »
My Circuit will be discussing the Advantages and Disadvantages of the One Year Lectionary at its next monthly conference. Can anybody here speak to that?

Peace, JOHN
Pr. JOHN HANNAH, STS

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: One Year Lectionary?
« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2021, 02:05:40 PM »
When I began, the ALC with the SBH had a one-year lectionary. I found that preaching became less exegetical, because the people had heard the exegetical comments the year before. I didn't want to just repeat myself. I went to the three-year as soon as it came out with LBW. (The people were less likely to remember the exegetical comments from three years earlier.)


Another benefit, at least for me, with the three-year lectionary, and especially when the ELCA went to the Revised Common Lectionary, was participating in ecumenical pericope study groups. In most places I've served, I was the only ALC/ELCA clergy in town. If there was to be a clergy study group, it had to be ecumenical. I find it helpful to hear the different perspectives on the text from those with different backgrounds.


The one-year lectionary in SBH had 239 different biblical passages. The three-year lectionary has 537 different biblical passages. (There are also a few options to use Apocrypha books, which were part of Luther's Bible - and all Bibles before his time.) There is a broader range of readings in the three-year cycle.
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

RDPreus

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Re: One Year Lectionary?
« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2021, 02:23:17 PM »
There are many advantages of the one year lectionary, but I will comment only on one of them.  Repetition is the mother of learning.  We know that the Ordinary of the service are memorized by repeated use.  So are the propers.  Just once a year over many years imprints them on our minds and hearts.  Once every three years is not enough.  Once a year for seventy years is quite a bit of repetition!  As we age and forget unimportant things, what was repeated to us again and again over the years will remain.  Of course, it also helps if the Bible translation and the hymns translations don't change.  But I suppose that's asking too much.

D. Engebretson

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Re: One Year Lectionary?
« Reply #3 on: October 18, 2021, 02:27:07 PM »
We had this discussion and debate in my circuit as well.  I have used the 3-Year lectionary during my entire ministry (34 years and counting), and see no reason now to depart from it.

One argument in its defense is the fact that the repetition of texts on an annual basis assists in teaching people a core of scripture. It is catechetically more effective, they claim. The 3-Year, by contrast, is said to give too much scripture and most people will have only a scattered, and incomplete exposure to it.  This argument holds up best if most of your congregation has a consistent and regular attendance.  However, upcoming generations, as opposed to the 90-somethings in particular, are not consistently every Sunday attenders. Many do not come every Sunday. Some only once a month or less.  I don't think the One-Year in that case is any more effective than the 3-Year.

Another argument for it concerns the resources available for studying the texts, especially sermons by Luther and the early Lutheran scholars who used the historic lectionary.  I agree that this is an advantage and those of us who use the 3-Year will find less of Luther and past scholars to borrow from. 

From my study of lectionaries I believe that the One-Year or Historic lectionary is actually incomplete as we now have it.  It appears that in its original form, if I'm correct, there were additional readings for midweek services, that did not survive.  As a result I am not convinced that the One-Year necessary has any advantage over the 3-Year in terms of sequential flow.  One glaring omission, which was 'corrected' in later editions, was the omission of the OT reading. 

The Three-Year, of course, has its own weaknesses as well.  Lectionaries, unlike the canon of scripture it arranges, is not inspired.  Each has its benefits, each its weaknesses.  If I took a call to a congregation that used the One-Year I would not object and would use it gladly.  But I now have a pretty good collection of my own work from which to draw that is based on the Three-Year, and with the 'hit-and-miss' attendance patterns that are now the norm, I can't see a tremendous advantage in switching.  Maybe the guy that follows me in a few years will want to.  I'll leave it to him.
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St. Peter Lutheran Church of Polar (Antigo) WI

J. Thomas Shelley

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Re: One Year Lectionary?
« Reply #4 on: October 18, 2021, 03:32:49 PM »
My conscious Christian formation in high school, college, and M. Div was with the three year lectionary.

Shelving it for the one-year lectionary was one of many major transitions of my journey into Orthodoxy.   

Having now experienced the one-year lectionary for seven years I have yet to notice any stagnation; in part because many Orthodox Priests "filter" the texts through the example(s) of the Saint(s) of the day.  We know that the alignment of a particular numerical date with a Sunday can recur only after five, six, or eleven years.  Plus the lectionary is Pascha-centric; meaning that there is no "Ordinary Time" but Sundays are counted as "After Pentecost" right up until the beginning of the next Great Lent.  Point is:  There is significant variability year to year.
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Dan Fienen

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Re: One Year Lectionary?
« Reply #5 on: October 18, 2021, 04:49:04 PM »
There seems to be quite a bit to be said for the one year as well as the three year lectionaries. I note that when speaking of the one year lectionary, there have been numerous one year lectionaries. Paul W. Nesper in his classic treatment of the subject, Biblical Texts, lists 13 one year lectionaries in addition to the Historic Lectionary. Each has their own origin story and advantages. There have also been multiple three year lectionaries. The Roman Cathlics pioneered the three year movement, with an ecumenical revision following. That lectionary has since been revised. Never willing to simply go along with everyone else, the LCMS have made their own adaptations and revisions to the common three year for each of their last two hymnals.


Personally, I've used the three year lectionary throughout my ministry. But I do not see a great advantage of one over the other. What I do see is that advantage of following a lectionary series as a discipline to read and preach on a wide variety of Biblical texts. I'm also a bit lazy, with a lectionary, I do not have to each week decide on what readings I'm going to use, and take special care to introduce variety of texts rather than falling into the temptation of riding a few familiar passages, topics, and themes. My vicarage supervisor did not follow the lectionary but organized the readings and preaching around sermon series. I recognize the advantage of that but have not emulated him.
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Brian Stoffregen

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Re: One Year Lectionary?
« Reply #6 on: October 18, 2021, 07:00:06 PM »
Perhaps a difference is that people with a J-preference on the MBTI tend to prefer the repetition of the liturgy and lessons. Those, like me, with a P-preference, tend to prefer new and different. Growing up, I found the repetition of the liturgy (SBH) to be quite boring. It seemed to me to be more like a stagnant pond than the living waters that are constantly changing. In recent years, I usually changed the musical settings and some of the optional liturgical elements by seasons. I believed that the Advent season liturgies should have a different flavor than the Christmas season; the mood (often created by musical styles) of Lent should be different than in the Easter season.

One might also throw into the discussion the four-year Narrative Lectionary that came out of Luther Seminary. It's quite popular among some ELCA folks. I don't know how much it is talked about in the LCMS.

https://www.workingpreacher.org/home-narrative-lectionary
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Rev. Edward Engelbrecht

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Re: One Year Lectionary?
« Reply #7 on: October 18, 2021, 10:58:16 PM »
If I recall correctly, the one year (historic) lectionary connects better with the collection of Luther's sermons and those of other Church Fathers.

The three year series gives you more of the Bible as a whole. However, I tend not to preach whole pericopes but just a verse or so at a time, rotating through Old Testament one year, Epistles another year, Gospels another year and even spent most of a year on appointed psalms. I think this approach would give variety in either series.

Also, I plan an entire year of sermon topics at one time, choose a particular verse as the focus for each sermon, and select a particular dogmatic or practical topic that flows from that verse as well. That way I can see the whole of what I'm teaching that year and manage the variety and repetition. It's a lot of work upfront but pays off the rest of the year.

For next year during the Sundays after Pentecost, I noticed some natural opportunities for sermon series in the readings. For example, for three or four weeks the readings lent themselves to the topic of Christology as a series. We'll repeat the sermon hymn each week and give a more sustained and comprehensive treatment of doctrine rather than exegesis in those sermons. I think this approach will give both me as a preacher and my people as learner's something fresh to experience in the "dog days" of the long Pentecost season.

Lectio continua in the three year series makes it handy to preach series on a particular book. E.g., in a recent year I had a sermon series on Ephesians. I don't think the one year series allows that. However, I had a colleague complain recently about the lectio continua on John 6, which became difficult for him to keep fresh for so many weeks in a row. That's a different challenge with lectio continua.
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Charles Austin

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Re: One Year Lectionary?
« Reply #8 on: October 19, 2021, 01:08:54 AM »
Pastor Englebrecht:
If I recall correctly, the one year (historic) lectionary connects better with the collection of Luther's sermons and those of other Church Fathers.
Me:
Why should this matter?

Pastor Engelbrecht:
The three year series gives you more of the Bible as a whole.
Me:
Agreed.

Pastor Engelbrecht;
However, I tend not to preach whole pericopes but just a verse or so at a time, rotating through Old Testament one year, Epistles another year, Gospels another year and even spent most of a year on appointed psalms. I think this approach would give variety in either series.
Me:
I have often stressed the “connections” in the three readings. The are not always there, but often they are,

Pastor Engelbrecht:
Also, I plan an entire year of sermon topics at one time, choose a particular verse as the focus for each sermon, and select a particular dogmatic or practical topic that flows from that verse as well. That way I can see the whole of what I'm teaching that year and manage the variety and repetition. It's a lot of work upfront but pays off the rest of the year.
Me:
I have never been able to plan beyond the next liturgical season. Congregational, local and world events figure in my planning.

Pastor Engelbrecht:
For next year during the Sundays after Pentecost, I noticed some natural opportunities for sermon series in the readings. For example, for three or four weeks the readings lent themselves to the topic of Christology as a series.
Me:
The 3-year cycle allows us to focus on one of the Synoptics.

Pastor Engelbrecht:
We'll repeat the sermon hymn each week …
Me:
An excellent idea.

Pastor Engelbrecht:
…and give a more sustained and comprehensive treatment of doctrine rather than exegesis in those sermons. I think this approach will give both me as a preacher and my people as learner's something fresh to experience in the "dog days" of the long Pentecost season.
Me:
During the Pentecost season, I often moved another “festival” - commemoration of a saint - to a Sunday, for variety and a chance to touch on history and the saints, biblical, historical and “modern.” (We have such in the ELCA lectionary.)

Pastor Engelbrecht:
Lectio continua in the three year series makes it handy to preach series on a particular book. E.g., in a recent year I had a sermon series on Ephesians. I don't think the one year series allows that. However, I had a colleague complain recently about the lectio continua on John 6, which became difficult for him to keep fresh for so many weeks in a row. That's a different challenge with lectio continua. :)
Me:
And much of various kinds of sermon planning, to “work” fully, means pewsitters need to be there each week, rumps in pews, ears turned on, memories of last week easily accessible. Count your blessings if you have such a situation.
« Last Edit: October 19, 2021, 05:56:28 AM by Charles Austin »
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Rev. Edward Engelbrecht

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Re: One Year Lectionary?
« Reply #9 on: October 19, 2021, 10:22:00 AM »
Quote
Pastor Englebrecht:
If I recall correctly, the one year (historic) lectionary connects better with the collection of Luther's sermons and those of other Church Fathers.
Me:
Why should this matter?

Charles, do you not consult Church Fathers when considering a passage? Many preachers do, I think, which is why I mentioned it.

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Brian Stoffregen

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Re: One Year Lectionary?
« Reply #10 on: October 19, 2021, 12:09:08 PM »
Pastor Engelbrecht;
However, I tend not to preach whole pericopes but just a verse or so at a time, rotating through Old Testament one year, Epistles another year, Gospels another year and even spent most of a year on appointed psalms. I think this approach would give variety in either series.
Me:
I have often stressed the “connections” in the three readings. The are not always there, but often they are,


There is an intended connection on the non-green Sundays in the Revised Common Lectionary. The 1st and 2nd Lessons are chosen to complement the Gospel; and there tends to be a theme for the Sunday, e.g., the First Sunday of Advent is about the second coming; the Second and Third Sundays of Advent look to John the Baptist in preparation for Christ's coming. The Fourth Sunday centers more directly on the birth of Jesus.


The green Sundays, where there are semi-continuous readings from the Gospel and an epistle, and the Old Testament, if following one track during the Sundays after Pentecost, which is what other Protestants had done. If following the other track, which is what Roman Catholics, Episcopalians, and Lutherans have usually done, the 1st Reading is chosen to complement the Gospel or the Epistle reading. There is not necessarily an intended connection between all three readings. Note also, the Psalm response also changes depending on which 1st reading track one is using.
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: One Year Lectionary?
« Reply #11 on: October 19, 2021, 12:20:18 PM »
While the Lectionary is primarily connected with Sunday worship, there are also midweek worship opportunities to explore other biblical texts. I have frequently used the 3-5 weeks of Advent and Lent to center on short biblical books or themes. One theme was the missing lessons from Mark. Some of the key passages of Mark are not assigned as readings for Sunday. I think that the key verse in Mark is the father's cry, "I believe. Help my unbelief," (Mark 9:24, found only in Mark,) but that story is not part of the Revised Common Lectionary. (Although, I have often mentioned it when preaching on the Transfiguration that occurs just before it - and a connection I believe Mark intends the readers/hearers to make.)


A related topic: why use a Lectionary? One Methodist minister admitted that he does not use a lectionary. "I prefer to ride my own hobby horse," was his honest comment.


In 43 years of preaching nearly every Sunday, I doubt that I strayed from the lectionary more than a handful of times. It is a way for me to remind myself that I am a servant of the Church, and not "riding my own hobby horse." The lectionary can challenge me with passages that are not my favorites. There is also something about having nearly all mainline believers in a community hearing the same biblical passage each Sunday. There have been times that lay people get together and discuss how their ministers approached the text - besides the clergy meeting and discussing them during the week.
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Michael Slusser

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Re: One Year Lectionary?
« Reply #12 on: October 19, 2021, 12:26:53 PM »
For Catholics, the main advantage of the three-year lectionary is the reading of the Old Testament. For centuries, the OT was rarely heard at Mass, except in the sung introit, gradual psalms, and communion verse. Among other things, that meant that our Jewish heritage was unknown to lay Catholics and usually neglected by clergy. Sermons were usually topical and programmatic and not reflections on the Scripture.

Fr. Toal, with Sunday Sermons of the Great Fathers (heavily dependent on St. Thomas Aquinas' Catena Aurea) was keyed to the one-year N.T. dominant lectionary. It helped, but it did not expose us to more of the O.T.

I would be reluctant to return to an O.T. free lectionary.

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Michael

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Dan Fienen

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Re: One Year Lectionary?
« Reply #13 on: October 19, 2021, 12:37:48 PM »
The lack of OT readings was a definite flaw in the historic one year lectionary, exemplified as it was listed in TLH. Although even TLH in the "A Table of Lessons for the Sundays, Feasts, and Chief Festivals of the Church Year", pp. 159-160 listed an OT reading for each Sunday. OT readings could be added to the historic lectionary and has been.


A chart of the one year lectionary for LSB, which includes OT readings can be found at https://files.lcms.org/file/preview/3RbB2G4DRQOjPorC680kFDejGKq1oDa9?.


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