So as I explore using the Lectionary here are some things I have observed:
- You need to have or have access to an extensive library for study – early in my ministry I would buy a couple of commentaries for each sermon series – as I generally preach by biblical book. So after all this time the gaps in my coverage is smaller. Having access to a university library helps. If you do not have such a library, you would be hostage to whatever lectionary resources you have.
- Reading a book like Feasting on the Word, offers an interesting and varied perspective on the passages, however one has to read discerningly. Yesterday on Romans 5, there was a quote from Paul Tillich that sounded good, however, one needs to remember that Tillich believed in re-defining theological terms. So this book is like the top of the funnel – at the start of reading, expose your reading eye to a lot of stuff to stimulate your thinking on relevance, issues you might tend to neglect and so forth, but the sermon comes out of the narrow end, after you have studied and winnowed the wheat from the chaff.
- Connecting passages is kind of fun. The complaining Israelites (Exodus 17) lacked Water, as did the Woman of Samaria (Jn 4) and God “pours out his love” (i.e. like water) in Romans 5, and Ps 95 links to the Isralites habit toward complaining. For me this is new and kind of fun, but I feel also that this is one groups way to explore the inter-related themes of the Bible, not the only one.
- Some Urban Ministries are following this idea of following the lectionary, church year and related parts of our heritage. For a conference I am reading “Sacred Roots” by Dr. Don Davis of The Urban Ministry Institute ( www.tumi.org/sacredroots ). This is kind of surprising to me, it will be interesting to see.
- The concept of centering your calendar on the Life of Christ as opposed to the color scheme of the shopping season at Walgreen’s is very appealing, but when do Roots become Routine only?