Have you ever tried to read the Bible straight through from cover to cover? Many people have tried, and some have succeeded, but most get bogged down and peter out somewhere in Exodus or Leviticus (the 2nd and 3rd books out of 66). It’s not surprising that people find it difficult to read the Bible like they read a novel or biography, because the Bible is unlike any other book! In fact, it’s not a single book, but a library of 66 books, that when taken together, tell God’s story of creation, redemption, and hope.
Have you ever noticed that the Bible isn’t organized in chronological order? For example, 1 and 2 Chronicles is almost a word-for-word retelling of 1 and 2 Kings. The Acts of the Apostles is essentially the second half of the Gospel of Luke, but the Gospel of John is sandwiched inbetween Luke and Acts. There are good and sound reasons for why the books of the Bible are organized in the way that they are, but these organizational quirks present some challenges when preaching and teaching God’s story.
That’s why we are thrilled to announce that we will be once again using the Narrative Lectionary as a guide for our worship life during the 2016-2017 academic year. As you may know, a lectionary is simply a schedule of one or more Scripture readings for a given day. The Narrative Lectionary is a schedule of readings that enables a congregation to engage the broad sweep of the Biblical story in its chronological order.
The Narrative Lectionary is organized roughly around an academic year schedule. In the Fall through Advent, we’ll look at Old Testament readings that move through the story of God’s dealings with Israel and culminate in Advent with the prophets who speak of longing and hope and the coming of the Messiah. From Christmas through Lent, we’ll look at readings from the Gospel of Luke. We’ll follow the story from birth of the Messiah at Christmas, the public revelation of the Messiah during Epiphany, and the Passion and Resurrection through Lent, Holy Week and Easter. From Easter through Pentecost, we’ll look at resurrection accounts, stories from Acts, and readings from Paul’s letters which tell of the power of the Holy Spirit’s presence.
We’ll begin this Sunday, September 11, in Genesis, which literally means “Beginning.” Specifically, we’ll be looking at the story of creation and fall in Genesis 2:4-7, 15-17, and 3:1-8.