Encountering the Stories of Our Faith through the Narrative Lectionary
This year will structure GPPC’s worship around a different series of readings: the Narrative Lectionary. On the Sundays from September through May we’ll read the texts that follow the sweep of the biblical story, from Creation through the early Christian church.
The Narrative Lectionary was initiated in 2010 by some scholars at Luther Seminary, working in partnership with congregations across North America. They realized that while the Revised Common Lectionary (which has guided our worship for many years) has united the church in its reading of scripture and has given much-needed structure, it doesn’t present scripture – especially the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible – in a way that helps people to become fluent in the first language of faith. The Narrative Lectionary is an attempt to take nine months to do that.
The texts include the major episodes in Scripture. They are arranged in a narrative sequence to help people see Scripture as a story that has coherence and a dynamic movement.
From September to mid-December the preaching texts begin with the early chapters of Genesis, move through the stories of Israel’s early history, the exodus, the kings, prophets, exile and return. (We’ll continue to read brief passages from the Gospels, even when the Hebrew Bible is the focus of the preaching.)
From Christmas to Easter there is sustained reading of one of the four gospels
From Easter to Pentecost the texts are chosen from Acts and Paul’s letters.
Texts were selected that lead well to the proclamation of what God is doing. The stories tell of hope and disappointment, suffering and redemption. In all these varied contexts, we find God dealing with the complexities of human life. Stories from the gospels differ each year, avoiding repetition and highlighting what is distinctive about each gospel’s telling of the story of Jesus.
The Church Year helped to shape the flow of the Narrative Lectionary. Old Testament readings move through the story of God’s dealings with Israel and culminate in Advent with the prophets who speak of longing and hope. Readings from the gospels fit the movement from Christmas and Epiphany to the Transfiguration, Ash Wednesday, Holy Week and Easter. Selections from the book of Acts and Paul’s letters trace the outward movement of the resurrection message, culminating on Pentecost with readings focusing on the Spirit.
We hope you’ll enjoy this new way of encountering the biblical story!