Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Three reasons we shouldn't just stick to the Gospels

The lectionary, on the whole, is a fairly good thing.

Over a three-year cycle, a congregation systematically hears (if all assigned readings are read) large chunks of the Old Testament narrative, all the Psalms, the four Gospels and the rest of the New Testament.

Ideally, this should give you a balanced view of the Scriptures.

But... I wonder.

How many churches, who follow the lectionary, primarily stick with the gospel passage? I suggest it is the VAST majority.

And this can be a problem.

First, incidentally, it creates a mysterious aurora around the rest of the bible. Especially if they are read but not referred to, they're nothing more than just snippets of an out-of-context story.

Second, by avoiding the non-Gospel readings, we send the message that the rest of the bible is of lesser importance.

Finally, we miss a valuable opportunity to teach the congregation how the ENTIRE bible fits together, displaying the unraveling Salvation Story, climaxing with Jesus. We shouldn't rob the church a chance to see how any section of the bible was used by God.

I suspect, if a church undertook a two-year audit of all the scripture passages read and sermon topics used (like I just did), they would be surprised at the unbalanced biblical diet they've been serving up to their congregation (and probably need to check out my post on selecting a sermon series).

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