|A Call to
Prayer--Pray today for your community, your nation,
and your world.
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14
These pages list Lectionary readings from the Revised Common Lectionary as published by the Consultation on Common Texts, with links to The Bible Gateway, a free service of Gospelcom.net. The pages also reflect the name of the Sunday in the Christian calendar, and some hymns from The United Methodist Hymnal are suggested to go along with the Lectionary readings. Featured hymns appear on many pages for informational or inspirational use of visitors to this site. This is a private work. It is not an official resource of the Consultation on Common Texts or of The United Methodist Church.
This resource was prepared to help believers use hymns in worship. Worship is a way of life. Our lives should be full of worship in what we say, think, and do. It should also be reflected in what we sing. Music is an important part of worshiping God, whether we are involved in private devotions or corporate (congregational) worship on the Lord's day.
You are encouraged to read and study the lectionary passages and enjoy the hymns and other features for your personal use. May you grow in grace and peace through the study of the Word and the sharing of music.
In a world where years have been almost universally designated "B.C." for Before Christ and "A.D." for anno domini (the Year of Our Lord), it is almost surprising that the Christian calendar is different from this Christ-centered system of dates, but it is. An understanding of Christian traditions and holy days is important to understand how the Christian calendar works. The following is a very abbreviated discussion.
The first holy day observed by Christians was Easter, which is the celebration of Christ's resurrection and His victory over sin and death. The resurrection happened on the Sunday following the Hebrew Passover. The Passover is determined by reference to the Hebrew calendar, a lunar calendar that you can learn more about by visiting Project Genesis, a Jewish learning site on the web.
Easter is still observed on the Sunday following the Hebrew Passover in the Eastern Orthodox Church. The "Western Church" (Rome and the Protestant denominations that split from the Roman Catholic Church) observe Easter on "the Sunday following the first full moon on or after the vernal equinox in the northern hemisphere." Unless you are adept in using lunar calendars, calculating cycles of the moon, and coordinating them against the solar equinox, it is usually easier to look up the date in a calendar or table.
A time of preparation for celebrating Easter, known today as "Lent," was incorporated into the Christian calendar. It is forty days long excluding Sundays, and begins on a day commonly called "Ash Wednesday."
After a few centuries, the church began to observe a holy day for the birth of Christ--Christmas. Over time, December 25 became the universally accepted date for this observance. As with Easter, a time of preparation, known today as "Advent," developed. Advent begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day.
There are other important dates such as Epiphany (when we observe the visit of the Magi) and Pentecost (when the Holy Spirit filled the Apostles in Jerusalem), but the Christian calendar revolves primarily around the dates for Christmas and Easter. They serve as the focal events for the two "cycles" in the Christian year, the "Christmas cycle," and the "Easter cycle." Each cycle begins with a season of preparation leading up to the high holy days, and concludes with a series of weeks which are sometimes called "ordinary time." The Easter cycle also includes "Holy Week," which is Monday through Saturday leading up to Easter. The seasons of the Christmas cycle usually observed today are Advent, Christmas, Ephiphany, and the Sundays after Epiphany. The Easter cycle includes Lent, Holy Week, Easter, Pentecost, and the Sundays after Pentecost.
A lectionary is a set of scriptures or a list of scriptures selected for use during worship. A "common lectionary" is a lectionary that is used by more than one congregation. The use of a common lectionary promotes a level of corporate worship that connects many congregations.
The Roman Lectionary for Mass, published in 1969, and the Revised Common Lectionary, published in 1992 and based in large part on the Roman Lectionary for Mass, are two of the most widely used lectionaries today. Imagine all Christians around the world (or at least all of them in the same time zone!) worshiping God simultaneously. It happens all of the time, but we sometimes forget how far and how deep the love of God has reached. When we use a common lectionary, we are not only worshiping at the same time, but are studying and discussing some of the very same scripture passages. The next time that the lectionary is being read in your church, think about the thousands and thousands of other Christians who are hearing the same Word, and the message that God is sharing with His universal church.
The Revised Common Lectionary is prepared in a three-year cycle, with years A, B, and C. The scriptures for each year are different, and should provide a good coverage of the Bible by the end of the three years. A different synoptic Gospel is featured each year, with Matthew in Year A, Mark in Year B, and Luke in Year C. The Gospel of John is used during each of the years, especially near special holy days.
There are three scriptures for each week, usually an Old Testament reading, a New Testament reading, and a Gospel reading. A passage from Acts is sometimes used in place of the Old Testament reading. There is also a Psalm, which is intended as a congregational response and meditation on the first reading, rather than being a separate reading.
God bless you!
This book of original devotions, written by the author of HymnSite.com's "Featured Hymns," guides the reader on a pilgrim journey from creation to the resurrection following the path of The Cross Labyrinth.
Enjoy the journey. Order your copy today. Proceeds support this site.