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Our Beliefs - The Revised Common Lectionary

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The lectionary is simply a list of scripture readings assigned to be read in public worship on each Sunday and festival occasion (Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, etc.) of the year.

The source of this lectionary derives from the Consultation on Common Texts, a group made up of representatives from various denominations in North America who have decided on the texts to be assigned.

The purpose of the lectionary is to present to the minister and to congregations a wide variety and diversity of Scripture readings, with the hope that over a three-year period, Christians will be exposed to a large portion of the Bible during their worship services.

The advantage of such a lectionary is that ministers and worship leaders who follow it will not be tempted to preach or teach repeatedly on their favorite passages, but rather will be forced to struggle with passages of Scripture which may not be in accord with their beliefs or preferences. In addition, the congregation itself is exposed to a broader base of Scripture passages than might otherwise be the case.

There are four passages assigned for each Sunday: one passage comes from the Old Testament (except the Psalms), one passage is a psalm, one passage is from one of the Gospels, and one passage is from a portion of the New Testament other than the Gospels. Altogether, there are two Old Testament and two New Testament passages assigned every Sunday. Each of the three yearly cycles, labeled A, B, and C, begins on the First Sunday of Advent (the Sunday closest to November 30).

You will notice that particular books are the focus for particular years. For example, during year A, the Gospel readings come almost entirely from the Gospel of Matthew. During year B, the Gospel of Mark will take on the same role, and the Gospel of Luke will be the focus of year C. Since the cycle only runs for three years and then repeats itself, the Gospel of John does not have this kind of a role; rather, readings from John's Gospel occur primarily in special seasons, particularly Lent. One will find similar principles involved in the other lectionary passages.

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