Thursday, May 13, 2010

FW: Three or One -- a Tale of Two Lectionaries

A discussion worth having…


Feed: Pastoral Meanderings
Posted on: Thursday, May 13, 2010 7:46 AM
Author: Pastor Peters
Subject: Three or One -- a Tale of Two Lectionaries



While nearly all the world has joined the bandwagon for a version of the three year lectionary originally prepared by the Roman Catholics flowing from the changes to the liturgy in Vatican II, Missouri still has a deep and bitter divide over the historic one year lectionary and the three year ecumenical lectionary.

The LSB includes one liturgical year with its three year pattern of observances of festivals and seasons which began life as a revision of the 1969 Ordo Lectionum Missae, flowing from the reforms of the Second Vatican Council which had been itself revised by the ILCW and LBW.  Then it was revised again by LW and then the final revision in its form in LSB.

The LSB also includes another liturgical year with a one year pattern of observances of festivals and seasons.  Revisions to the one-year lectionary used in TLH and LW were very minor. The historic Gospels remain intact. Likewise, all of the historic Epistles are included. In a few cases, however, an alternate Epistle is provided. Since the historic lectionary did not have assigned Old Testament readings, the Old Testament readings that relate closely to the Holy Gospel were added. In addition, they attempted to provide a balanced selection of the various genres of Old Testament readings (e.g., prophetic writings, historical narrative).  Full propers have been prepared for the one-year lectionary, including a psalm and verse of the day, expanded introits, and hymn suggestions for each Sunday and festival.

Some are adamant about one or the other.  I will admit to being torn between them.  While I like the idea of a consistent set of texts repeated and therefore more familiar and (hopefully) known by the people, I have used the three year lectionary for 30 years and have become accustomed to its strengths and quirks.  While I enjoy the generally friendly debate over one or the other, what I do not like is that some have made this a sign or test of orthodoxy.  I actually have had Pastors tell me that they were disappointed in me and felt that I had failed my liturgical identity and confession by using the three year lectionary.  As I say, I have mixed feelings about both but certainly would not condemn a choice for one or the other even if it were different from the choice I have made.

It seems that the majority of parishes and Pastors of the LCMS use the three year lectionary.  It is the one CPH supports with most of its resources and I can only imagine that they looked at this from a marketing perspective and found that supporting the one year lectionary in this way was not cost effective.  Still, those who use the one year series have put together everything from a Facebook group to a set of bulletin covers that reflect the themes of the "historic" lectionary.

Whether we like it or not, both are churchly choices and in keeping with our identity and faith as evangelical, catholics of the Augsburg Confession.  I would hope that this might be remembered when we make our judgments of those who may differ with us over the choice of lectionary to use.  I may well go back to the one year series at some point in time... I do not know... but I certainly delight in the myriad of themes, lessons, and passages that a Christian will hear over a three year cycle.  I guess the cost of this is the loss of the wonderful though largely misunderstood names for the Sundays (especially the gesimas)...  One this I lament most of all is the fact that my volume of Healy Willan propers has become a relic of sorts since this has little connection to the three year series.

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