|Reading from my old 1928 Book of Common Prayer,the standard for many conservative Anglican parishes in the US (and still a longtime favorite because of the early Modern English Scriptures from the Great Bible of 1540)|
As I mentioned last week, I've decided to post a little about what being a liturgically-minded Christian is like, along with the weekly Collects and Readings from The Book of Common Prayer 2011 which I helped to edit. I'm so pleased that we're in our second printing of this BCP, and we've had at least as many evangelicals ordering copies for private worship as Anglicans (although there are several parishes that are using the BCP 2011 as the basis for their Sunday worship services).
For me, using the BCP 2011 in my private worship means that I follow the Lectionary at the beginning of the book. A Lectionary (from the Latin lectio, to read) is simply that: a schedule of Scripture readings for every day of the Christian Year. Basically, there are three sections of the Christian Year: those holy days centered around the birth of Christ which includes Advent, Christmastide, and Epiphanytide; those holy days centered around the death and resurrections of Christ (Lent, Holy Week, Eastertide, Pentecost); and then Ordinary Time which starts with Trinity Sunday, the Sunday after Pentecost, and lasts until the last day before Advent restarts the Christian Year. However, the term "Ordinary" Time doesn't mean that everything is boring and ho-hum; it refers to the Ordinal, or counted weeks (first, second, third, fourth, etc.) after Trinity Sunday and are counted as The First Sunday After Trinity, The Second Sunday After Trinity, etc.
As The Book of Common Prayer 2011 states that the inclusion of the Lectionary in the various Books of Common Prayer is for "the goal of reading all of Scripture during the course of one year, of over two years in a few cases." The Lectionary in the BCP 2011 includes the reading of all of the Scriptures over the course of one year with two readings for Morning Prayer and two readings for Evening Prayer. The Psalms are read separately in the Psalter (which I plan to discuss in an upcoming post).
So as each Sunday has its Collect and Readings (see the previous post), so the Lectionary lists Bible readings related to that time in the Christian Year for each week. For example, in this Fourth Sunday After Easter, we have readings set up,morning and evening, for Monday through Saturday after this Fourth Sunday: for Morning Prayer we're reading from Numbers 16-21 in the Old Testament, and in the New Testament, we're finishing Ephesians and starting Hebrews. For Evening Prayer this week, we're reading from Isaiah 55-60 in the Old Testament, and a variety of verses from Philippians, 2 Corinthians, Romans, 1 Corinthians, and Revelation from the New Testament.
Here are the Propers (the Collects and Scripture Readings) for today, the Fourth Sunday After Easter:
FOURTH SUNDAY AFTER EASTER
ALMIGHTY God, who alone can bring order to our unruly wills and passions; Grant that we may love what you command and desire what you promise, so that in the many changes and chances of this world, our hearts may be centered where true joys are to be found; Through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and rules with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen. (References: Philippians 1.9-11; 1 Corinthians 7.31; Hebrews 6.18-20)
James 1.17-21; John 6.5-15; Psalm 98.1-4; Psalm 118.15-18; Acts 4.31-35
Wishing you a blessed week in the love and grace of our Lord,