The Revised Common Lectionary is a group of readings used in Christian worship. As the title implies, this is a revision, of a revision and so on. The current one we use was introduced 1n 1994. For Sundays, there is an Old Testament Reading, a Psalm, a New Testament reading, and a Gospel reading. It was created so a lot of the Bible is read in worship in a three-year cycle of A,B and C. Each year a gospel is featured. The synoptic gospels are Matthew, Mark, and Luke. By the way… synoptic is just a fancy way of sayin they were written from a similar point of view. Then there’s the gospel of John which looks at the life of Jesus from an entirely different point of view. So, the three-year cycle focuses on either Matthew, Mark, and Luke. John is used during special seasons and holidays like Christmas and Easter. We are currently in year B which features the gospel of Mark. Mark is the shortest of the synoptic gospels so in just a few weeks we’re going to be diving into the gospel of John to spread things out a bit.
There is also a daily Revised Common Lectionary which has an Old Testament reading, a Psalm, and a New Testament reading. The ELCA has a wonderful resource that you can sign up for to have the daily reading sent to your email. I read it every morning on my phone before my feet hit the floor!
As I read through these readings, I am struck by how different the God of the Old Testament is from the God of the New Testament. Currently the Old Testament readings are walking us through the prophets. This morning’s reading was from Jeremiah who was telling God’s people he would restore them to their home in Jerusalem after their exile to Babylon. They were sent there as punishment for their idolatry. In fact, in many places in the Old Testament we see God doling out punishment for one thing or another. I don’t much care for that God. But, by such a huge contrast the God of the New Testament is loving, protecting and very merciful. I wonder what made the difference. Did God get tired of waiting for the people to obey and love him? We know Jesus and the Holy Spirit were with God from the beginning. But was Jesus plan A or plan B?
I hate to leave you hanging, but I don’t think I know the answer to that question exactly. Let me think about it and get back to you. Maybe you have an answer. I would love to hear your thoughts!
See you Sunday!
Pastor Lu