The Reformed Lectionary is designed for churches which do not have prescribed readings. Churches which do have prescribed readings have their own lectionaries. The rest of us are free to use this lectionary in whatever ways are beneficial. My hope is that it will be helpful to many people in a variety of ways.
Simple and Easy
It is simple and easy to use this lectionary.
1. Select the time of year (Advent, Christmas, Epiphany; Holy Week and Easter; or Pentecost Season)
2. Locate the week of the year in the gospel table
3. Select the column for the gospel you wish to use and note the scripture
4. Scroll down to the epistle table and locate the week of the year
5. Select the column for the track you wish to use (A, B, C, etc.) and note the scripture
6. Do likewise for the Old Testament and Psalter readings
7. Between Epiphany Season and Palm Sunday, and between Pentecost Season and Advent, go to the Float Weeks page to select readings
You can move sequentially through the columns until the end, then repeat. There are twice as many epistle tracks as gospel and Psalter tracks, so (for example) epistle track E would be paired with Matthew and Psalter A, etc. There are eight standard tracks for the Old Testament, but additional tracks for the long books.
You can mix and match tracks; e.g. Matthew with epistle B, Old Testament C, and Psalter D. If you do this, you will need to keep a record of your selection for each year. You can expand or compress the readings, but by doing so you will compromise the goal of reading most of the whole Bible. The pastor may choose to preach a sermon series on a topic or on a small portion of text (e.g. the Beatitudes). He could substitute that text for one of the readings, but it might be better to stick to the lectionary and let him read his sermon text immediately prior to the sermon. You may think of this lectionary as a starting proposal to adapt to suit your needs. But doing so will make more work for you.
The challenge and note the scripture for any lectionary is the variability of the calendar. Some years there is one Sunday between Christmas and Epiphany, and some years there are two. More troublesome is the tendency of Easter to drift from mid-March to late April. This challenge is significantly amplified when the goal is to provide continuous readings.
For the Christmas season I provided scriptures for two weeks. If one-week seasons follow each other, you may use the week two readings in the second year. My approach to Easter is to stop the Epiphany and Pentecost readings at their earliest occurrence and provide very short passages to be used to fill the weeks remaining until Palm Sunday or Advent. I call this time “Float Weeks,” and those readings are located on the Float Weeks page. When the Epiphany series is completed, select scriptures from the Float Week tables for however many weeks remain until Palm Sunday. Likewise for Pentecost.
To spread the whole text of the gospels evenly among the Sundays of one year would make each reading tediously long. The passion narratives are quite lengthy, so I am providing them for readings throughout the week between Palm Sunday and Easter. Many churches already read lengthy portions of the passion narrative at Good Friday services. A Maunday Thursday service is another occasion to read the passion. Reformed churches do not observe Lent, but it might be advisable to reserve Holy Week as a special time for prayer and devotion. It is likely not realistic for most churches to gather every day of the week, so the prescribed readings could be used for individual, family, or small group devotions.
I am sure there are errors. I spent dozens of hours on this project, but a project this complex will inevitably conceal some mistakes, which I will correct as they are discovered. Feel free to bring errors to my attention.
C. David Green