Regular readers will know I placed a post here the other day applauding the work that Methodist Preacher has done loading the whole years worth of lectionary readings onto his blog. I made a statement that this type of resource was not available on the internet and was quickly advised that my statement was incorrect. In view of this I pulled the post to give me an opportunity to research the facts before making further comment, and having done this I intend to make comment based on my research.
Before I do make comment though it may be worth saying that in the Walsall circuit preachers are 'encouraged' to use the lectionary readings (or some of them) and some are reproduced on the circuit plan each quarter. I have listened to members of congregations as I have travelled around the circuit and a fellow preacher who had moved to this circuit from one where there was no great emphasis on lectionary readings shared some of the comments he had received as he started to travel around this circuit. There were a couple of comments that struck me which came from those quite rare people who attend both morning and evening services, and these were that they got the same readings morning and evening, the same hymns and sometimes even the same illustrations or stories in the sermon. Some of this may be down to the use of Roots Magazine by a number of preachers.
From a personal point of view when preaching in an evening I would look at the plan and if fairly confident that the morning preacher would have used lectionary readings I made the decision to consider using the readings allocated for a second service - thus giving congregations something different. I know to that my colleague who shared the comments he had picked up was also looking at using these readings when he was planned in an evening.
I decided to go back to the internet and typed Revised Common Lectionary into Google and decided to look at the first ten items in the list to see how good the internet was. I have to say that the results were not entirely different to what I had expected and with the exception of one they were nowhere near as comprehensive as the list in our worship book or as what can be found on Methodist Preachers blog. I will list my findings below but have to say that I still think that what Methodist Preacher has done is an excellent piece of work and should prove to be a useful resource to many of his colleagues.
Results from Google.
Vanderbilt - only listed one set of readings.
Montreal Anglican - Links to Vanderbilt so only one set of readings.
Textweek - only listed on set of readings.
Gbod.org - received an error message 6 times (3 each on Mozilla and Internet Explorer)
LM - pdf file would not download on either Mozilla of Internet Explorer( and yes I do have Adobe)
CofE.Anglican - one set only.
Wikipedia - explains what the lectionary is.
Justus-Anglican.org - only one set.
Lectionary Commentary - Probably the best resource except it took around 7 links to actually get to the lists of readings - and then there are lots.
The tenth one was Vanderbilt again and then after that the next 8 or 9 were a variety of booksellers and publisher items with books containing the lectionary.
Having spent the time doing this exercise I have come to the conclusion that with the exception of Lectionary Commentary the Revised Common Lectionary in the form we have in our worship book does not appear on the internet as readily as the comment would seem to suggest, although I would perhaps have to acquiesce in respect of the 'Principal Service' readings which were available on 6 out of the 10 results from Google.
I still hold the view that at the very least a link to this resource on the Methodist Church website could be useful to preachers both lay and ordained who may wish to have a computerised version of them, and realistically this would only take a couple of minutes to do. I have to say that I do use resources on the computer whether in programmes I have purchased or the internet for my preparation of services and find the range of resources that are available quite excellent and any addition to these resources can surely only prove helpful to those of us who prepare and lead worship on many occasions each year.
In closing I make no apology for the length of this post but felt that I needed to check my facts and to ensure that readers understood why I pulled the original post and what my findings were after doing the research on the internet.