Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Sunday Special

In an online conversation with a friend yesterday we were talking about a number of topics one of which was the Revised Common Lectionary and the limits it places on preachers where it is followed almost slavishly. It does have to be said though that I can see how it can be helpful to some preachers as a starting point and am not suggesting doing away with it.

The upshot of this was it got me thinking about Special Sundays and the designations given to Sunday in the lectionary. I have for many years held the view that every Sunday is special although according to the lectionary we are in ordinary or proper time at the moment, and I am never sure about the term ordinary in this respect – the definition of ordinary in the dictionary is: - with no special or distinctive features; normal. What a shame if that is our experience of Sundays!

Apart from the festival dates like Easter, Pentecost, Advent etc., there are also a number of other special Sundays throughout the year marking both ecumenical and Methodist related events and activities and I suspect many of us celebrate these quite happily. It is often the case too that it gives preachers an opportunity to break out of the lectionary and use some different texts (I know we can do that anyway but it does seem to me that is some places it would seem to be almost rebellious).

In our conversation last night we mentioned a number of books that we very rarely hear anyone preach on and the suggestion came up that we have a ‘Preach from a neglected book Sunday’ and I jokingly said we should send a memorial to conference suggesting this.
I am not sure if this would prove to be a popular idea but may well raise it at our next preachers meeting as an idea and a bit of a challenge to us preachers to give some consideration to whole swathes of scripture that we never look at and possibly never think of if we are tied into the lectionary.

I would welcome any thoughts from those reading this blog and who knows maybe even some support for the concept.


4 comments:

ROB JOHNSON said...

We have both preached using the lectionary recently, following it because the churches in the circuit have said that they wish us to do so, but I agree wholeheartedly with these thoughts about being a slave to the system.

Likewise, I am always prone to do my own thing and have written sermons based on films before now; Bruce Almighty and The Wizard of Oz to name but two.

The only time I have preached from the likes of Haggai, as I am doing next Sunday, is when I have either been 'taken over' or received 'divine dictation' as it were, and I know in my heart that this is what needs saying because of an issue in a certain church.

The other times I have preached from the more 'obscure' books [that no-one has a go at] is either because I felt adventurous, or because of a team preaching concept, where I have been a part of 5 preachers [based in one church] and we each in turn took major prophets [mine was Jeremiah if I remember rightly] and preached from each one, in turn.

Perhaps your circuit could introduce something like that at evening services, or circuit services?

Ian Southall said...

Circuit services - what are they?

Joanne Mead said...

I think there are large chunks of the Bible that are woefully neglected and we are missing out on the message God has for us when we engage with them.

ROB JOHNSON said...

Last week was Haggai 1 vv 1 - 15 for me. Love that scripture.