Worship Rhythm

Monday after the Festival of the Holy Trinity

The Lord be with you

As regular readers of this blog know, we have entered the Pentecost Season. As most everyone in our denomination knows, in 1982 the LC-MS introduced the hymnal Lutheran Worship (okay, you may not have known the date, but you know Lutheran Worship). At that time we went from the one-year lectionary to a three-year lectionary. Historically, this was a bold move, but all the liturgical churches were doing it and we went along. From a Sunday to Sunday point-of-view the most obvious change was the addition of another reading from the Scriptures, an Old Testament lesson.

In the old one-year lectionary, there were only seven days in the regular Church Year (that is, not counting Saints’ Days or other special occasions) that had readings from the Old Testament. Four of them were mid-week services (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday of Holy Week). This change was so welcome that even the new one-year lectionary added Old Testament lessons.

There was another change with the introduction of the new lectionary that might not be so obvious. That is a somewhat continuous reading through the books of the Bible. This is easiest to notice during the Pentecost season because the regular SunWorship Rhythmday rhythm isn’t interrupted by a host of holidays.

This change is most clearly noticed in the Epistle and Gospel lessons. Currently we are in “series c.” The Epistle readings for the next six Sundays are: Galatians 1:1-12; Galatians 1:11-24; Galatians 2:15-21; 3:10-14; Galatians 3:23-4:7; Galatians 5:1, 13-25; and Galatians 6:1-10, 14-18. You will notice a similar progression in the Gospel lesson, only in the book of Luke. This modification allows a pastor to “preach through a book of the Bible,” if he desires.

The Old Testament lesson kind of jumps around a bit. That is because this lesson is intended to reflect the Gospel lesson. However, because of this continuous reading through the non-Gospel books of the New Testament, there is no effort made to match themes with the Old Testament or Gospel lessons in the Epistle lessons.

I feel the more we understand our Sunday morning worship service, the richer the experience will be. Knowing this about our appointed readings will help us tie one Sunday together with the next, getting a larger picture of our time together. Each Sunday is not an isolated event, but part of a larger worshiping rhythm, one of which our sister congregations are also a part.

Blessings in Christ,