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texts for 2012

Given that I'm not really a lectionary preacher -- I'll check what's up in the Revised Common Lectionary, and preach from them when they sing to me, but I don't restrict myself to those texts covered by the RCL -- it seems like a good practice to keep track of what I'm preaching. Otherwise, I'd risk to preach an awful lot from, say, Isaiah and Luke, and not even notice I was neglecting the other books!

These were my sermon text choices for 2012.

Genesis 17:1-2, 6-13
Genesis 45
Exodus 16:1-3 & 17:1-7
Numbers excerpts from chapters 13 and 14
Deuteronomy 4:29-31
Deuteronomy 6:1-9
Ruth excerpts from chapters 1 and 4
1 Samuel 3:1-20
1 Samuel excerpts from chapter 17
2 Samuel 11:1-17
2 Samuel 11:26-12:9
Job chapters 1 & 2
Job 38:1-27
Psalm 107:1-9, 23-32
Song of Songs 2:8-13
Isaiah 5:1-7
Isaiah 10:1-4
Isaiah 11:1-9
Isaiah 42:1-4
Isaiah 43:18-25
Isaiah 58:6-12
Isaiah 61:1-4
Jeremiah 23:1-6
Jeremiah 29:1-14
Joel 2:12-18 (Maundy Thursday)
Joel 13:1-15, 20, 30-35 (Ash Wednesday)
Zephaniah 3:14-20

Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21 (Ash Wednesday)
Matthew 20:1-16
Matthew 28:16, 18-20
Mark 1:4-15
Mark 1:14-20
Mark 4:26-32
Mark 4:35-41
Mark 6:14-29
Mark 6:30-46
Mark 7:1-8, 14-23
Mark 9:38-50
Mark 10:17-27
Mark 11:1-11
Mark 12:38-44
Passion texts (Good Friday tenebrae)
Birth Narratives (Candlelight Service)
Luke 1:26-56
Luke 2:21-40
Luke 4:1-13
Luke 4:14-29
Luke 10:25-37
Luke 11:1-13
Luke 24: 13-35
Luke 24:36-49
John 6:24-35
John 12:44-50
John 15:1-11
John 15:12-17

Acts 2:1-21 & 37-47
Acts 4:32-5:10
Acts 5:11-33, 38-42
Acts 8:26-31, 35-39
Acts 16:11-13
Romans 3:21-25a
Romans 8:31-39
1 Corinthians 13:8-12
Galatians 5:13-25
Ephesians 4:25-5:2
Philippians 1:2-14
Philippians 2:1-13
Philippians 4:1-13
1 Thessalonians 5:12-22
Hebrews 1:1-4 & 2:1
James 2:1-7, 14-17
James 3:13-18
James 5:12-20
1 John 2:1-10
Revelation 21:1-4

I'm actually pretty happy with the distribution. I don't expect to cover every book every year -- I don't want church to seem like a whirlwind tour -- but I did make an effort to cover different *kinds* of texts, from the longer Old Testament narratives through the epistles. I liked taking a few weeks to focus on Acts, which was not a normal go-to preaching text for me. Likewise Philippians and James.



( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 26th, 2012 03:48 pm (UTC)
*raises hand* Can you provide a definition of "lectionary preacher" and a description of what it is to be one and not be one? Curious minds want to learn. :)

*hugs you*
Dec. 26th, 2012 05:13 pm (UTC)
Oooh, excellent question!

My understanding is that first the Roman Catholics, and later many of the more liturgical protestant churches -- the Episcopalians, the Lutherans, and even the United Methodists -- wanted to ensure a variety of Biblical texts were being read and treated in weekly worship. Otherwise, an individual priest or pastor really might, without intention, focus entirely on only a few favoured books, and ignore the others. The discipline of a lectionary meant that those decisions were out of the hands of the individual priest: each Sunday there was one passage from Old Testament, a Psalm, one from the Gospels, and one from the rest of the New Testament (epistles & writings).

From my perspective, the best part about choosing a designated RCL pericope on a given Sunday is that so many other pastors are preaching on that same text, there's a wonderful camaraderie in preparation: good online discussions and podcasts and worship resources ripe for the picking.

The worst part about following the RCL is that it leaves an awful lot out. It covers the three synoptic gospels -- mark, matthew, luke -- fairly comprehensively, but leaves holes elsewhere in the New Testament, and leaves out huge swaths of the Old Testament. See, for example, the very few texts chosen from Numbers or Leviticus in the 3-year cycle. The RCL loves Isaiah almost as much as I do, but almost completely ignores other parts of the Hebrew Bible.

I also find the pairings constraining. There's generally an implicit hermeneutical expectation revealed in the linking of the passages, such that it's hard to plumb the depth and breadth of the ancient story for its own struggles and revelations.

So I guess a lectionary preacher is one who has chosen both the blessings and constraints of those pre-packaged pericopes. That feels too stifling to me, and also too easy: I *want* to face the question of Abraham's willingness to sacrifice Isaac in all its scariness *without* first jumping to God's sacrifice of Jesus. I *want* to ask questions like "what is a holiness code, and what is all this arcane stuff in leviticus?" (Come to think of it, I really should preach from Leviticus a bit this year.) I guess, in all that, I'm a bit strange! ;)

Edited at 2012-12-26 06:23 pm (UTC)
Dec. 27th, 2012 01:06 am (UTC)
Thank you so much for this - I recall from medieval musicology that the... what was it called... Liber Usualis (? I think) was designed to go through the entire Bible once a year - or that it accompanied the other book whose name I can't recall now. I never thought about how preachers chose their texts; I just assumed that there was some following of the systems set up so very long ago that everything was in Latin and there were no women singing. :D My knowledge was pretty good for the time, but it's limited to... yes, well. Renaissance sacred music. :)

I really love what you say about the camaraderie of preparation and the thoughtfulness you bring to how you choose how to choose.

*blows kiss*
Jan. 1st, 2013 01:58 am (UTC)
Testing! :)
LiveJournal account created; friend request sent; leaving comment on a posting that I can see; hoping to be connected so that your end-of-2012 posting can be read & enjoyed! Happy New Year! :)
Jan. 1st, 2013 02:33 am (UTC)
Re: Testing! :)
Hooray! I've "friended" you back, so you should be able to see my wee posting. :)
Blessings to you!
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )


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