THE NARRATIVE LECTIONARY:

WHAT IS IT?

The Narrative Lectionary is a four-year cycle of readings. On the Sundays from September through May each year the texts follow the sweep of the biblical story, from Creation through the early Christian church.

The texts show the breadth and variety of voices within Scripture. They invite people to hear the stories of Abraham and Sarah, Moses and the prophets, Jesus, and Paul. Listening to the many different voices within Scripture enriches preaching and the life of faith. 

CLC is moving to the Narrative Lectionary starting this Fall. With this move, there are some areas that will seem significantly different. Among those areas are both worship and Faith Formation. 

So, just what is the Narrative Lectionary and how will it be different from my previous worship faith formation experiences?. 

Worship

Our Worship is where you will see the most notable change. Let’s learn some history before we get to the change. 

In our worship for the four readings each Sunday, we use what is commonly referred to as the Revised Common Lectionary (RCL). The readings of the RCL were chosen by two ecumenical church bodies with the "Seasons" of the church calendar as the primary determiner. (Examples of this are the readings of the expectation and birth of Jesus in Advent and Christmas and Easter, of course, gives us the Last Supper, crucifixion, and resurrection.). The RCL is on a three-year cycle, which means it restarts every fourth year. Believe it or not, the RLC has its roots in Vatican II (1969). Not that our Roman Catholic brothers and sisters use the RCL, but out of Vatican II came the first "structured" reading for the church year from which the Protestants developed the Common Lectionary.

Compared to this long history, the Narrative Lectionary (NL) is relatively new. Unlike the RLC, the NL has its roots in Luther Seminary, where faculty professors got together to develop a lectionary with not only the Church Season in mind but also with the sense that the best way to engage the Bible is in a linear reading. Unlike the RC, the NL only has one reading each Sunday. And unlike the RCL, the NL is a four-year cycle: the Year of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Each year the NL starts in the Old Testament with a creation story and works its way through the Bible and the church year. The hardest dynamic for most people to transition to is that for the time September to December, there is no New Testament reading. So what you will see starting September 12th at both services will be the one reading from Genesis 1. For the 10:00 am service, the liturgy and sequence of the service will remain the same. 

Please visit the “Faith Formation 2021” page to learn how our Sunday Faith Formation classes will incorporate this change to the new Narrative Lectionary program.

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