The Narrative Lectionary

For the past several years I have been preaching along with the Revised Common Lectionary. There are many beneficial reasons for this which I have enumerated in other blog posts. I’ve enjoyed the RCL and although it has its own weaknesses, it is a well respected and often used lectionary.

Beginning September 10th I’ll be preaching along with the Narrative Lectionary. I decided a long time ago that just preaching what seemed to me to be a good text for the week was not a good plan. I would end up preaching texts I enjoyed and avoiding texts that are more difficult. Preachers compose series of sermons that are topical in nature, which runs the great danger of snipping verses out of context and using them in ways they were never intended.

So what can our church members expect from the lessons through the NL?

*Expect to start at the start. Yes, it’s ingenious but we are actually going back to “In the beginning…”. The first five sermons are in the Pentateuch, Genesis and Exodus to be specific. The second lesson is a good example of why it’s good to use a lectionary. If ever there was a story to avoid, it’s the one where Abraham is told to sacrifice his son. Who gets that? But it’s the text for September 17 and we shall examine it.

*Expect to spend the Fall sermons moving us through the Old Testament through most of December. Those Old Testament prophets were forward looking, seeing in the distance a Messiah. 

*Expect to begin the New Testament studies on Christmas Eve with a few sermons from Luke. Starting at the New Year we will be making our way through the gospel of John. The first half of each year is focused on one of the four gospels. It’s John for 2018.

*Expect the crescendo of John’s Gospel to come at Easter time. From there through May 20 we will be looking at texts relating to Paul’s ministry in Acts and Philippians. 

*Expect the summer to be made up of three series of sermons that are more topical sounding, but are based on Scripture. The summer series for 2018 are the Ten Commandments, I John, Ruth, and Stewardship. 

*Expect that we won’t have covered everything in the Bible, so we’re going to start in Genesis again in September 2018.

As you can see, the reason this is called the “Narrative Lectionary” is that it attempts to cover the sweeping story of God’s people from the beginning through the life of Jesus and the early church. There’s one story there, even though we often see it as a jumbled assortment of stories. Notice also that this story is woven into the important days and seasons on the church calendar … Advent, Christmas, Lent, and Easter. In Churches of Christ we haven’t always paid attention to these… and sometimes we’ve pretended they didn’t exist. But each one of those seasons is an emphasis in the story of the Bible. 

By following links above you can know what the texts are for each week. Feel free to study ahead. Prepare some questions to cover in LifeGroup that Sunday night. And please, pray for your preacher. I can tell you I’m excited about the days ahead. 

For those who are not attending Forsythe Church of Christ each week, you can always follow our podcast  (or search for Forsythe Church of Christ at iTunes). 

Feel free to join a weekly discussion and resources for the Narrative Lectionary in my Facebook group Narrative Lectionarians

Thanks for reading, JD

1 Comment

  1. I appreciate you doing this, and admire the effort and discipline. I am not there, yet — may be someday. Right now, I am still doing expository series through books. I did preach for nearly a year on “The Story,: and it went pretty well. I will be reading your sermons, and am looking forward to your blog telling me how it is going.

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