Friday, February 11, 2005

The Wartburg

Thoughts on moving to the Historic Lectionary.

Beginning this past Advent, I've moved to the Historic Lectionary. The actual version is the Revised Historic Series which is a part of the Lutheran Hymnal Project (Lutheran Service Book). Since the HL has no specific OT readings, they've selected ones which match the Gospels a bit better. There are some traditional selections and some alternates. There are even some options for alternate epistles and Gospels. The main part of the HL is the Gospel and Epistles and though alternates are sometimes suggested, they don't have to replace the historic readings. Even a few alternate days are given. For example: There is no Baptism of Our Lord in the HL. The Revised HL gives propers for the Baptism as the First Sunday after Epiphany, along with Propers for the Historic series.

I was struck by the readings for the First Sunday in Lent. Genesis 3 and Matthew 4:1-11. There is enough there for years of sermons. (I say this, of course, with the enthusiasm that comes from something new; how will I feel in several years? Irrelevant!) It occurred to me: we should really hear Genesis 3 every year. We've got to be warned of Satan's attempts to ruin us by taking us away from God's Word and putting our love and trust in ourselves and our notions.

Since this is such an important reading that we ought to hear it every year, I am lead to discuss my main reason for switching to this lectionary: Catechesis. I have found over and over that no matter how many times you say something, if it is important, it bears repeating. I have said things in Bible Class that people seemed to respond favorably to. Saying the same thing the next week sometimes makes me feel I never said before! We simply need to hear things over and over. So that's the main advantage of the HL.

I know the other argument, too. That more is better. But it occurs to me that the "knowing a little bit well" is the better argument here. After all, if Christians just knew their Catechism inside and out, they'd know all of the Scriptures. We don't have three years worth of different Catechism Chief Parts do we? And in any case, there is much more to be studied in Bible Class and there is much to be read with the help of daily reading guides and lectionaries.

Just a few musings on the HL, particulary the Revised HL that we are using at Gloria Dei.