GRACE BAPTIST CHURCH LECTIONARY GUIDE
* SECOND VERSION NOW AVAILABLE:
FALL 2021-SUMMER 2025 *
WHY A LECTIONARY FOR GBC?
Why tie ourselves down to a system when it comes to how we work through the Scriptures in worship? Why not be free to choose whatever, whenever we want? Those are great questions. We have adopted a GBC lectionary for several reasons.
First, setting Scripture within a yearly calendar, and a four year cycle, is something that is a part of our heritage.
The church has marked off a Christian Year for centuries. Even prior to the church, in the Old Testament, God set up a yearly calendar of feasts and festivals as a way of teaching the Jewish people both who He was and who they were in relation to Him. In our world the word “new” is often equated with “better” and “improved”. But in reality we know that things that stand the test of time do so because they have been found to be valuable and helpful, year after year.
Second, it disciplines us to look at the “whole counsel of God.” (Acts 20:27)
Our tendency is to return over and over again to the texts that we like or that have been meaningful to us while avoiding the more challenging or problematic texts. The lectionary is an agreement that we will listen to all of Scripture, even the parts that are hard to hear.
Third, it constantly brings us back to the central events of our story.
We reconnect with the core truths of our identity every year: Advent, the coming of Christ, His death and resurrection, the coming of the Holy Spirit, and Mission of God in the world. Year by year we remember these core aspects of who we are as the people of God. For more on this idea check out this short video – Why Mark the Seasons? by Malcom Guite (https://vimeo.com/80589631)
Finally, a lectionary and a church calendar cycle accomplish these things in a way that connects with all aspects of who we are.
We read the text as a church community and in our own personal study to engage what we think. We tie symbols and worship practices to these texts in order to engage the way we feel. In Advent we talk and think about waiting for Jesus to come, and we set up our worship services to help us actually feel that longing. During Holy Week we seek to think about and feel the darkness and desolation that came through the death of Jesus so that we can fully engage the amazing truth of the resurrection. Far too often we limit our faith to intellectual belief or to emotional experience. Our lectionary and calendar help us to engage both these sides of human nature in a balanced way.
We have created a booklet as an overview of how we follow the GBC lectionary and calendar over a four year cycle. We hope that this helps you to understand why we do what we are doing and engage more fully in worship. You will also find a reading guide that will help you read along with us as a community, covering the text of the whole Bible over the course of the four years.