Monday, September 17, 2012

OK, so what would Year E look like?

I'm glad you asked. In the Introduction to Year D, I suggest the ideal of a seven-year lectionary (see Deut 31:10-11), and offer a few criteria for Years E through G.

As you may know, Year D does not really address the problem of Acts or Revelation, each of which are treated by the RCL as an epistle, even occasionally using Acts in lieu of the Old Testament, a decision that suggests certain undertones of Marcionism. I would suggest, by contrast, treating Acts as the Gospel for Year E and Revelation as the Epistle. This pattern would carry through the entire year, more or less continually, and without any obligatory sense of a need to tie them together, although the juxtaposition may well (and often does) prove very interesting.

To address the problem of the Psalms which are pretty thoroughly represented once Year D is added, I've suggested working with other poetic material from the prophetic oracles and the wisdom literature.

Meanwhile, since the untreated Old Testament material is so vast, I've suggested two parallel tracks for Year E — yes, a choice would have to be made — which I label OTE1 and OTE2. Furthermore, each track would have to be developed as "episodic," taking into account the fact that an event or episode may span several chapters, in which case the preacher would likely need to select the verses to be read much more narrowly, and devote a significant portion of the sermon to placing things in context.

By the way, take a moment to read through the lections from Ruth (First through Third Advent) as is, with all the RCL verses omitted (skipping even the bits in parentheses, which are provided for context, but are also bracketed so as to denote their prior representation in RCL). I find this obverse reading quite interesting, in that, anyone who is at all familiar with the story (esp. by way of hearing it read via the RCL) will find the whole well represented by this partial reading. The impression one gets is of a tapestry that reveals the same pattern on the back as on the front, even if the reverse is the less finished or formally presentable side.

Here is a sample you may wish to consider for this coming Advent and Christmas.

The Advent-Christmas-Epiphany Cycle

The First Sunday of Advent
OTE1: Genesis 12:10-20; 15:13-16 (18-19) 20-21
OTE2: Ruth 1:19-2:23
Song of Solomon 1:1-8
Acts 1:1-5
Revelation 1:1-3

The Second Sunday of Advent
OTE1: Exodus 1:1-7; 2:1-25 OR 6:14-27
OTE2: Ruth 3:6-4:12 (13-17) 18-22
Song of Solomon 1:9-2:7
Acts 1:6-11
Revelation 1:4-6

The Third Sunday of Advent
OTE1: Exodus 3: (13-15) 16-22; 4:18-31
OTE2: 1Samuel 1:1-3 (19-20) 21-28; 2:11, 18-21, 26; 3: (19-20) 21-4:1a
Song of Solomon 2: (8-13) 14-17
Acts 1:12-14
Revelation 1:7-8

The Fourth Sunday of Advent
OTE1: Exodus 5:1-23 AND/OR 6:1-13, 28-30; 7:1-13 OR Numbers 24:15-19
OTE2: 1Samuel 2:12-17, 22-25, 27-36 AND/OR 4:1b-22
Song of Solomon 3:1-5
Acts 1:15-26 AND/OR 9:10-19
Revelation 1:9-16

Christmas Eve
OTE1: Exodus 10:21-11:10; 12: (1-2) 15-31
OTE2: 1Samuel 5:1-12; 6:1-22; 7:1-2
Song of Solomon 3:6-11
Acts 1:9-11 OR 2:1-21 [AND/OR Matthew 1:18-25; 2:1-12]
Revelation 1:17-20 OR 12:1-9 (10-12) 13-17 OR 21:1-8

Christmas Morning
OTE1: Exodus 10:21-11:10; 12: (1-2) 15-32
OTE2: 1Samuel 5:1-12; 6:1-22; 7:1-2
Song of Solomon 3:6-11
Acts 1:1-21 OR 2:22-36
Revelation 1:17-20 OR 12:1-9 (10-12) 13-17 OR 21:1-8

Christmas Day
OTE1: Exodus 10:21-11:10; 12: (1-2) 15-32
OTE2: 1Samuel 5:1-12; 6:1-22; 7:1-2
Song of Solomon 3:6-11
Acts 2:22-36 AND/OR 2:36-47
Revelation 1:17-20 OR 12:1-9 (10-12) 13-17 OR 21:1-8

More to come as time allows ...

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