Why I Use a Lectionary

I have been asked by several people which lectionary I use for our Sunday Scriptures. Some are less aware of the concept of a Lectionary, especially in more informal churches. When I began following a set of readings each Sunday, I had written an article for The Christian Standard Magazine entitled, “Let’s Read the Bible in Church.” This seems to be stating the obvious, but in many evangelical churches there is no set plan for reading Scripture as a part of worship, even though it is clearly commanded:

And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” (Acts 2:42, ESV)

Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching.” (1 Timothy 4:13, ESV)

I have heard objections that following a Lectionary is something formal (liturgical) churches do, liberal churches do, or Roman Catholic churches do. All I can answer to these sorts of objections is that, apparently then, formal, liberal, and Catholic churches have more Bible in them than the average evangelical church!

A lectionary is simply a list of Bible readings on a schedule. Some lectionaries included Scripture for each day of the week, others for Sundays only.

I follow the Revised Common Lectionary which is available on Logos Bible Software and is also available here. There are several things to note:

  1. There are three years of readings, and each year is identified as year “A” “B” or “C”. We are currently in year C.
  2. Each lectionary year begins with the first Sunday in Advent. So year “A” will begin the new year on November 27th, 2022.
  3. Each lectionary reading for a week includes an Old Testament Reading, a Psalm, a New Testament reading and a reading from a Gospel. After the Resurrection is celebrated, the Old Testament reading is substituted with another New Testament reading. This continues until Pentecost, eight weeks after Easter.
  4. The lectionaries are used by Anglican and Roman Catholic denominations, so it includes the Apocrypha. But the Apocrypha is not Scripture and should not be given the same respect, honour, and heed as Scripture, so I never use it. Whenever a book from the Apocrypha is listed, there is always a reading from the Bible suggested too.
  5. Some lectionary readings omit a few verses to either shorten the reading, or to remove readings that are too controversial or difficult.
    1. For example, the Old Testament reading for January 26th, 2022 was Nehemiah 8:1-3, 5-6, 8-10. Why were verses 4 and 7 omitted? Here they are:

      And Ezra the scribe stood on a wooden platform that they had made for the purpose. And beside him stood Mattithiah, Shema, Anaiah, Uriah, Hilkiah, and Maaseiah on his right hand, and Pedaiah, Mishael, Malchijah, Hashum, Hashbaddanah, Zechariah, and Meshullam on his left hand.” (Nehemiah 8:4, ESV)

      Also Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, the Levites, helped the people to understand the Law, while the people remained in their places.” (Nehemiah 8:7, ESV)

      These are admittedly difficult to read, but it is the responsibility of the reader to learn their pronunciations, practise them, and read them.

    2. A second reason some passages are left out is more troubling to me—modern lectionaries tend to avoid “hard sayings” and passages of judgement. On Sunday, March 13th, 2022 the reading is listed as, Genesis 15:1-12 and 17-18, but the complete reading should be Genesis 15:1-21. What is left out?

      Then the Lord said to Abram, “Know for certain that your offspring will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs and will be servants there, and they will be afflicted for four hundred years. But I will bring judgment on the nation that they serve, and afterward they shall come out with great possessions. As for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried in a good old age. And they shall come back here in the fourth generation, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.”” (Genesis 15:13–16, ESV)

      the land of the Kenites, the Kenizzites, the Kadmonites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites and the Jebusites.”” (Genesis 15:19–21, ESV)

      These are clearly passages that speak of God’s judgement upon the nations, which although is historical fact and God’s right to do so, is troubling in modern times.

      It is my policy to always read the full reading so as not to diminish or lessen the impact of God’s Word.

  6. I make some adjustments for holidays throughout the year. The most notable one is Thanksgiving, which is celebrated in November in the US and October in Canada. The Revised Common Lectionary follows the US pattern.
  7. It should be remembered that God’s Word, the Bible, is Scripture: it is inerrant, infallible, authoritative, and sufficient. The reading schedule is human, and can be adjusted without guilt.

One of the greatest advantages of following a lectionary is it forces the preacher to read texts that they might otherwise never read in public. I am also well-aware that for many Christians, these Bible passages will be the only Bible heard or read in their week.

A New Memorial Day

Today, March 1st, is supposed to be a day of new freedoms in Ontario. These freedoms are being “given” by a government and bureaucracy that has no authority to give, let alone remove them, in the first place.

I propose that March first become a day of memory, a day to remember the loss of so much that will not soon be reclaimed.  It should also be a day to remind those who did this to us:

  1. The loss of faith to fear.
  2. The loss of family
  3. The loss of choice due to the loss of bodily autonomy
  4. The loss of life to a treatable disease
  5. The loss of life due to medical interventions that were inappropriate, unnecessary, and politically driven
  6. The loss of life due to needlessly cancelled surgeries
  7. The loss of free expression and thought
  8. The loss of freedom to travel
  9. The loss of freedom to gather with others
  10. The loss of grandparents
  11. The loss of God-given freedoms and liberties
  12. The loss of trust and respect of science
  13. The lost of what remained of trust in journalism
  14. The loss of integrity in law and political process
  15. The loss of community
  16. The loss of employment
  17. The loss of homes
  18. The loss of education and career opportunities
  19. The loss of confidence in critical thinking
  20. The loss of respect of law enforcement
  21. The loss of the church’s obedience to Christ and witness in the community
  22. The loss of the elderly of the children
  23. The loss of children of their elders
  24. The loss of truth
  25. The loss of well-being: mental, physical, spiritual, and social
  26. The loss of hope
  27. The loss of kindness

It should also be a time to remember the gains:

  1. The gain of wealth by a few at the expense of millions
  2. The gain of power and control over the story of the past two years by a tiny minority
  3. The gain of State authority over every detail of life
  4. The gain of the power of lies
  5. The gain of drug abuse
  6. The gain of suicide
  7. The gain of abuse

I intend to mark the names of politicians and bureaucrats who have inflicted this upon the citizens of Ontario without consequence to themselves. I will send this email each March to each one of them every year.

Vertical War

I’m thinking that that wars and battles fought today in the Ukraine, and the wars and battles of ideas fought elsewhere, are not battles of “left” vs. “right,” or “conservative” vs. ‘liberal.” These designations are not working so well right now. Let’s call these “horizontal conflicts.” There have been many, and still are, but this is an inadequate way to describe what we are seeing unfold in the world.

What might work is to think of these upheaves as “vertical conflicts,” where there is a self-appointed elite opposed to the non-elite. There is a popular rebellion afoot, and this may appear most clearly where there is an elitist group attempting to assert its authority and cement what power it has. It is especially evident in Western nations where the non-elite cannot be simply gathered up and shot; it is likely fomenting in heavy-handed dictatorships and will explode violently.

In Canada, we have three major political parties federally which, aside from some financial policies, differ very little. Each party believes that whichever party rules, it has absolute control over the rights and liberties of its citizens. In their view, rights and liberties are privileges they dispense or deprive.

The non-elite are not a unified voice on many matters, but are unified against the goals and aspirations of the elite. They are united in their fear and rejection of their lives being micro-managed.

The elite will always underestimate the intelligence, commitment, courage, and stubborn tenacity of the non-elite.

The elite controls all legacy media and accredited educational institutions, and has been seen in Canada, banking. Thus the propaganda and outright lies flow 24/7 through these channels.

Many millions of the non-elite accept this arrangement, and simply think as they are told. But there is a great and growing number who are questioning. As the numbers grow, so do the questions. The number in the elite class is not growing, but ever shrinking, as accredited experts in many fields are risking career and reputation to dispute propaganda.

I have no way forward to believe that our lying government officials and media are now miraculously telling the truth about Russia, the Ukraine, or much else. All non-elites, be they in Canada, the United States, the Ukraine—any nation—are universally despised and hated by the elite. We are useful only as taxpayers and voters. When we can no longer work we can be pensioned off into poverty or worse. When we vote it is for a system that is so legally but immorally rigged, that votes count for little. Any election is an election of our favourite god or goddess.

The poor Ukrainian civilians are useful as canon fodder for a proxy war. They will fight to defend their very lives, as any normal person would do. They did not bring themselves to this, but those in power within and without their nation.

In this era, each individual must understand their government as their potential, if not real, enemy.

So we must not look right or left for the “good guys,” but understand that the bloodshed imposed today is a satanic wickedness that will gladly enjoin Putin, Biden, Trudeau, or Zelenskyy to its ends. It doesn’t matter the ideology: Communism, Fascism, Nazism, Capitalism, Democracy—all can be used against the populace.

In Canada, the oppressors have successfully united many who were not previously allies. More than that, there are signs of a Christian awakening in Canada that has been needed for decades. The people of God have always been given this choice:

“”Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the LORD GOD is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation.”” (Isaiah 12:2, ESV)


“And now, go, write it before them on a tablet and inscribe it in a book, that it may be for the time to come as a witness forever. For they are a rebellious people, lying children, children unwilling to hear the instruction of the LORD; who say to the seers, “Do not see,” and to the prophets, “Do not prophesy to us what is right; speak to us smooth things, prophesy illusions, leave the way, turn aside from the path, let us hear no more about the Holy One of Israel.” Therefore thus says the Holy One of Israel, “Because you despise this word and trust in oppression and perverseness and rely on them, therefore this iniquity shall be to you like a breach in a high wall, bulging out and about to collapse, whose breaking comes suddenly, in an instant; and its breaking is like that of a potter’s vessel that is smashed so ruthlessly that among its fragments not a shard is found with which to take fire from the hearth, or to dip up water out of the cistern.”” (Isaiah 30:8–14, ESV)

Notice the use of the word “trust” in both passages. We will trust in one or the other: we will trust in God who is in Christ reconciling the world to himself (2 Corinthians 5:19) or we will trust our oppressors and their perversions (Isaiah 30:12).

I pray that the events in Ukraine will spark a true revival in that nation, in Russia, and everywhere the Gospel is preached.