Preaching series: Advent: Preparing to welcome God
The worship of the Anglican church follows an annual calendar that, instead of being based on the natural seasons, is oriented around the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, as well as his continued work through his Holy Spirit-led church. Our church year begins with the season of Advent, which comprises the four Sundays leading up to Christmas.
This Advent, we’re doing something new with our preaching at Little T. Instead of debuting a new series based on a Biblical book or topic, from now through Easter, we’re going to preach through the Sunday lectionary (weekly Bible readings) in the Book of Common Prayer (BCP).
What’s the BCP?
The BCP is the comprehensive guide to the worship and prayer of the Anglican church. It is one of our tradition’s great treasures: a book by the church, for the church, which orders and organizes Scripture for the purpose of Christian worship. Central to the BCP is the weekly lectionary, the readings designated for Sunday worship.
What’s the lectionary?
Each week there are two readings from the New Testament. One is taken from the Epistles, the letters sent to the earliest churches, which gave pastoral advice on doctrine, ethics, and lifestyle to the communities figuring out what it meant to follow the resurrected Jesus. The second reading is from the Gospels, the four Biblical accounts of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. The two readings are intended to illuminate and interpret each other, and the accompanying Collect – a prayer that “collects” the prayers of the congregation together – illustrates those connections. The Epistle, Gospel and Collect for a given week are being posted to our Facebook page every Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Why preach the lectionary?
The lectionary presents Scripture in an intentional program of spiritual development that is tied to our weekly worship.
The Anglican church in its present form is about 500 years old. But the lectionary pre-dates Anglicanism by a millennium. We inherited it from the early church, which arranged God’s written word in worship for the purpose of being formed in the living Word of God, Jesus Christ. From Advent through Pentecost (50 days after Easter), the lectionary focuses us on Jesus: his birth, life, death, resurrection, and ascension. For the second half of the year, the lectionary focuses us on what it means to be his church, loving one another as he loved us.
In this sense, the lectionary is a gift to any Christian — but especially to new followers of Jesus — who have looked at the Bible and despaired at where to start reading, how to understand this huge, complex book. Here’s a simple, straightforward, focused way into the Bible that’s tied to weekly worship and focused on how to become like Jesus. In this way it’s meant to complement, not replace, our own study of Scripture. This Advent, we encourage you to dive into the journey that the lectionary offers, and see what it brings to your spiritual life.
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