Too hard on lectionaryby Thomas Lehman, Chapel Hill, N.C.
Palmer Becker draws on a lifetime of experience and makes good points in his Nov. 20, 2007, article (“We Can Preach Differently”). However, Becker is too hard on the lectionary, which our congregation has used throughout the year for several years. Becker says, “It does not allow sufficient freedom to address such important themes as discipleship, peace and reconciliation.”
If a preacher wishes to develop a sermon on any of these topics, she or he would surely look for passages of Scripture as a basis for the sermon. The lectionary takes users through much of the Bible systematically, so that a passage appropriate to such a topic is likely to be scheduled, if not right away.
Moreover, the lectionary offers a choice of at least four passages per Sunday, and they are not always topically related to each other. Thus the pastor who has a certain topic in mind and approaches the assigned readings creatively may find it easy to make the points she or he has in mind—even if the context is not exactly what would have been chosen without the lectionary.
The lectionary is a strong entry into Scripture. It is not a straitjacket.
Associated Issue: Good preaching - Nov. 20, 2007
Associated Article: We can preach differently
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