What’s with the lectionary in Lent?

What is going on with the lectionary during Lent?

This Sunday and the next couple, the gospel text is nearly 40 verses long or longer. I realize these are extended stories, but really? It is not the reading time that bothers me, so much, but the challenge of coming to a clear focus for a sermon when the congregation has just been given 40 verses. No matter what I preach, there are going to be scads of questions or loose ends. And if I try to tie those up, the sermon will be a mess.

I realize this is the challenge every week we preach. No sermon ever says everything that could be said or even needs to be said.

But, still. Ouch. Three weeks in a row. Ouch.

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8 thoughts on “What’s with the lectionary in Lent?

  1. Both for length and out of concern for the crucifer (though the cross is the lighter wooden one during Lent!) I’m editing the total down to about half the current length. This, of course, is subjective determining what is “necessary” through my eyes. I think this is okay, but I don’t know if it’s all that good. There have been some long passages!

  2. I have a suggestion…these texts lend themselves nicely to a dramatic reading. Assign people to read the words of the different characters and a narrator. If there is a crowd or a group speaking, the whole congregation could speak those words. (You can make a bulletin insert with the text written like a drama.) It really keeps the interest of the congregation to do this, and the story becomes much more lively.

    1. Great idea, if I had thought of it earlier. We are doing that kind of reading on Palm/Passion Sunday.

  3. How does God want to use the passage of scripture to speak? If that entails using the text in its entirety, cool. Go for it. But focus on how he is leading in the use of the text. If that should be only a single verse from the text, so be it. Far better to speak as God leads rather than chasing rabbits.

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