During our elder’s meeting a few weeks back I presented a calendar for the year that included e basic themes I am interested in covering in preaching for 2010, along with the days when we will have unprogrammed worship and a few other special days in the mix. Part of this included following the Revised Common Lectionary through the Lenten season. I gave a few reasons why I wanted to follow the lectionary through this time period but two still stand out to me. There is an appeal to follow along the Scriptural path that many other churches are also following. It gives us a sense of being rooted and a part of something bigger. And I like that it also grounds us in this part of the year, reflecting on Christ’s work on the cross and working to be fully awake. This is of course to mention that it’s only for a short time, keeping with my suggestion that we practice a non-liturgical liturgy. I was surprised by how easily everyone came on board. I thought for sure there would be at least a little residual allergy to the word lectionary, but I think people were genuinely interested in how this might also be an act of worship.
I personally think that this is the kind of attitude and approach we ought to have if we hope to change, grow and innovate within our Quaker meetings. The query could go: how might this to be an act of worship? And I am very happy to see our community has this kind of openness, it gives me inspiration and excitement around what might be possible if we are willing to see God’s work beyond those things we demarcated as “sacred.”
So we too are following a long in the lectionary with Jesus on his journey to the cross. As I am preparing I am realizing the completely different approach that preaching from the lectionary takes. No longer is it that I have a few passages in mind and have a few ideas about what they already have to say (not always in this order). Instead, it really forces me to listen to the text and our community in a some ways I haven’t before. What does this text have to do with our community? Does it have anything to say to us? What is the proclamation the Spirit wants to make to us through this? It has been a struggle and a few times I’ve felt like bailing but I guess that’s a sure sign that it’s stretching me.