Rachel Held Evans, an evangelical blogger whom I’ve mentioned here once or twice, recently had an “ah-ha!” moment about the Revised Common Lectionary:
Suddenly, I liked the idea of having an “assignment,” a sort of spiritual and creative challenge that kept the focus on the text and not on me. Furthermore, as I began preparing for that sermon, I discovered this whole world of online collaboration happening among clergy from Methodist, Presbyterian, Episcopal, Baptist, and Lutheran churches (and more!) all working through the same few passages in preparation for their services that week. And they weren’t just thinking about their sermons. They were joining with artists and musicians and liturgists and Sunday school teachers and writers and laypeople to think about how Luke 17:5-10 might translate into art, worship, poetry, children’s messages, even bulletin designs. (Even after the sermon was finished, I loved checking the blogs and sermon podcasts of some of my favorite pastors to see their “take” on the passage.)
And it struck me: This is exactly how the Bible is meant to be engaged—collaboratively, in community, with a diversity of people and perspectives represented.
Evans, growing up in an evangelical environment, wouldn’t have had exposure to lectionary-based worship. However, her writing – both in books and on her blog – is deeply interested in Scriptural hermeneutics and complexly honest ways of grappling with the Biblical texts. I am delighted to see such an immediate recognition of the benefits of a lectionary tradition, and I look forward to finding out what she does with it in this new series, in which she plans to engage the coming Sunday’s texts every Thursday as a regular feature.