My rough draft of a Four-Year Lectionary is now complete. Comments and suggestions for improvement would be most appreciated.
My first goal in creating this four-year lectionary was to give John its rightful place in the readings. Rather than dividing John up between three years as the Revised Common Lectionary (RCL) does (mainly during Lent and Eastertide), I believe John needs to have it’s own year, during which its theology and focus can become clear. I also believe that the passion narratives are given short shrift in the current RCL, and so in this lectionary they are found throughout each of the Lenten seasons. Further, I have tried to maintain a continuous reading throughout all four gospels insomuch as it is possible given the “interruption” of Lent and Easter. This also holds for the readings from the Old Testament and Epistles.
Because this uses a four-year cycle, many more scripture passages are used. The gospels of Mark, Luke and John are used almost in their entirety. Because it is much longer, some of the passages in Matthew are omitted, but their counterparts in other gospels are used, thus ensuring that no significant story or teaching of Jesus is omitted. Further, there are more readings from the Epistles, Acts, and the Hebrew scriptures (especially as concerns Wisdom literature, Joshua, Judges, the Psalms, and the Minor Prophets) in this lectionary. Many passages cited below have not been a part of any previous lectionary, and I have especially tried to include controversial passages that have been previously ignored and more passages that feature the women of the Bible.
Finally, this lectionary can actually be used over an eight-year cycle. This would be done by using the alternate readings every other time through this lectionary. In the future I hope to add alternate readings for the Epistles after Trinity Sunday that will focus more extensively on Wisdom literature, with extended readings from Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Sirach and the Wisdom of Solomon. In this way, even more scripture will be read and heard during Christian worship. I, for one, think this is a good thing.
I have added brief descriptions to some of the texts below. If you would like to add some to those without, I would be most appreciative. Also, this is a rough draft, and I am very open to suggestions for improvements. Click on the link below for a copy of this lectionary in PDF form.