For the first few months of 2011, Bethlehem is using the "Narrative Lectionary" and focusing on the Gospel of John in our Sunday worship. For those familiar with the revised common lectionary that is used by many churches, you might wonder why we've chosen to use this new lectionary instead. The revised common lectionary has united the church in its reading of scripture for many years and has given much needed structure to our worship planning. However, it doesn't present scripture - especially the Old Testament - in a way that helps us to become "fluent in the first language of faith" because the texts are not presented in an order that enables us to see the arc of the Old Testament narrative.
The narrative lectionary is a new lectionary created by two Luther Seminary professors - Rolf Jacobson and Craig Koester - and it works through the story of God's people, from Abraham and Sarah through Acts. This new lectionary provides a plan for nine months of Bible texts so a number of congregations are using it from September through mid-June, the last Sunday of Easter.
Bethlehem is jumping in for the Book of John, and we are following John's telling of the story through Easter. Your pastors have given it prayerful consideration, and we believe that we as a congregation will grow through our focus on the story from John's perspective. We hope you'll hear the story in worship with us on Sundays and read it on your own at home, too. I have found it especially helpful to read the whole Gospel in one sitting, take a few notes, and then go back over smaller pieces as we move through these weeks of study. Blessings on your quiet time with God!
Pastor Kris T.M.