Thought for the Week: 29th November 2020

Our thought this Sunday is written by Steve Langton.

Happy New Year!

Happy new year!  This Sunday is the start of Advent and therefore marks the start of the new liturgical year.  Things like liturgical seasons have never had a great impact on me in the past, but preparing these thoughts on a regular basis, and leading services at Leavening more frequently, means that I have paid a lot more attention to the readings set for each Sunday since the start of covid.

The lectionary which sets out our Sunday readings is used by many of the major denominations.  It has three years, one concentrating on Matthew’s gospel, one on Mark and one on Luke, with readings from John thrown in along the way, particularly at Easter.  We have just finished the Matthew year and will be starting on Mark.

One of the great advantages of the lectionary is that it ensures that we take a reasonably balanced view of scripture, reading widely from within the bible, rather than concentrating on our favourite passages.  The Anglican Church generally sticks quite closely to the set readings, but Methodist preachers are less inclined to do so, which can cause problems – we once had three talks on the parable of the Good Samaritan in the space of a month!

I don’t know about you, but I tend to struggle to read my bible in a systematic way.  I sometimes make the effort to study one book for a bit, but things get in the way and I get diverted from it.  So my weekly examination of the lectionary readings over the last few months has provided some much-needed discipline, enabling me to get some of the many benefits that come from studying God’s word in a systematic way.

So if you also struggle with reading the bible, why not take a look at the lectionary each week?  Those of you living in West Buckrose will find the readings in the parish magazine, or those with computers will be able to find it via Google on various websites.  The Methodist one has links to all the passages and suggested hymns - search for singing the faith plus to find it.

The disadvantage of talking about the lectionary this week is that I haven’t had time to discuss any of the week’s passages.  So your homework for the week is to take a look at one or more of the following: Mark 13:24-37, 1 Corinthians 1: 3-9, Psalm 80: 1-7, 17-19, or Isaiah 64: 1-9.

Almighty God, we thank you for your Word to us, for its stories, its histories, its poetry and its prophesies.  Most of all we thank you for the life of Jesus that we read about in the gospels and for the message of love, forgiveness and grace.  Help us to study your word so that we may grow in faith and knowledge of You. Amen.