Since last month, after an encounter with some Presbyterian liturgical devotional practices at a training event, I've found myself curiously drawn to a widespread Christian practice: reading the Daily Common Lectionary. For those not familiar with it, the Revised Common Lectionary is a cycle of Scripture readings for personal devotion (it includes a morning and evening psalm, an Old Testament passage, a New Testament epistle selection, and a gospel reading). It's a bit of a workout, admittedly, but well worth it. The lectionary is developed and used by many mainline denominations, including my own, but it tends not to get much reading in more evangelical circles. What I like about it is that it exposes me regularly to a much broader selection of the Bible than I would tend to read on my own--and, better yet, it allows me to share the readings with a wide, though invisible, circle of Christians, not just in the United States, but around the world. With this new discipline, I'm experiencing a freshness in reading the Bible and I awake more eager each morning to see what spiritual food God has in store for me. As the day unfolds, it's amazing to watch how individual passages end up speaking to the practical realities I experience--it's uncanny, really.
Granted, this is only a season of reading I'm in, and this is only one tool among many I can reach for devotionally; however, I'm finding that it draws me out beyond the narrow confines of my personality, presses me to move outside my pet themes and passages, and reminds me of the grand sweep of God's activity historically. I'm really enjoying it and for those who'd like to give it a try, may I suggest you go to http://www.crivoice.org/advent1.html. There you'll see what I'm reading and you might try it yourself. And, if you're comfortable, please circle back to give me your take on the practice. Happy reading!