The Lectionary Problem

Presidential Address to the Leighton Club, Edinburgh, March 1969, by the Rev John A Lamb, Ph D, DD, Edinburgh, Hon President

How should the bible be read in public worship? The author outlines the practice of the Jewish Synagogue and early Christian services. St Augustine usefully mentions what the lections were in particular instances. A system of continuous readings was also in common use which became the regular monastic custom. The Book of Common Prayer and its derivatives have Tables of Lessons for Morning and Evening Prayer. The author lists developments of Lectionaries. Soon after the Reformation in Scotland the Sunday service was in two parts. The Reader’s service part involved substantial bible reading. When the Reader’s Service came to an end bible reading diminished. Through time things improved. The author moves to points that have arisen in recent times. The lessons in the Roman Missal have been reduced. The Joint Liturgical Group lectionary allows for an OT, Epistle and Gospel lesson as do some other new lectionaries. In The Church of Scotland few ministers use lectionaries. Lectionaries are to be encouraged since they allow congregations to end up hearing a larger proportion of the bible than may be the case if a minister is choosing the readings.

Volume 39 1969, p43
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