Christopher Michael Jones is pastor of First Baptist Church of Hillside, New Jersey. He’s used the African American Lectionary—which I wrote about for the Century—in worship, though he doesn’t use it every week. Jones has also contributed to the AAL’s resources. I asked him a few questions about his experience.
The RCL and its alternatives
In my article on alternatives to the Revised Common Lectionary, I praised the African American Lectionary's extensive resources, but I didn't really describe them in any detail. There is a wealth of good stuff on the AAL website. The AAL is based on weekly themes, many of which do not correspond to the liturgical calendar the RCL follows. This Sunday is Caregivers Day, one of several new AAL observances this year.
Of the four projects I focused on in my article on alternate lectionaries, Eric Lemonholm's Open Source Lectionary arguably got the least attention—the fewest words, the fourth slot of four. But that's not because I found it to be the least interesting or significant.
Daniel Mayes is a Disciples of Christ pastor. He did his D.Min. at the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary, where Timothy Slemmons—creator of the Year D project, which I wrote about for the Century—was one of his advisors. Mayes’s church, First Christian Church of Spencer, Iowa, has been using Year D in worship throughout the current liturgical year. I asked him a few questions about how it’s gone.
Eugene Peterson notes that when we read scripture, "we find that we are not being led to see God in our stories but to see our stories in God's. God is the larger context and plot.” This fall, I'm using the the Narrative Lectionary, put together in 2010 by the good folks at Luther Seminary and Working Preacher.
The Century just published a longer piece of mine on lectionaries, which traces some of the Revised Common Lectionary's history but focuses mostly on recent alternatives to the RCL. The article draws from interviews with the people behind these lectionary projects, and I had hoped to also include feedback from pastors and other worship leaders who have actually tried them. But my draft crossed the 5,000-word mark before I even got to the latter, so I let it go. I will, however, post some such view-from-the-ministry-trenches items over the next week or so.
An annotated list of lectionaries and lectionary supplements and proposals.
The RCL includes a few "optional" readings, to be subbed in as needed. Of course, it's all optional.