One Year Switch

Many pastors are considering switching to the Historic One Year series, and Advent 1 is probably the most common time to make the switch. If you are a pastor about to switch, good for you. The stated reason of the three year series, to increase biblical literacy, has been an abject failure. The historic lectionary has a track record of success – it sustained the church for over a thousand years – as well as being far more ecumenical – in use by Lutheran, Roman Catholic, Episcopal, and others until the 20th century. There is no universal three-year series. They are all unique to a certain theological outlook.

The challenge that pastors find when making the switch is the multiple readings. Oh, not in the historic one year. But the LSB version is only mostly-historic. There are quirks. Throughout the year, the Epistle readings have two options. And it isn’t always obvious which of them is historic. (For the Gospel readings, the first one listed is always historic.)

The real shame of the options-approach to printing the lectionary, is that on a couple of occasions (Epiphany and Trinity) the historic one-year Epistle readings are actually lectio-continua (one of the supposed selling points of the 3 year series).

Oddly, I don’t remember ever hearing that in my seminary days. I don’t remember ever reading it in my early years as a pastor. And when LSB was released, I just went with the first reading in every case. Which is sometimes the historic reading, and sometimes not. What is absolutely ruined with this approach is the lectio-continua. Because in the two or three cases where it occurs, this is where the editors of the lectionary for LSB tinkered.

Below are some pics I snapped from The Lutheran Liturgy. (TLH is copyrighted, and I didn’t want to get in trouble. TLL – the pastor’s book for TLH – is in the public domain.) So, if you are working your way through the church year and aren’t sure which reading is historic, you can check it out here.

One more thing: You’ll notice there are no OT readings. Those aren’t a part of the historic lectionary anyway, so if there are two options, pick whichever one you prefer.

I hope this helps, if you’re moving to the one-year series. I’ve been doing it for over 20 years, and it’s been a great help in teaching the faith.


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2 Responses to One Year Switch

  1. Carl Vehse says:

    It is noted that with the three-year lectionary, based on the Lutheran Service Book Three-year Lectionary: Series A the Gospel reading for the 26th Sunday after Trinity is Matt. 23:1-12.

    Now if there is angst in reading Matt. 23:1-12, not to worry. While Series A is scheduled for 2019-2020, there are only 24 Sundays after Trinity, so Matt. 23 would not have to be read. In fact the last time there was a Series A year with at least 26 Sundays after Trinity was in 2005, and there won’t be another Series A year with 26 Sundays after Trinity until 2029.

  2. Whydo they choose the one year over the three year?

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