What is a lectionary?

A lectionary is a set of scripture readings designated for worship on a given day or occasion.

What Sunday lectionaries are available?

In 1969 the Catholic Church, following the Second Vatican Council, produced a lectionary called Ordo Lectionum Missae. The Common Lectionary, assembled in 1983, was an ecumenical revision of the 1969 Catholic Lectionary.  It was the product of collaboration between the North American Consultation on Common Texts (CCT) and the International English Language Liturgical Consultation. It was publicly released as the Revised Common Lectionary (RCL) in 1994.

Where can I get a copy of the RCL?

Download the Revised Common Lectionary

Who uses the Revised Common Lectionary?

In the United States in 2016, the following denominations used the RCL, although it may not be mandatory:

Denomination Series used for the season after Pentecost

African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church either

American Baptist Churches USA unknown

Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) either

Christian Fellowship of the Unitarian Universalist Association unknown

Christian Reformed Church in North America unknown

Church of the Brethern complementary

Community of Christ complementary

Episcopal Church (alternative usage) either

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America either

Lutheran Church Missouri Synod complementary

Moravian Church in America complementary

Mennonite Church USA complementary

Presbyterian Church (USA) either

Reformed Church in America semi-continuous

Roman Catholic Church complementary

United Church of Christ either

United Methodist Church semi-continuous

Here is an explanation of the different series used in the season after Pentecost, excerpted from page 9 of the Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings:

Two sets (or series) of readings have been provided in the weeks during the season after Pentecost. [In] the semicontinuous series of Old Testament readings, with a related psalm, … biblical texts are read more or less continuously throughout this season. It should be noted that the readings in the semicontinuous series are not always in the order in which they appear in the Bible, but are chosen around related biblical themes or stories. They may be selected to enrich our knowledge of a biblical character, or they may provide other vignettes that help us to have a better understanding of the Sunday story. They are often selected in the same “neighborhood” of the Bible, but when dealing with broader topics, like the prophetic books, a selection might be chosen from a wider variety of biblical literature.

 

The complementary series provides readings that are linked more closely with the other Sunday readings. Again, not that some churches choose this option, in which the gospel focus is the basis for the selection of the other Sunday readings. Understanding this can help the user, if it is desired, to stay with the series that is used in their church's Sunday worship. However, there is no right or wrong way to use the contents and patterns of readings contained in this book.

In the chart above, either indicates that the denomination does not mandate which of the two series is to be used. Unknown indicates that we have not yet received a response to our question about which series is used. All of the queried denominations are listed as using the Revised Common Lectionary in the 2005 edition of the Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings or in the Wikipedia article on the Revised Common Lectionary.

Worldwide Listing of Denominations Using the RCL

Are there lectionaries for weekdays?

Yes. In 2005, the group that developed the Revised Common Lectionary proposed a set of daily readings. That lectionary is the one used here. It is intended for use by individuals for personal devotion and meditation. It is designed to “illuminate the significance of the Sunday readings, to encourage a well-rounded reading of scripture over the span of the church year, and to provide a foundation for prayer.” What is most useful is that the readings were chosen “to enrich our knowledge of scripture with the same story told by other witnesses (through the use of other gospel accounts), by allusions to similar imagery in various parts of the Bible (for example, by references to anointing in many times and places), or by the choice of other so-called typological selections that attempt to open up scripture in a broad way.” Click here for a brief overview of the of the Revised Common Lectionary daily readings. Click here for a longer overview.

Here are links to daily lectionaries used by specific denominations:

  • Click here for the Catholic daily lectionary (on the upper right hand corner of the page).

  • Click here for the Episcopal daily lectionary.

  • Click here for the Presbytarian Church (USA) daily lectionary.

  • Click here for the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod daily lectionary.

  • Click here for the Moravian daily texts (on the right side of the page).

A single verse for each day, read at community prayer in Taizé. Click on prayer on the left side of the page: Bible readings for each day

Here are links to daily readings longer than a single verse from other sources: