For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Lessons for Sundays after Epiphany

Further to this series of posts about the experimental lectionary, the completed scheme for lessons for the Sundays after Epiphany are now added to the Advent to Epiphany file, which can be found via the link at the bottom of the Sarum Office page of the blog.

There is a bit of work to do on the series of lessons from Septuagesima to Holy Week. It isn't quite ready. I should be able to put the final version on-line (well, the final version for this year... it is a work that invites revision and refinement as one uses it) in the next couple of weeks. Before Septuagesima, I hope.

The scheme for Septuagesima to the end of week of the Fifth Sunday of Lent, just before Passion Sunday, is fairly simple. Genesis through to the early chapter of Exodus take up most of the Matins lessons, except when there are Homilies for Matins, although these are less numerous in the Sarum rite than in the Roman, being confined mainly to the First Week of Lent and the Ember Days.

Deuteronomy is added to my scheme for the three weeks of Pre-Lent. The reinforcement of the Law, its repetition, the emphasis on the spirit of the Law and corporate repentance in Deuteronomy, after Israel's gigantic failure at the foot of Sinai, seems like a fitting theme for Lent.

Jeremiah begins on Passion Sunday in the traditional scheme: but there isn't enough space for the whole prophecy in Passion Week and the first few days of Holy Week. I have therefore included the remainder of the prophecy, as well as Baruch (which contains the writing of Jeremiah's scribe), running from Septuagesima right through until Passion Sunday. I think that this is justified, not just thematically on account of Jeremiah's calls to repentance and the impending destruction of the Temple (which is the symbol of Christ's flesh), but also because one also anticipates the use of Jeremiah in Passion Week. Anticipation, or ritually preparing for a thing before it has quite arrived, is almost a kind of liturgical law - one thinks immediately of the first Vespers of Sunday, of the Easter Vigil, of the season of Advent, in all of which the event or something about it is savoured and enacted before its full liturgical celebration in its proper place.

There are no New Testament lessons for Lent, or even Pre-Lent, in the experimental lectionary. This may seem like a major flaw. I think that it is mitigated by the daily Mass lectionary during Lent - Lent, unlike other seasons of the liturgical year, has distinct daily ferial Masses with their own lessons - and which obviously has a great deal of New Testament material. This assumes, however, that one would read the Epistle and Gospel every day as well as the lessons for the daily office. That is, in fact, how it is intended to "work".

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