As I contemplate the upcoming week’s sermon, I sometimes think to myself:
‘What were those crazy lectionary people thinking when they put this together???’
This week, in my opinion, is a prime example. Well, not THIS specific week, but this week every year. Easter 3.
The weeks during the Great 50 Days of Easter have a theme. Well, all of the lectionary has a theme; Jesus Christ. However these particular Sundays are sort of a set. The first Sunday after Easter (Easter 2) is called Thomas Sunday. That’s because regardless of the year, the Gospel text for the day is John 20:19-31. As an aside, I don’t think I’ve ever preached on Thomas sort of out of protest because, in doing so it is too easy to make the day about Thomas and not about Jesus and that is, as with all texts, what it’s about. Easter 3 is Meal Sunday because the Gospel text is about a post resurrection meal Jesus hosts somewhere or another. Easter 4 is Good Shepherd Sunday because all the Gospel texts are about Jesus as the good shepherd. Actually, I think this series is quite lovely and illustrates the purpose of the lectionary in the first place because over the course of the three years, it covers John 10:1-31 rather than using the same text each year.
But here is my problem. This week. It’s Meal Sunday and since the absolute most favorite part of what I get to do as a pastor is preside at The Meal, I love the whole idea of this week! However, I do not understand the selection of the texts. This is lectionary year A which means we focus on the Gospel of Matthew. However, our text is the Lucan ‘walk to Emmaus’ story (Luke 24:13-35). Well ok, it’s not Matthew but there is no post-resurrection meal scene in Matthew’s account so Luke is a just fine sub. Then there is year B which is the year of Mark. Once again, we look at another part of the Lucan story and that’s just fine because, once again, there is no Markan post resurrection meal.
When we arrive at the final year of the cycle, we have year C which is the year of Luke. Horray! We have a post resurrection meal scene in Luke! Surely, just as we do with Thomas and Good Shepherd Sundays, we’ll use the Lucan text, right? Makes sense doesn’t it? It does in my head. But no. We use the fish fry on the beach scene from John (21:1-19). Why? If there is anyone out there who has the answer, I’d love for you to share it with me!
Perhaps I’m just grumpy because we won’t have an Old Testament text again until Holy Trinity Sunday in June. That’s another Lectionary complaint I have! Why do we replace the OT lesson with a lesson from Acts during Easter? It reinforces the notion that there is no grace and gospel in the OT! But that is a rant for another day. For now, I will go write about how Jesus unfolded the whole of the Law and the Prophets for the two guys on the road, was made known in the breaking of the bread, and is now about the business of making all things new. Even the Lectionary. Even me.
“You have been born anew, not of perishable but of imperishable seed, through the living and enduring word of God.” 1 Peter 1:23