Day 3 #formationFOUNDATIONS | Get to Know the Lectionary


Today's the third day of our #formationFOUNDATIONS series. In case you're new here, you can read more about this series or start from the beginning at Our goal for this series is to help you...

    • LEARN about different spiritual practices that you can adopt for your own walk. You will learn how to make the most of your Sacred Ordinary Days planner or the FREE Essentials Workbook you got when you joined our newsletter list, which has all the most essential pages from the planner that we don't want anyone to miss out on.

    • PRACTICE these things on a daily, weekly, and seasonal basis. You will be able to lay (or bolster up) a strong spiritual formation foundation by clearing the space for your new spiritual practices to deepen.

    • SHARE your experience with people who speak the same language. You'll get to know the other members of our community, who are some of the wisest, most interesting, super fun, and most real people I know by following along on Instagram or Facebook or inside Common House, our ecumenical online community.



DAY 3 | Get to Know the Lectionary


We've found that following the structure of the lectionary readings provides a framework for grounding oneself in the liturgical year, but it can all be a bit confusing. We're going to do our best to give you a better understanding of this system.

A lectionary is a selection of different Biblical passages that have been arranged together and are used to guide churches across the world through the Christian scriptures in corporate worship. There are different lectionaries to draw from, depending on your denomination, country, and the preference of your church. For Sacred Ordinary Days, we've drawn from the Revised Common Lectionary (RCL) in attempt to choose the most widely used set of texts.

So what does Revised Common Lectionary mean? The RCL is a three year cycle, comprised of year A, year B, and year C. Each week has a collection of scriptures, typically four passages per week. It takes the church through much of the Bible. Special weeks with feast days might have additional sets of readings. For most of the year, the four lections, or texts, include a reading from the Old Testament, a Psalm, a reading from the New Testament (from one of the epistles or Revelation), and a Gospel reading. The cool thing about this system is that the focus is generally on the gospel passage and the other three lections relate thematically to the gospel passage.

The RCL follows the church calendar so that the flow and missional purpose of the season is reflected in the scripture texts selected for each Sunday. The readings relate to each other week to week, diving deeper into the liturgical season. 

Many churches who use the lectionary to order and guide their worship will choose songs and art influenced by or derived from the scripture passages, in addition to the readings and sermon.

Unlink many other lectionaries, which are primarily used for ordering worship, the Revised Common Lectionary was expanded beyond the weekly cycle of readings to include Daily Readings for personal devotional use throughout the week. The readings for Monday through Wednesday connect to the lectionary readings from the previous Sunday, while the readings for Thursday through Saturday prepare you for the coming Sunday’s lectionary readings.

You’ll notice some readings repeat from day to day. These aren’t typos. We recommend using the practice of lectio divina, moving more deeply into them with each successive reading. Lectio divina is an ancient practice of reading Scripture passages slowly and prayerfully, noticing how different words and phrases catch your attention and then become opportunities for prayer.

In the season after Pentecost, churches are given two options for the first reading of the weekly lectionary—a semicontinuous path, which follows major stories and themes, or a complementary path, which pairs the first reading with the gospel text. Our planner follows the semicontinuous strand of readings.

In the Sacred Ordinary Days planner, you can find the weekly lectionary passage on the Sabbath page at the beginning of each week. Some people will simply reflect on the lectionary passages each day that week, while others will read the Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals, which we'll talk about more tomorrow. Our goal for this planner was to compile multiple resources into one central place so that you can utilize them more efficiently. 

Go further:

These websites might interest you if you have additional questions about the history and application of the RCL:


Now it's your turn.

Head over to Instagram or Facebook and share your introduction post using #formationfoundations and tag us @sacredordinarydays, please! Or, join the conversation inside Common House, our ecumenical online community.

  • Does your church follow the lectionary?
  • What are your favorite Lectionary resources?
  • What lectionary do you wish the SOD planner followed? Suggestions? Requests?

Psst...tomorrow we'll be introducing the Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals. We'll always share the latest blog post in the series at when it's live. So, check there each day for the latest! 

If you'd like to use the planner alongside us, you can order one today or get August for $4. You might even already have a planner, either the new Academic year or the previous Liturgical year. If not, today's the day to order yours since they just started on August 1st!