A new Church Year brings a new lectionary resource for progressive christians. This coming Sunday, the church begins a new year. Which for preachers and those who partake of our sermons means the beginning of lectionary readings for “Year A”. For those of you who have been spared the need to know, many of the so-call “mainline” churches follow a three year cycle of readings call the Revised Common Lectionary which include four prescribed readings for each Sunday. During “Year B” the gospel readings are largely drawn from the Gospel According to Matthew.
Theology From Exile is written by Sea Raven, D.Min., an Associate of the Westar Institute (that’s right the home of the Jesus Seminar). In the Introduction Raven declares, “This project is grounded in the paradigm-shifting biblical scholarship of Karen Armstrong, Marcus J. Borg, John Dominic Crossan, Robert Funk, and Amy-Jill Levine, as well as the transformative work of Rev. Dr. Matthew Fox, whose theology of Creation Spirituality has reclaimed Catholic mysticism for post-modern cosmology.” Yippie!!! Yippie only begins to capture my delight at having found this resource!!! In addition to providing a lectionary commentary Raven puts her considerable skills as a worship leader and planner to good use by providing suggestions for liturgical innovations. I only wish I’d discovered Raven’s excellent work last year’s Volume I – The Year of Luke.
For colleagues who have the daunting task of preaching in this the 21st century this resource is a must. For those who listen to sermons, you will find Raven’s work to be an excellent resource for Bible Study!!! Raven in her introduction accurately accesses the current conundrum of christianity which she hopes this provocative series will address: “The continued existence of a Christian “faith” as a religious system of belief is clearly under siege by twenty-first century Biblical scholarship as well as the continuing evolution of scientific knowledge. The question addressed by this series of commentaries is whether and how ancestral scriptures remain relevant and revelatory to twenty-first century cosmology.” Amen! Amen! Amen!