Early on, Christians began to divide the year into several seasons, each observing a different aspect of the life of Jesus. The year begins with Advent, which is followed by Christmastide, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, and a long stretch called “Ordinary Time.” Observing the seasons is a simple way to broaden our exposure to the full life and heart of Jesus, discovering ever deeper implications for our lives and our world.
Holidays & Observances
What’s the lectionary?
For centuries, churches have used lectionaries to guide the structure and content of their worship. In general terms, lectionaries provide pre-selected sets of Scripture readings for use at specific times. One of the most commonly used lectionaries for Western Christians is the Revised Common Lectionary (RCL), a three-year cycle of scriptures that's aligned with the traditional church calendar. It is applied more or less strictly depending on the denomination and local congregation’s styles. Throughout the year, the RCL offers four Scripture passages for each week: two from the Old Testament (always including a Psalm) and two from the New (always including a passage from one of the Gospels).
The Vanderbilt Divinity Library offers a very helpful online version of the Revised Common Lectionary, including a number of related resources.