Eugene Peterson notes that when we read scripture, “we find that we are not being led to see God in our stories but to see our stories in God’s. God is the larger context and plot.

This year, I’m using the Narrative Lectionary, put together in 2010 by the good folks at Luther Seminary in Philadelphia. I’ve been preaching regularly for nearly two decades now, which means I’ve been through the Revised Common Lectionary about six times. I haven’t always stuck to the assigned texts; I’ve taken a break here and there to do a series on a theme or a particular book. But primarily, I’ve let the Revised Common Lectionary carry me through the liturgical year.

Lectionary preaching is a good discipline. Left to my own devices, I’d probably preach on the same two or three stories every week—and never force myself to wrestle with some of those tough texts. I also like the fact that we are hearing the same passage that the Episcopalians around the corner or the Methodists, a couple doors down, are hearing. It’s a good reminder that we’re all in this together, that our roots are in the same story.

But I was not looking forward to diving back into the Revised Common Lectionary texts as we began a new calendar year. Nor was I eager to go off on my own and do something thematic. I always learn a lot when I do those extra-curricular series. But it’s a lot of work. We’ve got a lot going on at church this season, and the thought of creating a sermon series from scratch was a bit overwhelming.

Enter the Narrative Lectionary, which has been a breath of fresh air for me during 2018. I am excited to begin with the Gospel of John.

January 7Jesus Says Come and See
Baptism of Our Lord
John 1:35-51
Behold the Lamb of God, Call of disciples, "Come and See"
(Psalm 66:1-5)
January 14Wedding at Cana
Second Sunday after Epiphany
John 2:1-11
Wedding at Cana, water into wine.
(Psalm 104:14-16)
January 21Jesus Cleanses the Temple
Third Sunday after Epiphany
John 2:13-25
Jesus cleanses the temple, signifying the destruction and raising of his body.
(Psalm 127:1-2)
January 28Nicodemus
Fourth Sunday after Epiphany
John 3:1-21
John and Nicodemus, being born anew, God's love for the world.
(Psalm 139:13-18)