Teach the Anglican Calendar – Part 2

After a few week interval during which I’ve been busy with editing a new book, I return to the theme of the necessity for teaching the Anglican calendar.  As far as I know those Anglicans who use the 1928 Book of Common Prayer, or the ” last real prayer book” as the late Peter Toon called it, are the only group staying with the one-year reading cycle.  The traditional one-year cycle incorporated into the 1549 Book of Common Prayer by Archbishop Cranmer has the virtue of keeping a congregation’s attention focused on the primary themes of the Gospels.

Christ-in Majesty-with Evangelists-Pericopes of Henry II-72dpi
Christ in Majesty in a mandorla surrounded by the traditional symbols of the four evangelists, miniature illumination in tempera and gold on parchment, Pericopes of Henry II, made in the Scriptorium, Reichenau Monastery, Reichenau, Germany, 1007-1012.  Clm 4452, Bayerische Landesbibliotek, Munich, Germany.  Creative Commons:  CC-by-SA 4.0 International.

I oppose the modern trend toward the three-year cycle because it  diffuses the teaching focus of the Church; and, unfortunately, encourages local clergy to wander off the traditional teaching path and into the grass and the trees along the way.  Even with the one-year cycle in place, clergy feel free to avoid the Gospel lesson and spend twenty, thirty or forty or more minutes on a favored Old Testament theme, or one sentence out of the appointed Epistle reading.

The fact is that people need to continued reminding concerning the Gospel lesson for the 52 Sundays each year.  Following the calendar’s appointed reading does not mean giving the same Homily (or Sermon in the American context) year after year.  No that such a thing does not happen, but it risks a scenario like my days in graduate school when the professor, each and every year, read the same material, including the same jokes built into the lesson plan, even to the extent of laughing at his own jokes, which he had not heard since the previous year.

The ways to avoid that particular problem are several.  The first is by focusing upon the context of the reading, including going either backward or forward from the appointed pericope.  The second is by focusing upon a central theme, or by connecting the Gospel reading backward into the Old Testament lesson for the day, including the Psalm reading, a technique which helps a congregation learn these important cross-connections.   The important point, no matter which approach is taken, is that teaching from the pulpit should reinforce the learning process set in place by Archbishop Cranmer, whose genius is not properly appreciated by today’s clergy.

One of the primary objectives of the Anglican Internet Church is to provide the faithful with access to traditional teaching in the form of Podcast Homilies, Bible Study Videos, Christian Education Videos on topical issues, and through the AIC Bookstore Publications.

As always, thank you for your interest and support.  May God bless you in all that you do in His Name!  Amen!  Glory be to God for all things! Amen!