Revised Common Lectionary Resources

What Is the Lectionary?

A lectionary is a set of biblical readings assigned to the Sundays and feasts of the church year. The Revised Common Lectionary is a three-year lectionary that assigns three readings to these times—one each from the Old Testament, New Testament writings, and the Gospels. An ecumenical effort that builds upon Roman Catholic initiatives, the RCL is now used by many of the historic Protestant denominations on the North American continent and around the globe.

Two features mark this lectionary: the clarity of its liturgical year and its use of biblical forms for selecting texts. The latter feature is most striking:

  • In each of the RCL’s three years one of the synoptic gospels is used predominantly (Matt. for Year A; Mark for Year B; Luke for Year C).
  • In all years certain books are assigned to particular seasons (for example, Isaiah in Advent, Acts in Easter).
  • On the Sundays that fall outside of the seasons the New Testament epistles are read through semi-continuously.

A booklet by Gail Ramshaw entitled A Three-Year Banquet: The Lectionary for the Assembly (Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 2004) provides more detail. Though its liturgical examples are more Lutheran than Reformed, the book’s heart is a well-informed introduction to the Revised Common Lectionary.

For more information, see the appendix in Psalms for All Seasons.

The Daily Lectionary text can be used as devotions or planning worship.

(This is taken from a Reformed Worship article by Fritz West.)