The Daily Lectionary of the Anglican Church in North America is nearing its final form. It has gone through two extremely different editions in the past couple years, and has seen two or three version of its third incarnation this year. You can tell from the nature of its revisions that the committee and the bishops are getting very close to finalizing it.
If you’ve been reading along with it lately, you’ve been in the historical books for a while, currently in the middle of 2 Kings. There has been the occasional interruption from 1 & 2 Chronicles last month and this, there’s another one coming tomorrow, and several more over the next two weeks. Especially if you’re using a physical copy of the Bible (as opposed to reading the Office online) this might be something of a nuisance. But the reasons for this minor inconvenience are actually quite sound.
- Although the overlap between the books of Samuel and Kings and the books of Chronicles is enormous, there is unique material in each of them.
- The books of Samuel & Kings together cover more detail than the books of Chronicles, so they get the primary coverage.
- The books of Chronicles, therefore, have excerpts interspersed among Kings & Chronicles in order to fill the few gaps left.
There are two simpler alternatives to this plan:
- Skip 1 & 2 Chronicles entirely. This is what the original Prayer Book daily lectionaries did.
- Read 1 & 2 Chronicles all the way through. This brings the lectionary’s average reading length up, as there’s more to cover in the year.
So yes, although book-skipping like this can make the narrative a little tougher to follow, and the logistics of using your bookmarkers a little more complicated, this lectionary is following a sensible plan with good reason. If you’re the kind of person who wants a perfectly “completionist” daily lectionary, then the liturgical tradition is inevitably going to disappoint you a little bit. However, there’s nothing stopping you from “filling in the gaps”, as it were, on your own. Midday Prayer, for example, is an excellent daily opportunity to read from material that the daily lectionary omits.
If that’s something you’re interested in, be sure to check back in here next year, because once the daily lectionary is finalized and published I’m going to be working on a supplementary daily lectionary for Midday Prayer that inserts all the chapters from the Old Testament and Ecclesiastical Books that the daily lectionary leaves out. It’s already outlined, I just need to see the final edition before I can build around it. So if you’re a fan of the books of Chronicles, hang in there, I’ve got your back!