The Daily Office Lectionary exists to get us through the majority of the Bible in a year, and the one in our 2019 Prayer Book is one of the best on that account. But it still has some gaps. That is why I created a Midday Prayer Lectionary, to “fill in the blanks” where the Daily Office has left something out. We’ll have a few of these entries scattered throughout the year to highlight a few of these opportunities.
Now that we’ve finished the book Wisdom which had been left off at the end of December, let’s move on to one of the Ecclesiastical Books that is completely omitted in the 2019 Daily Lectionary: Tobit. Tobit was one of the books read in full in the original daily lectionaries… possibly every Prayer Book lectionary until this one, I haven’t checked them all. At the very least it’s a shame that we’ve lost the truly excellent prophecy of the gospel in Tobit 14.
Unlike the story in the book of Judith, Tobit does not have any noteworthy historical anachronisms to challenge its setting and context. Where Judith has to be read purely as a morality tale, mixing together different stories of biblical heroes (heroines, specifically), Tobit is more readily understood as a story of some actual Israelite exiles. Their fidelity to the Law, and God’s provision of an angel to assist them, makes for an encouraging story for God’s faithful people in any age of exile and/or disillusionment.
So if you want to make your way through this book, pull up this Customary’s Supplemental Midday Prayer Lectionary and read along! We’ll get through all 14 chapters, with a one-day break on the 18th to celebrate the Confession of St. Peter.