Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! I have no doubt that many of you have begun this new decade with resolutions for the new year. A part of any flourishing spiritual life is the daily reading of Holy Scripture. I'm told that among younger generations, very few are reading Scripture more than once a month. A general lack of biblical literacy means that the Church is neither able to speak nor think biblically. I ask you, how can we be Christians, how can we become holy and devoted to the service of the Lord when we do not know His Word? The Book of Common Prayer 2019 has presented us with a uniquely user-friendly and robust plan for the reading of Holy Scripture in the new Daily Office Lectionary, beginning on page 738. Each day, for morning and evening, we are given readings which, if followed, will make us fluent in Holy Scripture. Right now, we are reading from Genesis and the Gospel of John in Morning Prayer, and from Jeremiah and Galatians in Evening Prayer. This, to my mind, has several benefits:
- Firstly, Scripture is read, not from Genesis to Revelation, but in a broad way, covering the whole sweep of salvation history.
- Secondly, the readings are designed so that we finish the Old Testament once per year, the Epistles every 6 months, and the Gospels every 3 months.
- Thirdly, we are given a plan for reading the Psalms, either once per month or once every two months.
- Fourthly, all of this happens within the context of prayers, canticles, recitation of the creed, and personal intercessions and thanksgivings.
- Fifthly, that all of this is done in common. We can all be reading together!
We have an immense gift in this prayer book. I pray that, in your life, it would not be something you visit only on Sunday mornings in the pew, but a constant companion in your life of prayer.