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  • Julie Canlis

Why the Lectionary?

Why the Lectionary?

What is the lectionary? Why are we doing it? What's going on here?

Every Saturday night, the race is on: different chefs are all given the exact same ingredients and given identical tools. Some weeks it is octopus, pomegranate, butternut squash, and arugula - other weeks it is persimmon, parsnip, pheasant, and poppyseeds. What incredible creations will they invent? What cultural lens will align their imagination: French sauces? Iranian spices? Ethiopian techniques? What is always shocking is how radically different, innovative, and tasty these banquets are for those who are privileged enough to sample them. 

You think I am talking about America’s Great Chef competition.

I’m not. I’m talking about church on a Sunday morning.

The lectionary is the church’s attempt to make sure you are having a banquet every week. The lectionary is not one step “down” from going through a single book of the Bible. The lectionary is the church’s attempt to deepen the interpretive process, so that you aren’t just stuck with your pastor’s interpretation (ha ha - love you Carson & Matt! You guys are doing great!). The lectionary places a New Testament passage with an often surprising Old Testament passage, and then again, with a Psalm. They give every pastor - all over the world - the identical ingredients, and summon that pastor to produce a banquet for their church, given their unique historical context, their unique congregation, and the pastor’s own unique DNA. 

And the lectionary is as old as the New Testament itself. The gospel writers were already combining surprising passages from their Jewish Scriptures with Jesus’ sayings. (They were doing it because they were raised already reading different portions of Scripture on rotation week after week in the synagogue.) They were saying, “you can’t treat Jesus’ life as bare facts” - it needs interpretation, and you won’t get it without knowing Jewish Scriptures, history, and hopes. In fact, a Jesus composed of mere facts disintegrates before our eyes. We can’t pull Jesus apart from the New Testament interpretation to get to the “real Jesus.” To analyze means literally “to dissolve.”


Not even the gospel writers, who had Jesus in the flesh in front of them (talk about a multiplicity of facts!), were equipped to “interpret” Jesus on their own. They failed. Every single one. Their “accounts” of Jesus are not biographies, but interpretations from finally understanding Jesus in the light of the resurrection. Only then did they begin to interpret correctly. And we are given their interpretations. And then the church deepens our interpretative process by giving us other Scriptures to play them off of, so that their deepest meaning can be plumbed. 


We need the help of the Old Testament, the gospel writers, and of the church itself which has kept holding before us the Jesus of faith. And this is what the lectionary helps us do week after week. What you are hearing on a given Sunday is not just what other churches around the world are hearing, but what Christians 1000+ years ago were hearing - Christians who didn’t own a Bible, and relied on this cycling through Scripture to give them the big picture, the story of salvation, year after year after year.


Chris Green, who spoke here last Advent, provocatively says that “Scripture Only Makes Sense on Sundays.” What he is saying is that our “summons” is not to understand Scripture simply on our own, but within a community that is actively attempting to live out and test Scripture in the enormity of its 2000 years of experience. This is the theological lesson of Jesus’ walk to Emmaus - when the Scriptures are only opened in the context of the Eucharist. We are summoned to the text - YES - but around a table, with others who are summoned.


So when we say “Scripture Only Makes Sense on Sundays.” I hope you press into the point I am making, which is that without not only this community of Trinity Church - but the community of the worldwide church - and its momentum of reading through 2000+ years - your reading will be impoverished. It might be bare facts. 




SAFE Families Coffee & Learn

This Sunday After Second Service

Come join Nicole Hunter & Don Murphy after second service to learn how you can participate in SAFE FAMILIES, Trinity’s new parish ministry.  This ministry empowers us to come alongside at-risk families who are in crisis and do not have a support network. Our goal is to empower them to stabilize their situation, keep children safe and help families stay together.

This ministry gives room for God to call each of us to various roles. For example, taking a meal to someone, providing transportation to a job interview, going to coffee with them to discuss how their plans are going, shoveling their snow, etc. 

Let’s go face to face in 2024!


Evensong, Youth, and George MacDonald

Evensong - 6pm

Join our Evensong choir for an evening of sung prayer, songs, and reflection.

Youth Discipleship Groups - 6:30pm

After Evensong, the youth of the church (all students from 7th-12th grades) are invited to remain at the church for a night of games, pizza, questions and responses with Pastor Matt, and discipleship groups.

George MacDonald Book Club - 6:45pm

HAPPY BIRTHDAY GEORGE MACDONALD! - first (of four) parties this coming Sunday!

Our first George MacDonald gathering is Sunday around 6:45pm-ish at the Canlis house. Please consider coming to Evensong (6-6:25pm) first, and then we can all caravan together to our home: 3385 Number 1 Canyon Road (just keep coming up 5th street to the very top - watch for deer! go slow!). Probably best is to park in the cul-de-sac and walk (in snow boots) up our driveway. 

What to expect? Tea, shortbread, and a "wee drappie" for those interested

Do you need to have finished the book? Don't tell ANYONE but I'm giving YOU a special dispensation to come, even if you haven't finished. Ha! 

Can kids come? I'd say teens can come who have read the book, and want to contribute. We'd love any up and coming literary buffs!

Come with, in Matt's terminology...

- an underline (i.e. some of your fave quotes/concepts)

- a "squiggle" (rumor has it that Matt accidentally called this, in one exciting sermon, a "kegel"). Nevertheless, we will keep it to squiggles in this gathering, which means to "squiggly underline" parts that were difficult, challenging, caused questions or wonder.

I am so looking forward to this! Julie


Jon Guerra

February 25 @ 6pm

We are hosting an evening of music and storytelling with Singer-Songwriter Jon Guerra on February 25th at 6pm, here at Trinity Church!  If you're new to Jon's music, check out his Spotify playlist here. On February 25th, he'll play songs from his last two albums, "Ordinary Ways" and "Keeper of Days."

February 25 Concert

6:00pm -   Evensong choir

6:15pm -   Carson Leith

6:30pm -  JON GUERRA

7:30pm -   optional Q&A with Jon (all welcome)


Ash Wednesday

February 14 @ 7am/7pm

Lent begins February 14th, with two Ash Wednesday services. We are offering a small, simple morning service at 7am, and our regular night service at 7pm.


Bulletin Board

If you have a personal need (like a job, or housing, etc.), an event you’d like to promote, or something you’d like our church body to be aware of, you can email for us to review before posting.


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