16 May 2010

lectionary systems

It is difficult to read a new book on Liturgy (have you bought Burnham yet?) without coming across suggestions about the reintegration of the ancient Western cursus of Sunday Eucharistic readings as we find it in the EF and (with a dislocation or two) the BCP. Here is Hunwicke's view, arising out of many years of ORDO compiling.

Make the traddy cursus a fourth option - D to follow on from A, B, and C (it could be allowed additionally to be used optionally in place of any of the other three, just as those long Lenten Johannine Gospels in year A are permitted in other years too).

Practically, this would reduce the number of different combinations of the Sunday Three Year Cycle with the Weekday Two Year Cycle which we poor lectionary compilers have to juggle with. At the moment we have A1, B2, C1, A2, B1, C2 - six possibilities. Under my scheme we would only have four combinations: A1, B2, C1, D2. And, since, for example, Sunday Year A would always coincide with Weekday Year 1, it would make some fine tuning possible, to avoid duplications between the two systems or to open up some intertextualities, for those who still hunger for 'improvements'.

It is conceivable that clergy would come under pressure to favour the D cycle from lay people anxious to soak themselves in the Old Testament through their private Bible Study rather than through the public worship of the Church.

And if the old series of Sunday Collects were made optionally permissible, both forms of the Roman Rite would be able to feed each other.

All sorts of interesting pennies could drop as to why such a reading in the D cursus crops up at such a time of the year ... for example, why Luke 5 (the Gospel of Pentecost IV and Trinity V) comes near 'Petertide'.

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