The Christian Year

The Christian Year provides a steady stream of biblical readings for worship planners to tell God’s story, and it invites worshipers to journey together through Jesus’ ministry.

Better known to mainline Christian denominations as the lectionary, the Christian Year calendar offers prescribed weekly scripture readings on which preaching themes, music and art for worship can be derived. The weekly set of scripture readings include Old Testament, Psalm/Wisdom, New Testament/Epistle, and Gospel passages.

The concept of following the Christian Year originated centuries ago. Depending on tradition, the actual lectionary used today can vary. The Revised Common Lectionary (RCL) is used by most mainline denominations. The Book of Common Prayer (BCP), from the Episcopal/Anglican tradition, is also widely used. The Liturgical Calendar for the Dioceses of the United States of America is followed by Roman Catholic Parishes. All of these lectionaries are very similar, and often include the same or similar scripture readings. There are also newer lectionaries such as the Narrative Lectionary and the African American Lectionary that are becoming more commonly used. The team provides weekly song & hymn suggestions based on the RCL.

Whether a faith community observes the Christian Year (in its entirety or seasonally only), there are many benefits to worshipers and leaders alike:

  • It encourages the reading of much of the bible, and many genres of scripture are used throughout the calendar
  • It provides a multitude of thematic and narrative material that can inspire engaging worship
  • Journeying through the Christian Year with thousands of other faith communities, we are connected with the world-wide body of Christ