Available now online is New Zealand’s Lectionary Te Maramataka 2016 PDF (1.54 MB – click link to download). [Note – page numbers of the printed booklet may differ from the online version referred to here.]
This is just a splash of comments from a quick first glance. There is much in a publication such as this that is good and is of value, helping connect to the world-wide church, and back through the traditions of the centuries, while grounding us in this place in the South Pacific, at this time. Those tend to mostly be when the lectionary booklet expresses what we have agreed together – including celebrations of days that are international and ecumenical, as well as of persons who have expressed God’s love and life on these shores. Other areas in the lectionary booklet can be improved upon.
In the 2015 lectionary booklet 6 December 2015 is called “2nd Sunday IN Advent”. This is obviously the traditional Anglican, BCP terminology, present in all our church formularies, including in all options provided in our NZ Prayer Book. But in this 2016 lectionary booklet, the same Sunday (6 December 2015) is now called “2nd Sunday OF Advent” (traditional Roman Catholic terminology).
Sunday January 10 is called “1st Sunday OF THE Epiphany”. I do not know where this title originates, but four Sundays reflect this titling. Our Prayer Book (a formulary of our church, which we sign up to) has options of referring to Sundays either as “The Xth Sunday after the Epiphany” or “The Yth Ordinary Sunday”. This lectionary booklet adds a variety of other options including this “of the Epiphany”.
As it as last year, the “3rd Sunday OF the Epiphany” is followed by the “4th Sunday AFTER the Epiphany” is followed by the “5th Sunday in Ordinary Time”. Furthermore, this 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time appears out of nowhere – there is no indication of the 1st to 4th Sundays in Ordinary Time.
Of course, if Statute 713 passes at General Synod Te Hinota Whanui (GSTHW), then 7 February will become, unique only to NZ, the First Sunday in Ordinary Time (rather than the “5th Sunday in Ordinary Time” held universally). That is the first Sunday after Presentation (Candlemas). According to Liturgical Precedence (see 2016 lectionary booklet page 129) “Ordinary time is the period after the feast of the Presentation“. I am still hoping GSTHW comes to its senses, does not vote to pass Statute 713, but instead sends Statute 713 together with Liturgical Precedence (updated 2014) to be simultaneously reworked to a consistent approach and that is not totally different to every other church on the planet.
Without explanation, there are “Proper” numbers for Sundays (eg. June 5 is “Proper 5”). These arrived last year without explanation. [They are TEC’s way of numbering Sundays. Canadian Anglicans also number by Propers, but end up with a different number still].
The liturgical colours, the lectionary booklet insists, “are not mandatory but reflect common practice in most parishes” (page 7). Often the lectionary booklet provide a variety of liturgical colours for a day (even to the extreme of Green, Red, White, or Violet for the same day!) This is the lectionary booklet admitting great confusion in the NZ Anglican Church. And reinforcing it.
On the other hand, the lectionary booklet uses language like “Note that White is the colour for the Sunday only, and not for the following week.” That certainly sounds prescriptive rather than descriptive to my ears!
Again, I would be interested to know where this lectionary booklet gets the ruling from: “The reading from Acts must be used each Sunday in Eastertide”. It may very well be a good idea – but where does “must” come from? We are only required to follow formularies of our church – not what is indicated by this lectionary booklet. This is an important principle. Where the lectionary booklet does not conform to the formularies, we must follow the formularies, not the lectionary booklet. Where the lectionary booklet sets requirements beyond what the formularies require, we do not need to follow the booklet.
Furthermore, as an aside, where does “Eastertide” come from in this lectionary booklet? Our formularies consistently call this “The Season of Easter”.
Sunday November 6 has: “Feast of Christ in All Creation may be celebrated today (or last Sunday).” But if you look back to that mentioned “last Sunday”, October 30, there is no mention of this feast.
Then on Sunday November 13 it says, “Feast of Christ in All Creation may be celebrated today or next Sunday” and this time it is referred to on that next Sunday, November 20. So the lectionary booklet has four Sundays on which you may celebrate the Feast of Christ in All Creation. There is no indication whether the “or” is an inclusive or an exclusive “or”. The lectionary booklet, hence, provides for the possibility of a community celebrating up to four Sundays as the Feast of Christ in All Creation – a feast for which there is no provision of readings (propers). With a blank for the readings, some would even visualise 4 minutes 33 seconds of silence at the point we normally have the readings.
All the issues of the Anglican Church of Or continue
November 20 can be:
Christ the King
or The Reign of Christ
or 34th Sunday in Ordinary Time
or Sunday before Advent
or Aotearoa Sunday
or Feast of Christ in All Creation
or, of course, A Spring Festival of Praise to the Creator (see page 129).
Are there any things you notice as you skim through the lectionary booklet for 2016 – things you like; things you think can be improved?