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New Zealand Lectionary 2021

You will find New Zealand’s Lectionary Te Maramataka 2021 PDF online (1.57 MB – click link to download).

This post is just a collection 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 resources that are good and of value 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.

In a document like a lectionary, the devil, of course, is in the detail. That detail will, for some, appear as nitpicking (gnatpicking?). Pleasingly, some errors noted on this site in previous years have been corrected.

On the publication of A New Zealand Prayer Book/He Karakia Mihinare o Aotearoa (ANZPB/HKMOA), much was made of the “A” – it is A New Zealand Prayer Book [the Te Reo Māori title of this Prayer Book emphasises the same – “He” not “Te”]. Anglicans were not arrogant enough to claim production of THE New Zealand Prayer Book. Year by year, however, the Lectionary calls it The New Zealand Prayer Book [Lectionary booklet page 2].

Page 2 twice speaks of “the revision of ANZPB/HKMOA”. This has arrived – I look forward to getting my own copy and writing about it on this site.

There are obviously different divisions of the Psalter – numbers vary for psalms as well as for verses. Page 3, this time, clarifies that “References to the Psalms are to the ANZPB/HKMOA Psalter”.

“Proper” numbers for Sundays have been in previous lectionaries without any explanation. This year, on page 7, they are explained:

Proper 7… is the numbering system of the Revised Common Lectionary.

In this year’s 2020 Lectionary booklet, the Proper’s numbers at this November time of year become completely confused and incoherent: Sunday October 25 was “Proper 25” and Sunday November 8 was also “Proper 25”. This coming Sunday, November 15 should be Proper 28 but in the 2020 Lectionary booklet, it is given as Proper 26. In the 2021 Lectionary booklet, the Proper numbering system is simply abandoned after October 24, 2021 (Proper 25).

There continue to be some other unclarities around “propers”. For example, on page 15, there are Propers I, II, and III (Roman numerals) followed immediately by Propers 1, 2, and 3 (Arabic numerals). And the instructions around their use contradict each other (eg. can “Proper II and the collect, Proper 2, be used for Midnight or only on ‘Christmas Day’?)

ANZPB/HKMOA‘s Calendar (ANZPB/HKMOA pages 14-23) has, without explanation, some celebrations in bold and some not [The Visitation is not bold on May 31, but bold on July 2].

In the 2021 Lectionary (p 2) there is an explanation of its bolding:

If the day is a feast or holy day that is indicated in bold type and by the date being given greater prominence. Other commemorations are indicated in ordinary type.

In this year’s (2020) Lectionary booklet, there appears to be a formatting problem so that the top of every page was made bold – giving the impression that certain celebrations had a higher “status”. That formatting issue has been corrected for the 2021 Lectionary booklet.

In the 2021 Lectionary, it is ANZPB/HKMOA‘s “ordinary type” Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth (May 31) that is given the full information, rather than the bolded July version. Furthermore, the 2021 Lectionary booklet incorrectly gives July 1 as the alternative date to celebrate The Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth.

Our church’s formulary (agreement) is that “Ordinary time is the period after the Feast of the Presentation of Christ” (February 2). Yet the first Sunday after The Presentation (February 7), rather than being called the “1st Sunday in Ordinary Time” (following our GSTHW ruling) is called the “5th Sunday in Ordinary Time”. [To be fair, see my point above, this is ‘Proper 1’]. There is no sign of the 4th or earlier Sundays in Ordinary Time. [My own solution to this would be to change the formulary, and have our Ordinary Time begin the day after the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord following majority Christianity and the originators of the Ordinary Time concept.].

Issues such as this arise because our church is attempting, rather than having our own thought-through consistent approach, to stitch together Church of England, Roman Catholic, Revised Common Lectionary, and other systems.

On page 44 begins readings for “the 3rd Week of Lent”. These readings are said to originate in “CWL” – there is no indication what CWL stands for or its status in our church or why there are not similar readings provided for the 1st and 2nd weeks of Lent.

As in previous years, 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” (pages 55ff). 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”.]

Each year, I have been noting our Anglican Church of Or suggestion to have all four colours in the lectionary for the Second Sunday in November (14 November). The colours in the lectionary booklet are not required to be followed – in fact, the lectionary booklet itself claims it is simply collating “common practice in most parishes” page 4.

DEL (please correct me if I am wrong) has no official status in our Church. I personally put the DEL alongside my commitment to the 3-year way of organising Sunday readings (the tradition in which RCL stands). But that’s just my own appreciation of the most-followed system for reading the Bible systematically. In the Anglican Church of Or, while there looks to be no indication that this is so, DEL has no authorised status in our church, whilst the 3-year Sunday system (including RCL) is a vowed-and-signed-up-to-use requirement.

The 3rd and 4th columns, similarly, have no official status in our Church.

And then there’s CW (Common Worship).

The situation with CW is fraught. While the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia has binding, formulary-level readings which we have agreed to use, on about 15 feast days the Lectionary booklet has the heading CW instead. It is certainly not the case that “On a few occasions where provision is not made in RCL or in ANZPB/HKMOA, material has been included from Common Worship” (p.2).

It is simply not true, to take the first occurence of CW, that “provision is not made in RCL or in ANZPB/HKMOA” for Mothering Sunday, March 14 (Lectionary p48). A full page of resources is provided for this, including a set of readings, in ANZPB/HKMOA page 690.

The next occurrence of CW is instructive. 19 March in the Lectionary is a bold-type St Joseph of Nazareth (page 49). In ANZPB/HKMOA is “ordinary type” (ie. NOT bold) on ANZPB/HKMOA page 16. There is no reference to St Joseph of Nazareth in the list of ANZPB/HKMOA page 8. Normally, in such a context, the lectionary would simply provide readings from the (non-binding New Zealand Anglican resource) For All the Saints (FAS). The 2021 Lectionary booklet does that, in this case, but adds the CW resources.

There is no allowance for “St Peter alone” (CW provisions 29 June, page 89). ANZPB/HKMOA commemorates “St Peter and St Paul” (bold in the physical ANZPB/HKMOA, not bold in the online ANZPB/HKMA).

Sunday, 18 July (Lectionary page 96) provides CW readings for “NATIONAL BIBLE SUNDAY”. Our agreed readings for that Sunday are those of the 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time. Using the CW readings seems to me to be a breach of our agreements? By all means, sing, pray, and preach about the Bible on 18 July, but if you cannot do that along with our three agreed Bible readings and Psalm, there seems to me something seriously lacking in the formation of your community and your leadership.

With RCL’s provision and two other sets of readings in ANZPB/HKMOA page 671 for All Saints’ Day, I don’ t know that there is justification to add CW’s into the Lectionary booklet on page 127. To be fair – the fewer presenting of CW in 2021 Lectionary booklet is a good improvement on the 15 or so unjustified uses in 2020.

Other issues of the Anglican Church of Or continue.
November 21 (Lectionary page 134) can be:
Christ the King Sunday
or The Reign of Christ Sunday
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 146).

The option of it being “Proper 29” has been dropped for 2021.

The Anglican Church of Or presents two completely different weeks of readings – pages 22-23 OR pages 24-25 [not even counting the options within those pages].

Are there any things you notice as you skim through the lectionary booklet for 2021 – things you like; things you think can be improved?

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