As well as being the 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time or Proper 11, in the Anglican Church of Or this can also be “National Bible Sunday”. For this, the NZ Lectionary booklet provides mother Church of England’s Common Worship (CW) readings for an optional English October Sunday. Common Worship has no status in our Church and, hence, cannot be used to replace our agreed readings for this Sunday (the Lectionary booklet printing these here, notwithstanding). The NZ Anglican Lectionary booklet has been printing these Church of England’s readings since 1998, plenty of time to have come to a NZ agreement on readings for a Bible Sunday if we actually think we need them. [On occasion, the NZ Lectionary booklet has even incorrectly claimed that the Bible Sunday provisions are RCL provisions!]
I will be quite clear about my position: I am against themed Sundays replacing our agreed Revised Common Lectionary (RCL) sequence. Celebrate “National Bible Sunday” by all means. Preach and teach about it, sing hymns and songs about it, give out free Bibles, pray about it, etc., BUT if you cannot do that alongside the three Bible readings and the Psalm provided by our agreed, set RCL, then you should not be leading a Christian community.
I would put money on it that, on average, those churches celebrating “Bible Sunday” this coming Sunday are reading and proclaiming less scripture than that provided by RCL.
Since we are on the topic of valuing the Bible, also long overdue is the restoration of Cranmer’s gem collect, abandoned in A New Zealand Prayer Book He Karakia Mihinare o Aotearoa:
God of inspiration,Book of Prayers in Common Bosco Peters
you caused all holy scriptures to be written for our instruction,
grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them,
that by steadfastness and by the encouragement of your holy Word,
we may embrace and ever hold fast to the blessed hope of everlasting life,
which you have given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ,
who is alive with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God now and for ever.
Finally, the Lectionary booklet suggested collect should encourage a careful review:
God of all wisdom;
yeast, mustard and weeds
with such as these Christ taught your ways….
OK, we can leave to one side my own commitment to the Oxford Comma (“…yeast, mustard, and weeds…”). But, surely there needs to be at least a comma (if not a semicolon) after “weeds”? Secondly, the latest English translations of the Vatican’s Roman Rite have come in for a lot of criticism. Let’s not find ourselves in that position. Many people are going to read, “God of all wisdom, yeast, mustard, and weeds…” Especially those communities that have the whole community read the collect together (a practice I think that misses the whole grammar and dynamic of the collect) will end up making little to no sense of this suggested collect as they attempt to read it together sight unseen.