How many messages?
I taught Sunday school a few weeks ago. The truth is, the curriculum was at church, and I didn't want to drive downtown to get it, so I designed a lesson around the lectionary (I posted about it in early June).
The lesson had three purposes:
1. Learn about the lectionary -- what it is, how it is structured and why we use it.
2. Spend some time in Bible study with the lectionary readings for the week.
3. Learn and use some basic techniques for delving into a scripture passage.
I see reasons for all of those learning goals. I think if we are going to follow the lectionary, then we should understand what it is and why we use it. There are many advantages to preparing for worship each week by reading scripture and having a couple "go to" techniques for entering a scriptural experience is handy.
I say all of that in the light of an email I received after I taught the lesson. The person who wrote to me didn't agree with the value of the lesson. For this person, every lesson should relate to salvation and preachers should never be tied down to a lectionary reading.
On a related topic, I was in a training class a couple of months ago where we explored "Preaching from the Gospel of Mark." Mark is the lectionary gospel for this year. One of the class members was a pastor in the Conference. He did not see the value of lectionary because he only has one message -- salvation -- and if the lectionary reading doesn't support that, he choses one that does.
Is there only one message?