My reason for the return is very straightforward: the 1979 lectionary was developed for use with the Eucharistic Rite of the new Prayer Book; the new Episcopal edition of the Revised Common Lectionary was not—and it shows in many ways. The 1979 lectionary is not perfect by any means, but it was shaped by and for Episcopal Church worship. We have the opportunity to use it and I think we should.
The apostles gathered around Jesus, and told him all that they had done and taught. He said to them, "Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while." For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. And they went away in the boat to a deserted place by themselves. Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they hurried there on foot from all the towns and arrived ahead of them. As he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things. [here the lection omits v. 35-52]
When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret and moored the boat. When they got out of the boat, people at once recognized him, and rushed about that whole region and began to bring the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was. And wherever he went, into villages or cities or farms, they laid the sick in the marketplaces, and begged him that they might touch even the fringe of his cloak; and all who touched it were healed.
The apostles gathered around Jesus, and told him all that they had done and taught. He said to them, "Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while." For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. And they went away in the boat to a deserted place by themselves. Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they hurried there on foot from all the towns and arrived ahead of them. As he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things. When it grew late, his disciples came to him and said, "This is a deserted place, and the hour is now very late; send them away so that they may go into the surrounding country and villages and buy something for themselves to eat." But he answered them, "You give them something to eat." They said to him, "Are we to go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread, and give it to them to eat?" And he said to them, "How many loaves have you? Go and see." When they had found out, they said, "Five, and two fish." Then he ordered them to get all the people to sit down in groups on the green grass. So they sat down in groups of hundreds and of fifties. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before the people; and he divided the two fish among them all. And all ate and were filled; and they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish. Those who had eaten the loaves numbered five thousand men.
In the wake of the 77th General Convention of the Episcopal Church two opinion pieces in major papers have generated a lot of good writing about our life together as a church. Not having any major drama to report (the approval of a provisional liturgy for the blessing of a same-sex relationship was largely expected), The Wall Street Journal and the New York Times ran opinion pieces that take issue with the Episcopal Church for being what it is: a largely progressive, "main line" denomination whose adherents are diminishing in number.
Here's the chronology of what you've missed in the last week or so. (You have a lot of reading to do).
Thursday 12 July
“What ails the Episcopalians”, Jay Akasie, Wall Street Journal
Friday 13 July
“Wrong on Every Count”, Arizona Bishop, the aptly named blog of the Bishop of Arizona, Kirk Smith.
“What ails the Wall Street Journal: Error-laden opinion on Episcopalians”, Seven Whole Days, the blog of the Rev. Scott Gunn, director of Forward Movement. Seven Whole Days is perhaps my newest favorite EpiscoBlog.
Saturday 14 July
“Can Liberal Christianity be Saved?”, Ross Douthat, New York Times, an opinion piece that opens by invoking the name of John Shelby Spong, accompanied by a photo of the Choir of Men & Girls at the National Cathedral.
Sunday 15 July
"Can Christianity Be Saved? A Response to Ross Douthat", Diana Butler Bass, Huffington Post
Monday 16 July
"Once more dear friends", a good summary of the many rebuttals to Douthat from Episcopal Café. Note that Jon Meacham is awesome. Also the Rev. Winnie Varghese was the voting secretary in the House of Deputies.
Tuesday 17 July
"Saving Christianity" James Kowalski, Dean of the Cathedral St. John the Divine, Huffington Post
Wednesday 18 July
"Episcopal churches: Short on politics, sexuality debates and long on Jesus", The Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, newly elected president of the House of Deputies of the Episcopal Church, Huffington Post
I'm sure there will be much more to come.
Update: Thursday 19 July
"Episcopal Church is Radically Faithful to Its Tradition", The Rt. Rev. Stacy Sauls, Chief Operating Officer of the Episcopal Church, letter to the Wall Street Journal
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