UPDATE: I’ve created an experimental, two-year version of the ACNA Daily Office Lectionary. Click here to access it.
I recently wrote a Rookie Anglican guide to the Daily Office Lectionary. This was partially prompted by a reader’s request for such an article.
However, another reason the Daily Office Lectionary has been on my mind is that the Anglican Church in North America [ACNA] recently released (January 09, 2018) a substantial update to its Daily Office Lectionary.
What’s New in the ACNA’s New Daily Office Lectionary?
The biggest change is that the lectionary is now based on the civil calendar instead of the liturgical calendar.
At first, this struck me as rather odd. However, it is an attempt to return to Cranmer’s original vision of going through the books of the Bible in sequence in one calendar year.
As the ACNA puts it:
The principle adopted at the Reformation was that “the whole of Holy Scripture (or the greatest part thereof)” should be read each year. This cycle of lessons is based on that principle.
The new lectionary works its way through books of the Bible sequentially, with no “breaks” from the sequence on Sundays like before.
This is kind of an extrapolation from the first point. The new lectionary no longer has special thematic readings on Sundays. Instead, the sequence of readings continues straight through.
What’s Stayed the Same?
Despite the changes, certain things have stayed the same. The monthly cycle of Psalms is the exact same as before. Additionally, you still work your way through almost all of Scripture in a single year. In fact, you read certain portions of Scripture (the Gospels, Acts, and the Epistles) twice!
Here’s How the ACNA Describes the New Lectionary
Here are quotes from the ACNA’s official Daily Office Lectionary document. (You can access all ACNA liturgies here.)
- The first lesson is always taken from the Old Testament or the Apocrypha.
- The Old Testament is read in its entirety once each year (except for a few passages in Numbers, Leviticus, and Judges, and the majority of Chronicles). These readings may be shortened if necessary, as long as the plain sense is not lost.
- The Gospels and Acts are read at Morning Prayer during the first part of the year, at Evening Prayer during the second part of the year, and are read through in their entirety twice each year.
- The Epistles are likewise read twice each year, except for the Revelation of Saint John, which is read only once, during the Advent season.
- Although less of the Apocrypha has been included than in the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, select passages have been retained, in keeping with the classic Anglican principle that “the Church doth read [these books] for example of life and instruction of manners; but yet doth it not apply them to establish any doctrine” (Article VI of the Thirty-Nine Articles).
(Formatting changed slightly. I put it in bullet points for easier reading.)
Keep in Mind the Following Instructions (Again, from the ACNA)
Again, here are quotes from the ACNA’s official Daily Office Lectionary document.
- If the year is not a leap-year, the lessons appointed for February 29 are to be combined with the lessons read on March 1.
- If Morning Prayer is the principal liturgy on a Sunday, the psalms and lessons appointed for the day should be replaced with the psalm and two of the lessons from the Sunday, Holy Day and Commemorations Lectionary.
- On Ash Wednesday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, Easter Day, Ascension Day, and Pentecost, lessons from the Sunday, Holy Day and Commemorations Lectionary are most appropriate.
- On other holy days, the psalm and lessons from the Sunday, Holy Day and Commemorations Lectionary may be used, if those lessons are not to be used at a celebration of the Eucharist on that day.
- When a Lesson begins with a pronoun, the reader shall substitute the appropriate noun. Verses printed within parentheses are permissive additions to the appointed passages. The letter “a” after the number of a verse signifies the first part of that verse, and the letter “b” the second part.
- Readings from the Apocrypha are in italics.
(Again, formatting changed. I put it in a bulleted list.)
Here’s the ACNA Daily Office Lectionary, Formatted in a Single Table.
What I’ve done is to combine the monthly Psalm cycle with the other readings. That way, you just need a single table for the entire year!