Dean’s Letter: Making Tracks

Hello St. Paul’s,

Welcome to the long green season! After Trinity Sunday on May 26, we will move into the second half of the church year and the standard liturgical color is green: green for growth. This part of the year is known as “Ordinary time”, not because it is less exciting than the Advent/Christmas/Lent/Easter cycle, but because the Sundays are identified by their order, or number, in the church calendar. We identify the Sundays in two ways: by their position relative to Pentecost (“the second Sunday after Pentecost”) and by their “proper” number, which is an absolute number starting with Proper 1 on the Sunday closest to May 11. As we celebrated Pentecost on May 19 and Trinity on May 26, we start with Proper 4 on June 2, the Sunday closest to June 1. You will find the Collect for each Proper in the Prayer Book starting on p.228. (Note for those who pray the Daily Offices: we started using the Proper lectionary on May 20, the Monday after Pentecost, which is the Monday following Proper 2, the Sunday closest to May 18).

Our lectionary gives us some choices during this season. There are two tracks to the Hebrew Scriptures: Track One takes a section of the Scripture and moves through it from Sunday to Sunday; while Track Two has selections from the Hebrew Scriptures that relate to the Gospel in some way (whether it’s harmonizing, contrasting, or just echoing the language). This summer we are taking Track One, which goes through the Samuel-Saul-David cycle, starting with the call of Samuel in the First Book of Samuel and marching through 1 and 2 Samuel and 1 Kings, until we reach the Song of Solomon on Labor Day weekend. There are some wonderful stories in this part of the Bible, and I encourage you to read ahead and get to know Samuel, Saul, David, and David’s dysfunctional family as we spend some time with them over the summer.

We will hear the story of the call of the boy Samuel as he slept in the sanctuary; the evolution of Samuel into a mighty prophet and warrior; Israel’s faithless demand for a king and the call of Saul; the unlikely selection of David, the youngest of eight brothers; the battle of David and Goliath; the scandalous dance of David before the Ark of God; David’s adultery with Bathsheba, his conspiracy to have her husband killed, and the dreadful consequences that followed including the collapse of his dynasty. These stories still speak to us today in their treatment of power and desire.

While our Sunday lectionary gives us these highlights, it also skips over many other episodes that make for compelling reading. I commend this great saga for your summer reading.

See you on Sunday!

Your sister in Christ,

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