Throughout this series, I am working on the assumption that the vast majority of occasions when people are reading in public worship, it is the principal service on a Sunday. This is the set of readings provided for mass in the Roman Catholic Church, and for the principal gathering for worship (whether eucharistic or not) of the day in other denominations. In most Anglican parish churches, the same set of readings tends to be used for any eucharist celebrated on that day (as in the Roman Catholic Church). There is a separate set of readings for morning and evening prayer (matins and evensong), whose selection is less clearly organised. However, in this series, I am only going to focus on the three-year lectionary which provides the most frequently used readings.
There are three readings provided for each Sunday of the year. In addition, there is a text from the psalms which offers words of response to the first reading. That means that when there are alternative first readings, there are also alternative psalms, since the psalm has been chosen to correspond to the particular reading.Continue reading “Patterns of reading”