Revised Common Lectionary

One of the decisions that Pastors have is what direction to go each Sunday with the sermon or message. First of all what does one preach on? Well, preaching should open up a passage of scripture or scriptures and reflect on the meaning for today. How does one select the scripture for each Sunday?  Many Pastors like myself use what is called the “Revised Common Lectionary.” This is a calendar and table of suggested scripture readings for a three-year cycle. There is a Old Testament, Epistle, Gospel reading and a Psalm assigned for each Sunday. I usually use the Psalm and two of the three readings. The Lectionary provides a systematic approach to the use of scripture in worship. 
So the question that remains each week is which of the scriptures to use for the sermon. Most often I will use the Gospel lesson in my preaching. But I also like to give you spiritual nourishment from the Epistles and Old Testament. For instance, last Sunday and the next two Sundays, my sermons will come from the Apostle Paul’s epistle to the Galatians. This is a letter to the churches that Paul had started in Galatia. Last Sunday you heard Galatians 3: 23 – 29. The sermon was about our true identity. This week you will hear Galatians 5:1, 13 – 25. The sermon will be about freedom and responsibility. On July 7, the scripture will be Galatians 6: 1 – 16 and the sermon will be about humility and building up one another.
The best way for you to prepare for the sermon is to read and reflect on the scripture ahead of time. You will get more out of the sermon this way. Galatians is really a pretty short letter. Read the entire letter once or twice with special focus on the passages that will be preached upon. Think about what this writer was saying to the people back then and then ask yourself prayerfully, what does this say to me today. I think you will find yourself coming to worship with a real spiritual openness to the text.
One last thing. Pray for your pastor. I am struggling to understand the same passage that you are reading and I hope to provide spiritual nourishment, encouragement, and challenge to all of you.