Last year (2019) during Lent, I started reading The Daily Lectionary. After Easter, I stopped. No idea why, really. I guess because Lent was over? Which doesn’t make much sense, because I enjoyed reading it every day. Nevertheless, I stopped.
Recently, I’ve been wanted to resume the practice again, but I found that I really liked the idea of reading it in community.
Unfortunately, right now we can’t really read “in community” very easily — at least not in the ways that we’re used to thinking of “community”. I did think of making it a daily Zoom call, but everyone I know right now has plenty of Zoom calls, so I decided to do something different.
I decided to start a podcast where I read The Daily Lectionary.
A Little Background Information
If you have been involved in a mainline Christian church, you may be familiar with the lectionary as a list of readings assigned for Sundays throughout the year, and it operates on a three year cycle. The Revised Common Lectionary is the most familiar, but that’s only one kind of lectionary, and there are lots of others.
The Presbyterian Church (USA) also has a two-year daily lectionary from our Book of Common Worship. You can find the readings online at https://pma.pcusa.org/devotion/. That page is updated every day to show the current day’s readings.
(Of course, there’s nothing particularly “Presbyterian” about the readings; they all come from the Christian Bible, so if you are not Presbyterian, don’t consider that a hindrance.)
Each day consists of 7 readings:
- 2 Psalms for the morning
- 3 Readings for mid-day
- 2 Psalms for the evening
Now, I know you may be thinking, “Seven readings?!?” but these are not long readings. In fact usually they are fairly short, compared to readings that we usually have for a Sunday worship service.
In fact, looking at the readings from the past two weeks’, I can tell you that reading all 7 of them takes an average of 13 minutes per day! The shortest day was about 10 minutes, and the longest was about 17 minutes. If you can take 20 minutes a day, you can do this.
Also note: The podcast is just the text. There is no commentary or interpretation offered, which would not only lengthen the time commitment, but it might be a barrier to some folks. The whole point is simply to have the texts themselves to read, with the expectation that you will add your own thoughts and prayers to the hearing of them.
The mid-day readings usually include one reading from the Hebrew Bible, one reading from the epistles, and one reading from the Gospels.
The times are, of course, just suggestions. You can read them all at once, or divide them differently. I found that I preferred to read the two “morning Psalms” and the three “mid-day” readings early in the day, and then I would read the 2 evening Psalms when I went to bed. There’s no wrong way to do it.
(As an aside: the daily lectionary also tends to repeat the Psalms. This is not a mistake; it is, I believe, intended to give you another opportunity to hear something that you might have missed the first time, or that means more to you on one day than it might have on another.)
“How to listen”
There are several ways to access these recordings, so if you do not know how to do it one way, keep reading, and maybe you’ll find another option you like better.
Option 1: Listen as a Podcast
If you already know what a podcast is and how to use them, then all you need to know is that you should use https://feedpress.me/lectionary as the link to subscribe.
You can also search for “Daily Lectionary” in the iTunes Podcast Directory, but if you do that, please note that there are more than one, so look for either my name (Rev. Dr. Timothy J. Luoma) or the picture of the Plattsburgh church (shown here) which is what I used for artwork.
Each day’s readings post at midnight on the day of the assigned reading, so no matter how early in the morning you get up, it should be available for you.
Each episode also includes links to the text of the readings, in case you want to read along as you listen.
Option 2: Receive Links via Daily Email
If you don’t know what a podcast is, or would rather just get a link via email, you can subscribe via email using this link.
Note: To sign up, you will need to enter your email address, then you will receive an email with a link. You must click that link in the email you receive in order to confirm that you want to receive the daily emails.
You will receive one email each day with a link to the page for today’s readings. Click the link, and you will find a web page where you can listen (and read along, if you’d like).
(Unfortunately, there is no way to have the actual audio file delivered via email, but the link should make it almost as easy to get as if it was in your email.)
Option 3: Read (and Bookmark!) a Web Page
If you do not want to use either of those options, you go to this page: The Daily Lectionary and add it to your browser’s “bookmarks” or “favorites,” so you can quickly get back to it.
From there, you can read the text of each day’s readings and listen to the recordings, right from each page.
Option 4: Read using your own Bible and a printed reference guide
You can also find printable lists of the readings for each month in 2020 (or for the entire year, if you want).
Option 5: Get the readings emailed to you each day
The PC(USA) offers a daily email newsletter with the readings, so you don’t have to keep 5 bookmarks in your Bible.
Option 6: There’s an app for that!
The PC(USA) also offers an app for iPhone/iPad and Android devices which will give you the daily readings in your hand.
I hope that this will be a help to those who might want to add daily Scripture readings to their lives but have struggled to do it on their own.