This year, I’m trying out an old method of preaching which is new to me. In the past, I’ve preached topical sermon series or followed the common lectionary. This year, I’m using the lectio continua method.
The gist of this is to deliver a continuing line of sermons so that the verses preached about one week follow consecutively from the verses addressed the prior week. The most common example of this probably is preaching from consecutive groupings of scripture in the same book, e.g. a continuing series of sermons from Romans. My plan varies from this a bit, in that I hope to read and preach through the entire Bible in one year, with each sermon based on the verses we’ve read that week.
My foundation for this is the reading plan described in J. Ellsworth Kalas’ book, “The Grand Sweep.” The advantage of his plan is that it not only contains daily readings, but it also has a daily devotional on each day’s reading and a discussion at each week’s end on themes and questions raised over the week.
Our first week took us from creation to Abram’s response to God’s call, Genesis 1-13. It also included Psalms 1-11. My cup overflowed as to possible topics. Unfortunately, because of the perceived need to discuss some preliminary issues, my sermon fell well short of doing justice to any subject. Still, I’m excited about the year and the possibilities an intensive, intentional scriptural approach give for individual and congregational growth.
I hope to blog about my experiences and include the sermon each week. I plan to post the first sermon tomorrow.
However, what struck me most about our first week’s readings is something I didn’t address this past Sunday—how relevant the Bible is today. It’s striking how many issues raised by the first week’s readings remain ripe thousands of years later. The ones that leaped out most to me were our:
- relationship to the environment and creation (Genesis 1:26-28;
- treatment of each other (Genesis 4:1-9);
- tendencies toward violence (Genesis 4:1-9, 22-23); and,
- continual turning away from God and inability to follow God’s will (Genesis 3; 4:1-9, 22-23; 6:5-13; and, 13:7)
Each of these is worth a few weeks of their own!