For a little over a year or so, my daily devotions have been guided by the Daily Office found in the Episcopal Church’s Book of Common Prayer (BCP). The Daily Office is a two year lectionary which goes through most of the Old Testament (minus the psalms) once and most of the New Testament twice every two years. It also cycles through all 150 psalms every seven weeks. I enjoy using the Daily office because it is a good help in making sure I read a wide range of Scripture throughout the year and its selections are usually very appropriate to the church calendar (we are about to enter the season of Advent on the church calendar).
The Daily Office does not cover the whole Bible; I’ve noticed in the Old Testament, many of the Levitical laws or geneologies are omitted. These are important to be learned about, to be sure, but I can see how two or three weeks of trying to meditate on the geneologies of 1 Chronicles 1-9 could overwhelm a person who simply wants to get his or her day off on the right foot by spending some time in the Word or in a morning prayer service.
The BCP leaves out some passages in its Daily Office for more reasons than just ease of use. Today’s (Friday, proper 29, year one) reading from 1 Peter begins at 3:13 whereas yesterday’s reading finished with 2:25. Which twelve verses were missing? It is the pasage in which Peter tells the wives in his audience to accept the authority of their husbands and tells the husbands to show consideration for their wives as the “weaker vessel.” It is a difficult passage to be sure, one that ought to be interpreted with all care and reverence for the Word. But it is the Word nonetheless, though some may find it such an annoyance that they wish Peter never wrote the words at all (apparently the editors at Church Publishing in New York wished this). I love my church dearly. But my allegiance remains with the Word made flesh if the Word and my church are ever in conflict. The Episcopal Church (USA) is experiencing much debate over the issue of sexuality. If you want to know the real divisive point, however, look to the Word. Some in our church regard the Word as authoritative. Others set limits on its authority. The latter approach builds a church based on convenience and usually tries to stay away from making anyone uncomfortable. The former takes its cues from the unchanging Word and at times makes many (including myself) quite uncomfortable. Let us be a Church that builds upon the foundation of Christ Jesus our Lord, the Word made flesh.
Now if you’ll excuse me, there are twelve neglected verses in James over which I need to puzzle.