Bringing the Pieces of the Lectionary Together with Lectionary Mosaics

Apr 18, 2024 9:00:00 AM / by Jennifer Baker-Trinity

Since ancient times, the mosaic art form has been a rich source of inspiration. Small bits of glass or stone are combined beautifully to make one image. It is the small pieces placed next to one another that reveal something new. 

Author Gordon Lathrop uses this artistic image as basis for his recent book, Lectionary Mosaics: Three Readings Juxtaposed for Reflection and Proclamation. Like a mosaic, Lathrop sets three readings next to one another and then provides a reflection on possible meanings that arise from this juxtaposition. 

The book provides one paragraph, one mosaic, for each Sunday and festival in all three years of the Revised Common Lectionary. For example, here’s the mosaic for the Fifth Sunday of Easter, Year B. 

John 15:1-8
Acts 8:26-40 
Psalm 22:25-31  All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord. (Ps. 22:27) 
1 John 4:7-21 

Having read these readings, consider this: 

Jesus Christ is the true vine, but we are too often withered branches, afraid and without the fruit of love. This day let the word of God do its cleansing, pruning work. In that word, you—whether alone or gathered with an assembly of disciples—are connected to the crucified and risen Christ, and God’s own Spirit flows to you. You are made alive and part of Christ for the life of the world. This day let Philip explain the scriptures also to you. Remember that, with the Ethiopian eunuch, you are baptized. Remember that you have drunk from Christ the vine at the eucharist. Abide in Christ and let his word abide in you. Then, even now when the world is filled with fear, put fear away and turn in love toward your neighbors, especially toward those whom others may consider outsiders, learning from and with them, helping to enable justice for them. 

These brief paragraphs serve as inspiration and guidance for preachers or lay readers as they prepare to proclaim the word in the assembly. They would be a source of devotion or discussion for a weekly text study or a staff meeting. Musicians could read them as they prepare music selections. Though written during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, their wisdom extends into our current time and beyond. 

However they are used, Lathrop points to the wisdom of scripture readings set side by side. A preacher doesn’t have to ask, “Which text will I preach on?” Instead, they ask, “What gifts arise from holding them together?” As Lathrop states in the introduction, “the special concern here has been to briefly indicate…the ways that a juxtaposition of readings enriches us.” (p. 7).  

You will be enriched by these small mosaics, pictures that draw you ever deeper into faith in God and love of neighbor. 

Topics: Books, lectionary

Jennifer Baker-Trinity

Written by Jennifer Baker-Trinity

Jennifer Baker-Trinity is a church musician and Associate in Ministry who has served congregations in Illinois, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania. She has been a regular contributor to Sundays and Seasons (Prayers of Intercession, Hymns for Worship) and has authored Soli Deo Gloria: Choir Devotions for Year B (Augsburg Fortress, 2011). She leads assembly song at Beaver Lutheran Church (Beaver Springs, PA) and lives with her spouse and three children in Middleburg, Pennsylvania.

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