Dear Friends in Christ,
Episcopalians often joke about not reading the bible or not knowing it well. I hear people say that with resignation, or even with a rueful laugh.
But if you don’t want this to be true, it’s easy to change.
One of the disciplines that our community has taken on for Lent is the reading of Matthew’s gospel. In the amount of time that it takes you to scroll through Facebook, you can instead have an encounter with Jesus as revealed in scripture.
Our schedule for reading Matthew invites you to read a single chapter each day. Our clergy and seminarians have reflected on these chapters and offered prompts for reflection. You’ll see a new prompt each day on social media. (Remember scrolling through Facebook? I wasn’t kidding.)
Our hope is that you can take five minutes to read the chapter and another minute to respond—and then that the meaning of the scripture can resonate in you all day long.
Why Matthew? Our schedule of readings (called a lectionary) runs in a three year cycle. Right now, we are in Year A, which focuses primarily (although not exclusively) on Matthew’s gospel. Reading the whole thing gives the big picture, the context in which to understand Sunday’s readings.
More deeply, Matthew is known historically as a teaching gospel. It gives us the sermon on the mount. Jesus, as Matthew understands him, is a faithful Jew who relies on the Jewish scripture (what we know as the Old Testament) even as he expands on it. Matthew has significant insights into discipleship and what it means to follow the ultimate teacher.
And—if you are thinking—I’d love to do this, but it’s already started, and I’m too late? You’re not too late. It’s easy to catch up. And, chances are, you can jump in midway. (You already know the plot, right?)
I wish you insight and enlightenment in this Lenten season—
Yours in Christ,