This Sunday marks the first Sunday in Advent and the start of the new church year! While many people are already thinking about what resolutions they want to make (and subsequently break) at the beginning of 2019 in just over a month, let me encourage the start of the church year (i.e. this Sunday, 2 December) to be the time when you kick off a new daily bible reading habit.
But don't just start off on any daily bible reading habit. Read the bible daily with the church!
Specifically, I mean reading your bible according to the readings of the daily lectionary. While readers coming from liturgical church backgrounds didn't bat an eye at that phrase, if "daily lectionary" sounds entirely foreign, relax. The "lectionary" is nothing more than a set of readings assigned for a given day in the church year...in other words, it's a bible reading plan. Unlike other reading plans that may seek to get through the bible in year (you know how I feel about those), read the bible chronologically, or read the bible according to some other arrangement, the daily lectionary is set up to roughly follow the ebb and flow of the life and ministry of Jesus as followed in the church year--from Advent, to Christmas, to Epiphany, to Lent, to Easter, to Pentecost, and then through the 'ordinary time' of the summer months.
I call reading according to the lectionary "reading the bible daily with the church" because millions of Christians around the world use the lectionary to direct their daily bible reading. Not only are you following along with the rhythm of the church year, you are reading the same passages each day as countless other believers around the world! There are several versions of the "daily lectionary" that you can find online--sigh--but the one I find to be used most widely is that from the 1979 Book of Common Prayer. There are many copies of it online, but here are links to a couple sites I particularly think are well laid out:
The Lectionary Page which uses NRSV or RSV translations
Daily Office Lectionary which uses the ESV
These are just two options. As I said, there are many more and your mileage may vary with either.
As a side note, I personally take the liberty to use a _different order of the Psalms than the BCP does, one which allows me to read through the entire Psalter sequentially once every 60 days._
I can think of no better resolution than to start reading the bible daily and being formed and transformed by the Word of God. Added to this, using the lectionary I find great comfort and encouragement knowing that I am reading and praying through the same texts each day as a myriad of my brothers and sisters in Christ around the world. Even if we are separated by distance, time zones, and languages, our hearts and minds are knit together in prayer.
If you aren't already following an enriching daily bible reading plan, now is the time to start! If you already enjoy this practice, let me encourage you to keep it up!
I wish you all a blessed new (church) year and a great season of Advent as we prepare to worship our coming King!
Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash