I love to read. You can always find a large stack of books next to my bed and summertime, to my mind, is made for catching up on my reading:) The contents of my stack of books, as you might expect, is a generous mixture of theological books with a healthy and diverse infusion of art books.
This week, I have begun to notice many paintings featuring women reading. I learned that during the women’s suffrage movement in the early part of the 20th century, artists conveyed women reading as a sign of independence and inspiration. Primarily, I focused on Mary Cassatt (1844-1926) who was an American, born in Pennsylvania, but lived and worked most of her life in France among the Impressionist such as Edgar Degas and Camille Pissarro.
This painting, called The Reader, is of her sister-in-law Eugenie Carter Cassatt. Mary exhibited this painting at a charity event to support the Women’s Suffrage movement and it seems that Eugenie and Mary had a falling out over using this painting to promote women’s rights.
For my part, I have noticed lately that the Spirit is drawing me towards these kinds of paintings and it has revived my desire to read more, but somehow every time I pick up a book, I find that I can’t concentrate on the words for long. I just find my self saying “Blah Blah Blah” and then throw the book down, leaving me wondering was something missing…
This is all to say, that I have decided to get back into the scriptures this summer and to do this I am going to start each day by reading scriptures that are outlined in the Revised Common Lectionary.
For several years now I have been experiencing the importance of living and worshiping through the church calendar each year, but I must confess, I was still holding myself somewhat above or outside the practice not willing to let go of my free spirit of finding my own way. This I resolve to change…
Here are just a few reasons for reading the daily lectionary:
Balance The beauty of reading the scriptures as they are laid out for us through the Lectionary is that they are balanced with readings from both the Old Testament and New, partnered with a Psalm each day. These passages have been harmonized to work together and by reading the bible in this way you are always:
“Reading the Old in light of the New and the New in light of the Old.”
~ Scott Hahn Consuming the Word
Unity Since reading the Lectionary is practiced by the Catholic, Lutheran, Episcopal, Anglican, Methodist and other fellowships, reading these daily scriptures becomes an act of ecumenical participation among the different christian communities. Something I feel very strongly about and wish to support.
Community I admire the wisdom of the concept of being feed by God’s word together as a family of believers. It will be new for me to think of this as a practice we are doing together in our homes in preparation for the weekly service together. As we would say “we will all be on the same page” when we come together on Sunday morning.
Tradition: It is also following after a pattern set down by the Jewish synagogue. Jesus would have been raised with the practice of reading a passage from the Talmud, along with a Psalm and a writing from the prophets each week. And so the first century christians, who were Jewish, carried on with this method of reading the scriptures adding the New Testament writings to what they were already doing.
I am working my way through a long list of recommendations I have been given by a group of friends who are already practicing daily reading of the Lectionary. I will offer you only two this week for your consideration but plan to give you a couple of new suggestions each blog post.
the Revised Common Lectionary, Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Daily Readings for Year B. I highly recommend that you subscribe to the Daily readings Calendar Feed, this way you can get the scriptures automatically sent to your phone calendar which in turn will take you to the Gateway Bible. You can then read or if you prefer listen to the scriptures being read to you.
Pray as you go, is another wonderful site because they have integrated a different musical selection into the daily reading. Each day you are surprised and enriched by bells, chant, Taize style singing and any variety of sounds to heighten your senses and focus your heart on the scripture to come. I really like how they repeat the reading and gently guide you with reflective questions.
If you have a daily bible reading source you would like to share with me and with my readers, please consider sharing by commenting below.
Blessed are this who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be filled, ~ Matthew 5: 6
I hope you enjoyed the paintings of Mary Cassatt and will look for her works online and in the museums you may visit this summer:)
Peace be with you!