Why use the lectionary? Wont that restrict my sermons? Yes, it may eliminate the “my” part of the sermons. Do we decide what we want to preach on the subjects that interest us. If so, we may be missing the fullness of the scriptures and the fullness of the Gospel message. The lectionary requites us to use all the sections of the entire Bible in a three year cycle. It is a discipline that helps to focus our sermons.
Yes, but maybe the focus of the readings for a certain sermon would not be my focus for that particular Sunday? Good question. A better question: “What is God’s focus for the sermon?” God inspired all the writings of holy scripture. Surely he will help us find the meaning of the appointed scripture for a certain Sunday when we ask him. The appointed scriptures are always wide ranging. They include an Old Testament reading, a reading from the Psalms, a reading from the Epistles, and a reading from one of the Gospels. They will most often support any message that God has inspired us to preach on. In fact, they may inspire us to preach on a certain message.
Of course, we are not limited to using only the appointed texts. We can augment the readings with any other passages we believe are significant. God speaks to us through the scriptures. A sermon without the use of scriptures can often just be a lecture on the topic for the day. The lectionary disciplines us to use scripture and show how certain scriptures relate to one another.
Our congregation does not need our sermon based on some chosen topic. They need a word from God. What does God want to say to a particular people in a particular place at a particular time? He will tell us if we are listening. Will the appointed readings from the lectionary hamper him? Are will they help reveal to us what he wants to say. Why not try the lectionary a few Sundays and find out.