Daily services of prayer for the morning and evening are read privately as daily devotions and corporately as a liturgy, in church. The chief purpose of the daily office is remembrance, thanksgiving, and praise. Each office consists of a collect, scripture readings, prayers, psalms, canticles, the creed, confession and petition.
A “lectionary” is a schedule of assigned Scripture readings. There are two lectionaries in the Book of Common Prayer: one for the Eucharist on Sundays & Holy Days; the other for the Daily Office, which is what our video series consists of.
When Abp. Thomas Cranmer compiled the first Book of Common Prayer in 1549, he laid out a Daily Office lectionary that covered almost the entire Bible every year. The current lectionary covers almost all of the New Testament every year and about half the Old Testament over a 2-year cycle.
Year 1 or Year 2?
Instructions for the Daily Office lectionary can be found on pp. 934-935. The schedule itself starts on page 936 & follows a 2-year cycle. The cycle begins on the first Sunday of Advent (early December or late November) because the Church calendar doesn’t line up perfectly with the secular calendar. Year 1 starts in Advent of even-numbered years; Year 2 in Advent of odd-numbered years. For example, in 2019 (odd-numbered), the Daily Office lectionary begins Year 2 in Advent. This continues into 2020 until it switches to Year 1 in Advent 2020 (an even-numbered year).
In the Daily Office lectionary, Year 1 readings are always on the left-hand page; Year 2 readings are always on the right-hand page.
In the season after Pentecost until the start of the new liturgical year in Advent, readings are organized according to numbered “Propers,” which are assigned based on fixed dates. Each Proper says “Week of the Sunday closest to __” which you can use to figure out what Proper
applies to the week you’re in. So if Sunday’s date is September 13, then that week you would use the readings for Proper 19 (pp. 984 & 985).
Three Scripture passages are appointed for most days. A reading from the Old Testament, one from the New Testament & one from a Gospel. These are split between Morning & Evening prayer, with flexibility in how you divvy up the readings.
For simplicity’s sake, we recommend reading the Old & New Testament readings for Morning Prayer and the Gospel at Evening Prayer. If you want 2 readings for both Morning and Evening, you can use the Old Testament reading from the alternate year as the first reading at Evening Prayer.
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