Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. speaks from pulpit of Quinn A.M.E. church at 2401 Wabash Ave. in Chicago on July 25, 1965. (James Mayo, Chicago Tribune)

Martin Luther—for whom our denomination is named—famously proclaimed that the church is “a mouth house, not a pen house.” What he meant was that the chief job of the Church of Jesus Christ is not to write books, treatises, or web pages about Jesus and the Bible, but to be proclaiming the truth of Jesus Christ revealed in the Bible to the world and one another.

The primary place this happens each week is in the Sunday sermon, when someone (usually the pastor), called to this task and well prepared for it by previous study and apprenticeship, makes more clear to the gathered people the truths revealed in that Sunday’s Bible readings.

The Bible readings we hear on Sunday mornings are generally from the Revised Common Lectionary. What this means is that rather than focusing on those sections of Scripture with which the pastor or congregation is comfortable, the gathered assembly is forced to deal with nearly the whole of Sacred Scripture every three years.  This means that with regular church attendance, all of us can easily become familiar with the whole of the Bible!

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