It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year! And that means that Advent is here. Advent is the countdown to Christmas and is also the beginning of the Bible readings through the year found in the lectionary.
A lectionary is a collection of Bible readings to be read to the faithful during the worship of God. Lectionaries have been used since the fourth century, when major churches arranged the Scripture readings according to a schedule that follows the calendar of the year. This practice of assigning particular readings to each Sunday and Holy Day has continued through the history of the Christian Church.
Since the 1990s, the Naskapi translation team has been working with St. John’s Church in Kawawachikamach, on the selection, translation and production of lectionary readings in the form of a printed Sunday “church bulletin” of Scripture. We were guided by the Revised Common Lectionary, which is the pattern used by the Anglican Church of Canada and many other denominations around the world.
Back in 2010, it was decided that it would be far more practical to produce a book that contained all the readings for an entire year. Even though most of the translation and checking was done, it was still a big job to collect all the readings for an entire year into a book. But this was finally completed and the first book (Year A) was dedicated on Sunday, April 17th 2011.
Since the Revised Common Lectionary provides Scripture readings spread out over a three-year cycle, during the next three years we worked on the production of all three books: Year A (liturgical year 2010-2011) Year B (liturgical year 2011-2012) and Year C (liturgical year 2012-2013).
Of course, when Year A rolled around again during Advent of 2013, more copies of the blue Year A books were prepared, and the cycle repeated.
As the years went by, the Naskapi translation team continued to work on their long-term translation goals: the book of Genesis was published in 2013, and translation proceeded on other Old Testament books. During the spring of 2019, the book of Psalms was published in Naskapi and dedicated alongside the “Book of Bible Promises“, a topical collection of Scripture readings in Naskapi. Then in 2023 the Naskapi community dedicated the book of Exodus in Naskapi.
Remember that the lectionary readings for each week contain a passage from the Old Testament, a reading from the Psalms, a portion of the Epistles, and a section of the Gospels. A year of lectionary readings contains hundreds of verses from all different parts of the Bible.
As usually happens in the course of our ongoing translation work and checking, many of the readings contained in the lectionary are sometimes corrected to make their spelling more consistent, or revised somewhat to make the meaning more clear or natural. These corrections needed to make their way into a new edition of the books.
So in 2019, we completely updated the book of readings for Year A, liturgical year 2019-2020, beginning with the First Sunday of Advent, on December 1, 2019. Year B and Year C followed along in 2020, and 2021. In 2022 we repeated the cycle again with the new revised versions.
The format of the new book is very similar to the previous books, but every Scripture passage has been updated to its current corrected form. We have also updated the accompanying index and calendar, and included simple instructions to locate the readings for any Sunday in the year.These new Lectionary revisions also feature an updated cover design:
So this year, December 2023, we are moving on to Year B, the Red book.
Naskapi community members can find copies of the books at the Naskapi Development Corporation bookstore. Or, anyone can order them online at these links:
Serving you with joy,
Bill & Norma Jean Jancewicz