One widespread source of concern is that parishes already have substantial investment in a variety of materials, from gospel books to text-inserts to Sunday school curricula, all for the BCP lectionary. Even if budgets permit the acquisition of new materials, Church Publishing, while surely doing its best to make materials available in a timely way, still does not have most of the relevant offerings available for delivery as of this writing. And it will be a long time before the whole apparatus of the church’s liturgical and musical resources geared to the lectionary has managed the conversion mandated by General Convention.
Surely in time, these issues will work themselves out, and materials will be available to support the ministry of the word. While that work goes forward, if you take the RCL transition into your own hands, the Liturgy and Music Office of The Episcopal Church has prepared a BCP-formatted version of the RCL: just follow the links from here.
In fact, alarming as it may sound, the conversion to the RCL may prove to be not a bang, but a whimper. Parishes opting for the thematic track for the weeks after Pentecost will notice relatively few differences from the lectionary they already use. And even those opting for the other track will hear much that is familiar. It is in the season after Pentecost that the challenges and opportunities will come, as preachers, musicians, and listeners alike seek to make the most sense out of the heretofore marginalized texts we will now be able to hear from the Hebrew Bible.
I suspect that the transition will bring out its best results in the ways that it invites (and compels) us all, clergy, musicians, and lay people alike, to re-engage with scripture, to hear many neglected stories again ”” or perhaps for the first time. My hope is that it will, in the long run, help us all to transform telling “the old, old story” into singing a new song.