Circle of Days: Year B

Paula Franck and Isabel Anders in this Church Year Primer—a guidebook to the major themes and texts of the liturgical year—offer a practical, daily answer to Archbishop Thomas Cranmer’s call to “hear, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest” the words of Scripture in their yearly flow and weekly rhythm.

“Our purpose is to enable comprehension, comparison, a sense of progression, and especially heightened experience of the major events of Jesus’ life—the annual Christian Holy Days—within their context in the biblical narrative.” 

—From the Introduction.

Circle of Days: Year B, offers theologically based reflections on the major Lessons found in Year B of the common liturgy. This primer is designed for anyone who desires deeper understanding of Scripture and its meaning in our lives. 

Praise for Circle of Days

Circle of Days is welcoming, inviting, substantive without being heavy.  It so clearly takes Scripture seriously. Congratulations on what you are doing here!   

—The Rev. Jean Denton, author, Good Is the Flesh: Body, Soul, and Christian Faith.

Paula Franck and Isabel Anders have delved into Scripture and lived the Church Year all their lives. Circle of Days invites readers to join them, week by week, as they reflect on the appointed (RCL) Sunday Lessons and the liturgical year. Succinct quotations, thoughtful examination of the Scriptures, and relevant, open-ended questions are presented for each week. Readers will be nourished—and so will the Kingdom of God!

—Sr. Elizabeth Mills, St. Mary’s Convent, Sewanee, Tennessee.

The first of three “Primers” on the major themes and texts of the Church Year, Circle of Days Year B invites us into a tapestry of texts for each Sunday; it weaves together key events, symbols, allusions, and opportunities for reflection, as well as solid biblical exegesis in the context of the liturgical seasons. Simply written but profound, the commentaries explain the historical background of each scriptural passage but also interpret its spiritual significance for today’s world. A text that anyone can pray with and learn from, Circle of Days will serve as a great resource for “everyday Christians,” scripture study groups, and for those who proclaim the Word.

Dr. Elizabeth-Anne Stewart
Sunday BibleTalk
Reviewed on Amazon.com

Near the beginning, God created the Lectionary, not exactly in stone, but close to it – including Scripture readings for each Sunday and major feast days of the liturgical year with four passages drawn from the Hebrew Bible, the Psalms, the Epistles attributed to assorted apostles, and the Gospel according to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. And lo, though each individual passage was usually clear by itself, sometimes the connections between the readings seemed null and void. So God gave us “collects,” a collection of prayers, for each set of readings, to provide clues to us, the readers and hearers, as to what the connections between passages might be. But, lo, sometimes the collects added more mystery to the mix. And so, in due season, God created my friend Paula Franck, parish educator and retired Canon of Education and Spiritual Formation for the Diocese of Indianapolis, and her friend, Isabel Anders, a writer and editor, to create a handy primer to introduce us to the themes in each set of readings for a whole year of Sundays and major Holy Days. And behold, each set in the primer comes with a quotation which helps set the tone of the themes; a discussion of how those themes as they play out in the texts appointed for that day; and a reflection question based on the themes, suitable for personal journaling or Bible Zoom group discussions. And, for those so bidden, they are also a good place to start preparing to preach or to teach on that day’s lesson. And for good measure, they included an introduction to each season of the church year, identifies the overarching themes for that season. And lo, the volume, covering the upcoming lectionary year became available on Amazon and Kindle last week, in goodly time before the beginning of Year B which starts November 29. And it was good!*

*A word about what this book is and isn’t – it isn’t an in-depth commentary which provides endless discussion of Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic words and the findings of Biblical archeologists, cultural anthropologists, and erstwhile historians and theologians. Those commentaries are a dime a dozen (well, not exactly a dime, but you know what I mean!) – for that historical-critical approach see anything authored by Amy Jill Levine, Marcus Borg, or N.T. Wright. No, this is a relatively short, very accessible volume that provides a beginning exploration of the themes — literary, metaphoric, and poetic – of the readings for the year taken at face value and then linked to the life experiences of the reader, hearer, or presenter. They provide a starting point – not an ending one. If you follow the lectionary, do yourself a favor – check it out. This is, I expect, why God invented Goggle and other web explorers!

Mary Sicilia  
Retired Canon  Educator, Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, Portland, OR