Eucharist: Liturgy of the Word
Every Sunday and feast day has its own special Collect and readings, and during the year they give us an outline of the Christian Faith, teaching us about Our Lord’s life, death, Resurrection and Ascension, about the founding of the Christian Church and the kind of life we ought to lead as Christians. In this way they help to prepare our minds so that we may be able to worship God with greater knowledge and understanding. The Common Worship (CW) readings follow a three year cycle and the Book of Common Prayer (BCP) a one year cycle. The readings are published annually in the CW and BCP Lectionary.
Readings before the Gospel
There are one or two readings before the Gospel reading. The first reading is usually from the Old Testament. The second is from the New Testament and is taken from the Acts of the Apostles, or from one of the Epistles or letters which were written by St Paul or one of the other Apostles, or from the Book of Revelation. These are usually read by members of the congregation. Today, in many churches a psalm is sung between the readings if there are two. If the congregation repeat a response at intervals during the psalm, it is called a responsorial psalm. The psalm for a particular Sunday or feast day is listed in the Lectionary.