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May 16, 2007

Taking Away from God’s Word

A little “oversight” in the Episcopal lectionary has recently come to my attention. For those not familiar, the lectionary is a collection of scriptural readings for each day of the liturgical year. For the seventh Sunday of Easter—that’s this coming Sunday—one of the readings is from Revelation 22. The interesting thing about this particular reading is that it covers verses 12-14, 16-17, and 20-21, while conspicuously omitting verses 15, 18 and 19. What do those omitted verses say?

V 15—Outside [the heavenly city] are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.

V 18-19—I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. 19And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.

It would appear—only appear, mind you—that the lectionary editors omitted the latter verses to conceal the judgment upon them for omitting the former one. Or…maybe it was just an innocent oversight caused by lazy eye.

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