In the 1980’s my regular Friday night television viewing included Washington Week in Review and Wall Street Week. When Louis Rukeyser gave the market recap for the week on WSW, he would always refer to the technical index “elves.” He seemed to have little regard for technical analysis (“the forecasting of future financial price movements based on an examination of past price movements,” according to one Web site), but it was always good for a chuckle, or at least a slight grin.

A few years ago I heard a podcast sermon in which the Episcopal priest made reference to the “lectionary elves.” That stuck with me. The Episcopal Church, with a one or two exceptions during the course of the liturgical year, adopted the Revised Common Lectionary a few years back. The RCL was officially released in 1994, and while it was compiled by real people working together, it is easy for me to perceive it as coming from some misty, mystical source.

The RCL is certainly inscrutable at times. The Emmaus story in Luke only appears once in the three-year cycle for Sunday morning, and that is in Year A, the year of Matthew. I’m noticing that this Lent (where we are in Year A) Matthew is preempted for John from Lent 2 until we get Matthew’s version of the Passion story on Palm Sunday.

It’s oddities like that which make me appreciate the term “lectionary elves.” But I use it with complete respect, of course.

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