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On Skipping and the Lectionary

by ToddPeperkorn ~ July 3rd, 2008


I would like to see some resources posted on the history of the end of the church year.  Do you go straight to Trinity 27, the 3rd, 2nd, Last Sunday, do you do the Michelmas “skip”?  Why?

If you have spent some time thinking on this, please either reply here, or better stuff, post an article on it directly.  If you’re not signed up to post, please let me know and I will happily do so.


6 Responses to On Skipping and the Lectionary

  1. Erich Fickel


    The Rev. Dr. Douglas Judisch presented a paper on this matter at the Symposium on Exegetical Theology in 2000. I do not have a copy of the paper, so I don’t want to misreport his conclusions. However, if someone can find the paper it would be worth posting here.


  2. weedon

    I can find nothing in our rubrics (LSB) to indicate such a practice. It appears that the Sundays run themselves out, skipping only to the final Sunday.

  3. Pr Bryan Wolfmueller

    If memory serves, the shift from a last Sunday to three last Sundays came with the three-year lectionary, and was necessary because the three year gutted Advent of her eschatological import (making her chiefly preparatory). We skip right to the 27th Sunday after Trinity.

  4. Ed Steeh

    Some form of a “skip” MUST, of necessity, be employed nearly every year, depending on where Easter falls. The “Michaelmass skip” is one scheme that has been frequently used. It’s primary thrust is to preserve the end times character of the 3 last Sundays in the Church Year by “skipping” as many Sundays after St. Michael and All Angels as necessary in order to always use the propers for Trinity 25-27 as the 3 Last Sundays in the Church Year.

    Here is one such “Michaelmass skip” scheme advocated by former LCMS pastor John Fenton. I am quoting from a post he made back in 1998 to the now defunct “E-Winkel” list.

    “The Sundays after Trinity have, for convenience or whatever reason, been sometimes divided into four subsections. These sub-sections are deliniated differently by different authors according to perceived themes or dates. One must caution, however, that any thematic similiarites within the four sub-sections are simply coincidental.
    “One scheme that I prefer for the four sub-sections is as follows:
    “Trinity-tide: Trinity I through Trinity V
    “St. John’s Tide: Trinity VI through Trinity XI (so named because Trinity VIII usually falls near 24 June)
    “St. Lawrence Tide: Trinity XII through Trinity XVIII (so named because Trinity XVIII usually falls nears 10 Aug)
    “St. Michael’s Tide: Trinity XIX through Trinity XXVII (see below for rationale)

    “Finally, the Trinity XXV, XXVI and XXVII are always celebrated as the last three Sundays in the Church Year.

    “According to this scheme, Trinity XIX is always the Sunday AFTER St. Michael’s Day. That means that any Sundays “not used” by St. Michael’s Day are unobserved (except, perhaps, during the week). It also measn that Trinity XXIV will many times droup out in favor of Trinity XXV.

    “To compute the schedule according to this scheme, you must do the following:

    a. Determine when Advent Sunday (Advent I) will fall.

    b. Place Trinity XXV, XXVI and XXVII on the three Sundays before Advent Sunday.

    c. Place Trinity XIX on the Sunday after St. Michael’s Day.

    d. Fill in the Sundays between Trinity XIX and Trinity XXV, dropping Trinity XXIV if necessary.

    e. Fill in the Sundays from Trinity Sunday through the Sunday BEFORE St. Michael’s Day, dropping any Sundays that are not used (usually a range between Trinity XV through XVIII).”

  5. Brian Westgate

    Fr. Fenton, I believe, has basically reproduced what Gehrke done, though Gehrke may have kicked out 25 instead of 24. I wonder if it might be possible for Trinity 19 to come before Michaelmass. On an aside, Sarum I think has one more mass than pre-Vatican II Rome for the Trinity Season.

    In using the last 3 Sundays of the Church Year, we basically are using the lengthened Advent, beginning after St. Martin’s Day, that the northern churches once had. I might as well advocate using violet (hey, we’ll all be sick of green by then!) and even upping the number of candles in the wreath. But please, please, don’t bring in the creches and fake trees until December 24. (I know I don’t have to worry about that around these parts).

    What is the history of our eschatalogical masses at the end of the church year? Many say that Luther and Dietrich introduced them, but Fenton seems to say that they were already there (and that would make sense since the north had had a longer Advent.)

  6. Tim Schellenbach

    Interesting that you should ask that this year, Todd, since Easter was so early that no skip is needed . . . 🙂

    In any case, I prefer to skip at Michaelmass, and have done so when I’m actually the one in charge (admittedly that’s been a couple of years now).

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