As many of you know, in church on Sundays, we read scriptures that are appointed in the lectionary. The lectionary is a three-year cycle of readings; we read 4 selections each Sunday from the: Old Testament, Psalms, New Testament and Gospel. Many times, the selections may be shortened by not reading the portion that is in brackets. On the scriptures that are printed on the insert in the worship leaflet, these optional omissions are noted by green brackets.
It is my policy that we never omit these “optional” verses in our worship. I like to say: “When you think that you have heard enough scripture in your life, then we can talk about omitting verses!” And my experience is that the suggested omissions are sometimes the most troubling or interesting parts of scripture, which to me means that we should wrestle with them all the more!
This Sunday, if we omitted verses, then we would not hear about how we are called to be a “repairer of the breach (Isaiah)” or that “the wicked will see [the righteous] and be angry (Psalm)” or that “we have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians).”
I am glad that we have so much to learn about God from the unbracketed – and the bracketed – verses of scripture.