The first peak of the service now comes through the reading of the Scriptures. Lectionaries are a set of readings that follow the church year. There are one year readings (same cycle every year), several different three year readings, and even a six year cycle. Most Lutheran communities follow one of the three year lectionaries.
The first reading is normally from the Old Testament; the exception being the Sundays of Easter, which uses readings from the Book of Acts. The Old Testament selection focuses on the main idea of the Gospel reading. Thus, rather than reading consecutively through a specific book of the Old Testament the lectionary varies from week to week. For example, notice the first readings for the next two weeks:
April 10 (Lent 6) Ezekiel 37:1-14
April 17 (Palm Sunday) Isaiah 50:4-9a
April 21 (Maundy Thursday) Exodus 24:3-11
April 22 (Good Friday) Isaiah 52:13—53:12
April 24 (Resurrection of Our Lord) Acts 10:34-43
The second reading comes from one of the letters in the New Testament (epistles). Again, the selection focuses on the Gospel reading for the day (as reflected in the Collect prayer). With the NT letters, we find a little more consistency. We find a series of readings coming from the same letter for 4-6 weeks. For instance, notice the epistle readings for the Sundays of Easter come from Peter’s first letter.
May 1 (2nd Sunday of Easter) 1 Peter 1:3-9
May 8 (3rd Sunday of Easter) 1 Peter 1:17-25
May 15 (4th Sunday of Easter) 1 Peter 2:19-25
May 22 (5th Sunday of Easter) 1 Peter 2:2-10
May 29 (6th Sunday of Easter) 1 Peter 3:13-22
June 5 (7th Sunday of Easter) 1 Peter 4:12-19; 5:6-11
Next posting moves to the Gospel reading.