The reading of scripture is central to our life together. Through listening to and living within scripture we open our life together and our lives as individual disciples of Jesus to a living Word from God. The Lector’s role in this formative act of Christian life is crucial.
The Lector is expected to join in the congregation’s practice of preparing for worship by reading and meditating on the texts for the upcoming Sunday during the week prior. Texts for each Sunday in the year are included in the Salt of the Earth Christian Seasons Calendar. We do not always read all four texts provided by the Revised Ecumenical Common Lectionary. As Lector, you will receive an emailed copy of the bulletin, on the Thursday before you are scheduled to read. You are welcome to borrow a copy of Voices United during the week in order to prepare to lead the responsive Psalm.
It is our practice to read from the Pulpit Bible so that it does not become a prop but is, in fact, the book we read each Sunday. It is helpful to make use of the ribbons provided in the Bible to mark the passages you are to read. The biblical translation that we have chosen to use in worship is the New Revised Standard Version. If you do not own a copy of the NRSV you are welcome to borrow a paperback copy from the Chapel in order to prepare prior to Sunday morning. If you feel that reading from another version is appropriate please discuss this with the Preacher early in the week.
You will want to read the passages aloud during the week (at least three or four times). If you are uncertain about the intention of a passage (and, therefore, what inflection to use) and/or if you need assistance in pronouncing unfamiliar words do not hesitate to be in contact with the Preacher.
On Sunday Morning arrive by 10:00 am in order to have a microphone check. Ask the Worship Service Coordinator or the Presider to help you with this. You will also want to be sure that the readings for the day are marked with ribbons in the Pulpit Bible. Go over the readings to become accustomed to the large type face.
At the beginning of the Liturgy the Lector is asked to process the Bible with an assistant who carries the candle-lighter and lights the candles, as well as one who pours water into the font (this occurs after the Greeting time, Announcements and Choral Introit). It is the Lector’s responsibility to form a team of three for the procession. We hope you can include a child, as it is one of the ways we involve children in providing leadership in the liturgy. If you have difficulty finding two people to assist you please ask the Worship Service Coordinator to help. The Coordinator will give then give you the cue to process. This is an important procession. Walk with dignity, reflecting the awe that you are bringing Holy Scripture into our midst. Place the Bible on the pulpit and open it at the first passage to be read. In order to protect the binding of the Bible, when putting it on the Pulpit place it spine down, then open both covers with care. If the Bible is too heavy for you please ask someone to carry it for you. Perhaps you can light the candles or pour water into the font on this occasion.
While the Bible is being placed on the pulpit one of the Lector’s assistants lights the candles. Matches and candle lighter will be at the entrance to the sanctuary (the Worship Coordinator will assist). In lighting the candles take care so that wax is not spilled..You may wish to practice lighting the candles prior to the service (note that the candles can be lifted off of the stands, making the lighting of the candles easier). After lighting the candles place the candle-lighter across the end of the table. While the candles are being lit one of the Lector’s assistants comes around the font, faces the congregation and pours water into the font before placing the pitcher on the table. Be sure to wait until all three in the procession have completed their tasks before returning to your seats. The entry of the Bible, flame and water are dramatic moments in the Liturgy. We encourage you to move with dignity and reverence.
Sit in a location near the table, on an aisle so that you are prepared to come forward to read Scripture without introduction following the Preparation for the Word (a time of musical preparation after the youngest children move to class). Announce the passage simply, for instance, “Reading from the book of ..., chapter ..., beginning at verse ...”. If you wish, you can provide some introductory comments that set the text in context, but any comments should be brief.
Do not lean into the microphone - it will pick up your words from a distance of twelve inches. If you suspect that the microphone is not working properly simply continue to read in as loud and clear a voice as you can manage. The Worship Coordinator will be responsible for dealing with any problems with the sound system.
Read slowly, more slowly than you think is necessary. Sound bounces around the room. Reading too quickly makes the syllables tumble over one another and become garbled. Read clearly - this comes from reading slowly. Give each word care and attention. Help us to host the text with love and respect, as we would host an honoured guest. Give the reading meaning - lift it off of the page - which simply means to invest it with your interpretation. Bring yourself to the passage and tell us the story as best you can.
After reading each passage, announce one of the following declarations. Try not to mumble or whisper the declaration. Say it boldly as this reminds the community that we dare to trust that in hosting these texts the church is opened to the living Word of God.
The Word of the Lord Thanks be to God
God’s Word is a lamp to our feet Thanks be to God
Herein is Wisdom Thanks be to God
The Word of God Thanks be to God
You also lead the reading of the Psalm (or introduce the singing of the Psalm, if it is to be sung rather than read). Invite the congregation to find the Psalm for the day in Voices United and ask the congregation to stand to join in reading responsively. You will need to be sure that there is a copy of Voices United on the shelf in the pulpit prior to coming forward. The responsive reading of the Psalm can vary. The lector can be a single voice with the congregation offering the responsive voice. Or the responses can be made by the women and the men, or the left side can be one voice and the right side in the Chapel another, or The Singers can speak and the congregation respond. You are welcome to choose the manner in which the Psalm will be read. Once the congregation is standing the Minister of Music will play the sung response one time, and then The Singers and congregation will sing the response once. The Psalm then begins, with the sung response being offered as indicated in Voices United with an “R”.
At the conclusion of the Liturgy, following the Postlude, come forward with an assistant. Carefully close and carry the Bible while the assistant extinguishes the candles (using the candle-lighter as snuffer). Be sure to light the candle lighter with the last candle’s flame and leave by reverently leading us into the world with the Bible and the flame. Hold the Bible as high as you are able when carrying it so that the congregation can see the Word going on ahead.