The Role of the Lector
Being a lector of a worship service is something like being the stage manager of theatrical production. While he or she never actually steps onto the stage, as he or she prompts actors who have forgotten their lines and supplies the appropriate prop at the appropriate time, the stage manager plays a vital role in keeping the show going. While a lector may physically stand in full view of the congregation, spiritually he or she works in the wings helping the actors (the congregation) connect with the audience (God). The conversation between the people their God is what matters most and with this in mind the good lector seeks to do his or her part while not making him or herself the focus of the event. Let's turn now to the specific ways in which a Lector will do this.
A. Call to Worship: The worship service officially begins with the call to worship. Here, speaking on behalf of God, the lector prompts the congregation to give serious thought to what they are about to engage in. Via e-mail or snail-mail, Lectors receive all of their calls to worship. If you are preparing to serve as lector and have not yet received a list of your calls to worship, please contact the church office (firstname.lastname@example.org or 447-3731).
B. Period of Meditation: Having issued God's call to come and worship him, the Lector then asks the congregation to prepare themselves to do this by spending a few minutes in silent meditation. Meditation is to prayer what listening is to conversation. During this time worshippers should be encouraged to silence any other voices which might prevent them from listening to God.
C. Offering Meditation: Contrary to popular opinion the offering is not the church's answer to the theatre's ticket booth. Rather than collecting money so that we can pay for the expense of the production this is actually a part of the show. Said another way as we give of ourselves financially to God we continue to interact with him. Coming just after the celebration of communion (a time when we experience God's giving of himself to us in Jesus Christ) the offering is a time for us to give more than money but to us we give ourselves to God. In his or her offering meditation the lector seeks to bring this home to the people. Towards this end lectors often couple their remarks with an appropriate passage of scripture.
D. Offertory Prayer: Falling hard on the heels of the Doxology (a traditional hymn of thanks to God, the giver of all things) the offertory prayer is the Lector's opportunity to sum up what has just happened. God gave to us (Praise God from whom all blessings flow) and we give back to him (Praise him all creatures here below). This prayer forms the conclusion of what I tend to think of as the first Act of the service. We have talked with God around the table and now the focus shifts to the word.
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