Friday, February 26, 2010

On Lectors and Such...

This is a post from Rev. Wil Weedon, St. Paul, Hamel, IL. A great discussion on some practical issue in our Synod.

On Lectors and Such

I've gotten into this discussion in more than one place on the net and often find myself on the other side of the fence on this particular question from those with whom I usually on the same side of the fence on other questions. I'm curious what thoughts the reader of the blog might have about it.

I see absolutely nothing wrong and much to commend the practice of the people of God sharing in the reading of the Sacred Scriptures during the Divine Service. The Scriptures do not belong to the ordained; they belong to the whole people of God! Granted, my own parish does not follow the practice of having lectors from the laity. Historically, we've had seminarians or vicars to fulfill that role. But I have served in a parish where it was the practice and further it was the practice in the parish where I was baptized, confirmed, married, and ordained. I know some pastors hate it - they love to read the Scriptures themselves. I totally sympathize with that, but I do think it can be very helpful for the congregation to hear the Scriptures read by more than one voice.

The appeal to 1 Timothy 4:13 as somehow meaning that only the pastors are to read in the Divine Service is a non-starter for me. I don't think that is what St. Paul is saying to St. Timothy. And in the history of the Church we've certainly had the office of lector for a very long time - since at least the days of St. Justin Martyr. Our current rite (LSB) clearly permits an "assisting minister" (defined as either ordained or lay) to read the Old Testament and Epistle readings (not to mention to bid the Kyrie, to intone the Gloria in DS 1 and 2, to bid the prayer of the church, to distribute the chalice, and to offer the post-communion collect and chant the benedicamus).

About this person, it says:

"In addition, many congregations select lectors from within the congregation to assist the pastor by reading the Old Testament and Epistle readings. As with all matters pertaining to public worship, good judgment should be exercised in the selection of lectors. Understandably, this selection should be based on their ability to read the Word of God clearly and distinctly in a public setting. Adequate training and coaching of such lectors remains the responsibility of the called pastor, who retains the ultimate responsibility for the proclamation of the Word." [Lectionary, ix]

So, fire away. Pros and cons of the laity serving as lectors for first or second reading of the Divine Service?

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