“’People read to know they’re not alone.’

“The word of God proclaimed when the community of believers gathers to worship brings this thought to fulfillment in a most profound way. When the word of God is read, we come to know we are not alone. The word of God mediates presence, human and divine. It acts to bring its hearers into communion, linking all who listen at this moment with one another, with those known and unknown authors whose words continue to be read aloud year after year, and with all those who form that great throng of believers who over countless generations have heard these words in their own day and have been nourished and sustained by them. But, most of all, these words entrusted now to us, bind us anew to the One who is the origin of these words, who has spoken ‘in times past in partial and various ways,’ but who in the fullness of time spoke to us through the Son ‘whom he made heir of all things and through whom he created the universe, who is the refulgence of his glory, the very imprint of his being, and who sustains all things by his mighty word’ (Heb 1:1-3). When we hear God’s word and accept it in faith, truly we are not alone.

“As lectors, then, we are given the improbable task of expressing the inexpressible: God’s unfathomable and ongoing love for all creation, God’s ongoing plan of redemption and salvation for all the world, God’s ongoing work of sanctifying all who have been made in the divine image. From the beginning God has called others to help bring this work to completion, and God continues to enlist the efforts of all the children of the various faith traditions, but especially those who have been adopted as sons and daughters through water and the Spirit, and who gather to break the bread and share the cup of the crucified and risen Lord Jesus Christ. In order for this great act of worship to be done with faith, women and men are appointed to this ministry of lector, joining that long line of prophets – Moses and Miram, Isaiah and Hulda, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Anna and Simeon, Mary of Nazareth, Peter and Paul, the beloved disciple and Mary Magdalene – through whom the word of the Lord has been spoken to the people of God chose as peculiarly God’s own. The fulfillment of this ministry currently rests with us. And so, my friends: ‘Let the word of God dwell in you richly . . .’ (Col 3:16).”

-Fr. James A. Wallace, C.Ss.R.

James A. Wallace, C.Ss.R., Ph.D., is professor of homiletics at Washington Theological Union and co-editor of “New Theology Review.”

Training and on going formation is provided for this ministry. If you are interested in this ministry, please contact jaken@stmichaelsduluth.org.