20 August 2008

Yet Another Neglected Rubric

"The readings are introduced simply: 'A reading from _____, chapter ____."

So in Matins and Vespers in the Altar Book. Similarly in the Divine Services. How annoying it is to hear: "Our First reading for this day, the [name of Sunday or feast], comes from the X chapter of the Book of X, beginning at the X verse"! And yet even THAT is better than when the reader seeks to give a "context" to the reading. For Pete's sake! It's GOD'S word that has the power. Let's shut up and get around to it, already. Just telling the book and the chapter more than suffices. Give a brief silence and then plunge into the power of God's own speaking. Do not show your disbelief in the power of God's word by YOUR need to add words to His. Let His words suffice and trust them to do what they promise!

11 comments:

Phil said...

I wholeheartedly agree. It's even worse when the lesson is read by a lay reader who gives (or attempts to give) the context. This is often done in imitation of the pastor.

revalkorn said...

I ever so slightly disagree on one point.

I don't mind, and even appreciate, introducing the OT/First lesson with "The OT reading FOR the XXX Sunday of the Church year", for church year context. Any chance to unobtrusively reinforce the liturgy is welcome, especially in the last congregation I served.

Rev. Eric J Brown said...

In the 1 year lectionary it has you introduce the Sunday before the reading of the Old Testament. The only change I make is instead of saying, "Genesis, chapter 22", I will say, "Genesis, the 22nd chapter" for all readings.

William Weedon said...

No complaint about introducing the OT reading as prescribed during the Divine Service; just a complaint when EVERY reading is so introduced, and the readings at Matins and Vespers are specifically NOT so introduced.

Bryce P Wandrey said...

I used to include the CPH Intro's to each reading on the bulletin. I didn't intend for the readers to read them out loud before each reading. But they did. No great sin committed; just slightly redundant and unneccesary.

I stopped printing them in the bulletin.

Anonymous said...

Amen. Not to mention the fact that most bulletins have the text printed in full for the reader (not hearer) to see.

Karl

Dr Matt Phillips said...

Shouldn't the pastor be explaining the readings in context during his sermon? I'm not a pastor so I don't know. I mean usually the readings relate to one another in some way. Good preachers usually demonstrate that relationship and how it points toward the crucified and risen Christ. I do think it depends on the nature of the congregation as to how much extra explaining a pastor does in a given situation. Some pastors actually "overteach" to get their points across, but history professors do that too.

orrologion said...

As examples, the Orthodox introduction to the Epistle, at its most verbose, is: "The Reading is from the first epistle of the Holy Apostle Paul to the Thessalonians". At Vespers, the introduction to the readings is: "The Reading is from the first book of Moses, called Genesis" or "The Reading is from Job".

While less is more, more is more, too, so these announcements are usually preceded by their own introductions, e.g., the Prokeimenon, "Wisdom! [Σοφια!]", blessing by the priest/bishop, etc.

Anonymous said...

My last straw is when the lay lector (that's second last) says, "Good morning!" and looks like he expects the congregation to answer that.

Helen

Anonymous said...

"Do not show your disbelief in the power of God's word by YOUR need to add words to His."

Does that include crazy things like sermons?

William Weedon said...

A sermon, provided it is doing the job, is not adding words to His, but IS His word!