What it Means to Me to be a Lector – Grace Francomb

I always was a big ham.

Grace Francomb

From about age three I was dancing on amphitheater stages at the park and shouting “crucify him!” with as much gusto as I could muster during Good Friday services. I thrived in dramatic moments and in front of crowds. I also felt deeply connected to my faith and longed to get involved at church. To my chagrin, my parents wanted to leave altar serving to boys discerning the priesthood. “You’ll find your place to serve,” they told me. “You just have to be patient.”

In middle school I found that place when my dad and I started lectoring together. It was such a joy. As a literary enthusiast, I savored the words and tried out inflections for effect. And my dramatic flair was tickled as I told epic stories in front of the congregation. Around this time I began to read The Word Among Us reflections on the daily Mass readings with breakfast, and throughout high school, I learned how to truly dig into the rich characterization, poetry, and symbolism present in scripture. Most importantly, I learned that God had something personal to say to me when he spoke through his Word. It was uncanny how often the Mass readings were relevant to something that had happened that day. I began to discover motifs and allegories not only on the pages of the missal but in my own life.

I always prayed that my experience with the relevance of scripture would overflow into the listeners when I lectored. What a gift, to be the one who spoke the words of love that God was whispering to someone feeling unlovable, to be the mouthpiece of God’s challenge for a sleeping soul, to bring a thrill of joy to someone who felt trapped in sorrow.

“But isn’t all this pretty attention-seeking?” nags the voice in my head. Possibly. But in the proper context, the lector should be somewhat invisible. Just like a great actor “becomes” a completely different person when the character they inhabit takes over, so too should lectors fade into the background of the message and the One they speak for. Certainly, each actor and lector will approach a character or text in a unique way that points to their specific God-given sensibilities and experiences, but the goal is to let those aspects of personality serve the larger picture of what they are trying to portray. Contrary to the self-centered diva, lectoring can be a lesson in the art of self-forgetfulness, self-gift, even death to self.

On the opposite end of the naysayer spectrum lives a little voice that whispers, “How could you stand up in front of people and make a fool of yourself when you might mess up?” The answer, however, is the same as before: serve the message. God can make great things come out of real mess-ups. Just look at what good came out of the Crucifixion. So now, reader, I ask you to consider how God is calling you to enter more deeply into the message of salvation. That may start with five minutes a day looking over the Mass readings and ask God how this applies to your life. It may be something more radical, like volunteering to be a lector at St. Andrew. Just know that Jesus is always calling us deeper, and we have been given a great gift to bear the story of salvation. Take a risk – maybe you are called to be the mouthpiece of God as a lector.

Bread From Heaven

LogoAlthough we often think of Jesus as a Christian he was a devote Jew who followed all the precepts of Judaism. He was born of a Jewish woman, in a Jewish town in Galilee, was circumcised, studied the Torah, celebrated Jewish feasts, took pilgrimages to Jerusalem, taught in Synagogues, and celebrated Passover with his apostles. So, why is this important to Catholics? It is simple; the origins of the Catholic Mass are rooted in Jewish customs, history and scripture.

Exodus 16:4-6  Then the Lord said to Moses; I am going to rain down bread from heaven for you. Each day the people are to go out and gather their daily portion; thus will I test them to see whether they follow my instructions or not. On the sixth day, however, when they prepare what they bring in, let it be twice as much as they gather on the other days.

Scripture tells us that the Jewish people were waiting for a political messiah who would set them free, a new Exodus, if you will. As the Jews were fleeing Egypt, God took care of them every morning and night for forty years. Each morning in the desert the Jews found dew on the ground and when it dried, it was like flakes and they asked what it was. Moses said, “It is the bread which the Lord has given you to eat.” And, each evening, they were fed quail. The bread was called manna and in the desert, any manna that was not consumed was stored in a tabernacle. A candle was lit next to the tabernacle to indicate that there was manna stored within. The Lord fed the Israelites for 40 years, manna in the morning and quail in the evening. The manna was referred to as “bread from heaven.”

Source:  The Jewish Roots of the Eucharist, Brant Pitre

Tabernacle and Lamp

Today the unused consecrated hosts remain in our tabernacle for the sick and dying. When the candle next to it is lit; you know the tabernacle has consecrated hosts in it.

The Tabernacle at St. Andrew The Apostle Church

The Worship Commission

 

 

 

God is Calling You

LogoLiturgy is the public worship of the people of God. The shape and substance of liturgy has evolved from primeval history to our current time. Indeed, liturgy is the principal means of renewing and maintaining the promises between God and his people in the history of salvation. The word “liturgy” comes from the Greek leitourgia, which means “public service.”

In ancient Greece, this meant not only fulfilling civic duties but also religious duties to the gods. The word appears only six times in the Greek New Testament but is used over forty times in the Greek Old Testament, where it most often translates to the Hebrew meaning “service” or “worship.” In early Christian writings, the term “liturgy” referred to the sacramental worship of the Church with all its actions and dimensions. Related terms in Greek include leitourgia, “to serve, worship,” and leitourgos, “servant, minister.”

Source: The Catholic Bible Dictionary, Scott Hahn

In the months that follow, several times during the month, you will find information in the Bulletin, or on the Through the Open Doors Blog on the St. Andrew Church website, or on the St. Andrew Facebook Page, there will be information for you to read and maybe even some videos to watch to help you understand how God may be calling you to participate in our liturgy more fully. We will have information on the history of the Mass including where some the rituals and symbols originated, as well as information on the various ministries. While we are each called to worship in different ways, God may be calling you to serve your community in a particular ministry.

. . . are you listening?

 

The Worship Commission