Reading In Worship

About the Word

  • The “Word of God” is not simply the written text – but the speaking of God.  It is the active encounter in which God addresses us and the world.  It isn’t information about God, but God’s encounter with us.
  • The “Word of God” is embodied in Jesus.  He is the living voice of God encountering the world and calling it into faith and discipleship.
  • The “Word of God” is recorded in the scripture.  The living voice that encounters us was written down so that as it is spoken aloud it comes alive to encounter us anew.
  • The reader is not just reading a text the pastor is going to talk about, he or she is speaking anew this ancient word which comes alive in the speaking to encounter the congregation anew.  You are “preaching,” announcing, heralding, proclaiming this word.
  • This doesn’t mean that you need to read the text dramatically, as if you were giving it meaning.  Rather you should be mindful that this word is being spoken to this people and that God is addressing them through the text.  This is why it is valuable to spend time with the text beforehand so that you are aware of what it says and how it might be speaking to us.  (As you ponder the texts, you might look at pastor’s devotions on the texts at Watching for the Morning.)

Reading in The Worship Service

  • Normally, the first reading follows the children’s sermon or the Prayer of the Day.
  • As the children return to their seats – or as the congregation is seated after the prayer – come forward to the lectern.  It is preferable for you to step onto the altar platform from the side entrance by the lectern.
  • As you come to the lectern, open the Bible.  This is a liturgical gesture that reminds us that what is being read comes from the scriptures.
  • You may read from the Bible or from your bulletin.  In either case you should bring your bulletin in order to lead the psalm.
  •  We typically announce the reading only by saying the name of the book: “A reading from Isaiah” or “A reading from the prophet Isaiah.”  (The exact passage is written in the bulletin and seldom would add any important information.)
  • We typically do not say anything at the end of the reading (except for the reading of the Gospel).
  • For the psalm you should acknowledge that we are reading the psalm responsively: “The psalm is Psalm 23 and we will read it responsively.”
  • If the psalm is sung you may step down from the altar platform and sit with the assisting minister.
  • Following the second reading, you may return to your seat.


  • Please come early for a sound check with the sound technicians.