Bread and Wine

Readings and Sermon

We sit to hear the readings. Hearing the Word of God is to our worship and faith. The book of Revelation says, "Blessed is he who reads aloud the words of the prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written therein; for the time is near" (1:3).

There are normally four biblical readings each Sunday. Over the three-year cycle, called a lectionary, much of the Bible is read aloud during the Eucharist. The readings are on an insert in your bulletin.

Generally, there is a reading from the Hebrew Scriptures or Old Testament. Although called old, this testament is still valid for Christians. A member of the congregation reads the lessons.

A psalm follows the Old Testament reading. The psalms were hymns sung for worship in the ancient Jewish Temple in Israel. Christians have said, sung and prayed these for centuries, because they beautifully express to God all the human emotions.

A young person leads the psalm that is said responsively with the congregation. Whether young or old, all are important and involved in our praise of God.

Next comes a reading from the Christian Scriptures or New Testament. These were originally letters, sermons, and histories of the earliest Christians. Although they spoke to particular situations, the principles that guided them still guide us today.

The last reading is from one of four Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Gospel means Good News. The Gospel is read in the middle of the congregation, symbolic that Christ, the Word of God, is in our midst.  Since the Gospel tells the story of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, people stand and face the person reading it out of respect for Jesus.  A verse or two of a hymn is sung before and after the Gospel reading.

Following the Gospel a sermon is preached, usually by an ordained person but occasionally by a lay person. The sermon connects what we have heard in one or more of the readings with our day-to-day lives so that we might live more faithfully in the image of Christ.

Responses to the Reading and Gospel

The reader announces the lesson saying,
A Reading (Lesson) from ____________ .

After each Reading, the Reader says, The Word of the Lord.

The people respond, Thanks be to God.

All standing, the Deacon or a Priest reads the Gospel, first saying

The Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to_________ .
The People answer, Glory to you, Lord Christ.

After the Gospel, the Deacon or Priest says,The Gospel of the Lord.

The people answer, Praise to you, Lord Christ.