Monday, March 5, 2007


Toward the middle of a Catholic Mass, a lector leads the congregation in a series of six or eight short prayers -- intercessions for the needs of spiritual and civic leaders, people suffering around the world, the sick or troubled in the local parish, the recently deceased, and so on. The lector ends each intercession with, “We pray to the Lord,” and the congregation responds, “Lord, hear our prayer.”

Sometimes, the script changes and the congregation gets a different line. Yesterday, the lector announced the new line and then prayed the first intercession. But had no one been listening? When it came time, the congregation responded with the smallest spatter of voices, most of which were, “Lord, hear our prayer.”

Following the second intercession, the lector helpfully (and nearly solo) prayed the congregation’s response, too: “Stay with us, Lord.” Then she read the third intercession and, thoroughly prepped now, the congregation responded -- with a half-and-half mix of the two replies! After the fourth intercession, the lector brought her mouth directly to the microphone. “Stay with us, Lord,” she boomed.

And after the fifth, the congregation, as one voice, boomed back: “Lord, hear our prayer.”

In your story … what happens next?

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