We have a lector at our parish who instead of saying “A reading from…” says something like “The reading this morning is a selection from…” She also uses a lot of gestures when she proclaims the Word.
Both of these are somewhat irksome to me, although I’m sure she has good intentions. Changing the standard introduction comes across as arrogant – “I’m running the show now, and I like my way better”. And while using gestures is usually encouraged in effective communication, it doesn’t seem appropriate to me when proclaiming the Word. It seems to change, for instance, “A reading from St. Paul” to “A reading from Ms. Lector”, and that comes across as phony since everyone knows it isn’t her letter. Although St. Paul is in a sense speaking through the lector, it seems like there’s a fine line between proclaiming St. Paul’s letter and taking on an acting role and “becoming” St. Paul. The latter seems to cross the line and turn it into a performance.
I’m not 100% convinced of this critique though, so I’d like to solicit your comments and opinions. We have an upcoming workshop where the lectors will have an opportunity to critique each other.