Leave Your Baggage in the Pew : Blog for Lectors and Messengers of The Word

Leave Your Baggage in the Pew

by George Miller on 11/24/12

The opportunities we have to comfort and uplift our fellow parishioners are right before us each time we approach the ambo. But along with those opportunities comes that ongoing competition of worldly day-to-day preoccupations and noise level that can block our hearts from taking in the word of God.

In Henri J.M. Nouwen's A Cry for Mercy, he asks our Lord, "How can your word be effective when it is received by a thorny heart, a heart constantly and scrupulously reflecting on what happened yesterday and anxiously anticipating what will happen tomorrow, a heart perverted by guilt, jealously, envy and lust, a heart always restless and in turmoil? It's no surprise that such a heart prevents your word from bearing fruit."

As lectors, however, we can clear the path for God's word to enter our listeners' hearts and bear that fruit when we've prepared our readings well, and have also cleared our hearts and minds of any outside preoccupations.

If we carry our own baggage and thorny hearts to the ambo, our countenance may not be inviting enough for our listeners to take in God's word and allow it to bear the fruit Fr. Nouwen refers to. See our post, The Morning Of... about putting ourselves in a state of spiritual readiness before our time to proclaim.

Also, the next time you're on your way up to the ambo, pray this short, last-minute prayer:

 Lord, cleanse my mind from any thoughts outside of your word which I'm about to proclaim. Lift the thorns from my heart so I may be a worthy vessel for your voice to reach the hearts of your listeners with its love and healing power.

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The grass withers, the flower wilts, but the word of our God stands forever... Isaiah 40:8

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