One of my greatest joys as a lecturer is supervising my students in the field. For three months of this long holiday, our finalists (seniors) have been serving in parishes, and we visit them to see how things are going. It’s so much fun to see them out of the classroom, see them minister to their congregations, and hear about their joys and struggles in ministry, and be able to encourage them in their calling.
Recently I visited with David, who is serving in a large and vibrant parish. He shared that when he took a reading in staff devotions, he remembered what I said in chapel about how to end a reading, and he concluded with “The Word of the Lord.” The staff was surprised at this, so explained why he did it. And then on Sunday, the reader ended the reading with “The Word of the Lord.” What we do can have a powerful rippling effect.
I was absolutely overjoyed. Yes, it’s a small thing, but it means that my students are listening! Here, readers often end with “Here ends the reading,” to which the congregation replies, “Thanks be to God.”
No, we aren’t happy that the reading is over. We are noting the conclusion of the reading of a passage of Scripture, as opposed to the Apocrypha (which isn’t read in the Church of Uganda, so this always takes a bit of explaining). My students know this is a pet peeve of mine, and we discuss it in our post-chapel debriefs ad infinitum. And now it appears that at least one student is listening! Thanks be to God!