We call the bible the word of God, and rightly so. But it is perhaps even more exact to call it the story of the word of God. We recognise that the bible, which is patently the work of human hands, nonetheless contains a voice which is far more than human, a voice which we say is God’s. It is a voice which goes to the heart of the world’s darkness, emptiness and chaos and draws from them light, fullness and order. That is why when we come to Mass, we leave nothing behind. As we listen to the scripture proclaimed, we bring our darkness, emptiness and chaos to the God who speaks. Bishop Mark Coleridge
The truths in the above paragraph can have an influence on the way we proclaim the Word in the Liturgy. Here are two easy-to-implement suggestions for readers.
When you come to the book for the proclamation of the Word, do it calmly and without rush. Look at the page, find the place, perhaps even put a finger on the first sentence, take in the heading (for example, A reading from the letter to the Hebrews), then look up at the congregation and while still looking at the congregation proclaim the introduction in such a way that suggests “Listen to this: we are about to hear the wonderful, empowering, enlightening, inspiring Word of God. Drop everything – even your distractions – and listen”.
Having done that go on with the reading/proclamation of the text.
At the end of the passage, pause for a few moments to draw distinctive attention to what you are going to say next, then, while again looking at the congregation all the time, deliberately proclaim the words “The Word of the Lord” in such a way that invites a strong and grateful prayer in response “Thanks be to God”.
Unfortunately, the opposite sometimes happens: the introduction and the conclusion are read quietly and quickly, with eyes cast down. With a spoiled beginning and end, a reading’s effectiveness is limited.