I'm a lector with my church and have been for several years now.
Normally when it's my weekend to read, I grab the readings a few days ahead of the service so I have a chance to practice them and work through any complicated passages or tongue-twisting biblical names, such as Sepharvaim or Apharsachites
But last night I received a call from our church asking if I could fill in for the All Saints Day service at the last minute. "No problem," I said. I figured I could get there a few minutes early and get familiar with the readings then. But alas, one thing led to another and suddenly I found myself arriving with only enough time to briefly review the readings and hope they weren't too complicated.
Then the time came for the first reading. It was a bit longer than normal but my quick-scan gave me comfort that there were no complex words to worry about.
I began with confidence...
"A reading from the book of Revelations..."
Everything was going great. The words were flowing off my tongue like a sweet stream of milk chocolate to the people's ears.
And then out of nowhere - THIS passage:
They stood before the throne and before the Lamb, wearing white robes and holding palm branches in their hands.
I began the paragraph...
"They stood before the throne and before the Lamb, waawing white wobes...
W E A R I N G white (phew)... wobes."
Perfect. Suddenly I'm Elmer Fudd reading the scripture.
"They quied out in a woud voice, 'Salvation comes fwom our God, not fwom some wascawy wabbit.'"
Of course being being the seasoned lector that I am, I had no choice but to continue through the reading as if nothing was unusual. After all, the odds of running across another tongue twister like that one were nill.
And so I marched on, flawlessly reading the remaining passages with the skill and expertise I had developed over so many years. I was feeling good that I had regained my composure and was quite sure the congregation wouldn't even remember that I had stumbled earlier. Like I said, it was a longer reading, but I was on my home stretch now. Everything was going to be just fine.
Then suddenly - my peripheral "pre-scan" of the next sentence sees THIS passage coming out of nowhere...
Who are these wearing white robes, and where did they come from?
Holy crap, it can't be! What cruel twist of fate would put this horrible phrase in the same reading - TWICE?!!
I began to sweat - but I had no choice. There was nothing else I could do but take this sucker head on. And so I began...
"Who are these waawing white wobes, and where did they come from?"
Ya. So much for the congregation not remembering.
After the Mass I gweeted all my fellow pawishoners. Then I gwabbed my hunting cap and headed home.