I’m lector at church,

the second lesson,

St. Paul’s epistle

to the Galatians.

That’s good,

no hard words.

First lesson has

too many tongue-

twisting names

except during

Easter season,

when you luck out

and get the Acts.

Years of teaching

and poetry readings

have given me

plenty of practice,

and I like to read,

though not always

to get up in time

for the 9:30 service;

among the things

I’m most thankful for,

the speech therapist

who truly changed

my life when

I went away to college.

Something had

gone awry in

adolescence, my voice

was a squeaky

quaver, not suitable

for the teacher

I was destined

to become.

Now people say

I read well,

and I’m grateful

for the gift.

Standing in the

pulpit, which,


the priest never uses,

looking out at

the congregation

looking up at me

or down at the

leaflets with the

printed lesson,

I can’t help

wondering why

I’m here, how

I’m qualified.

I believe, but

my theology

is too flexible,

my humanity

too human,

too flawed, I

have needs I

wonder why

God gave me

if I’m not to

try to fill them.

I have tried,

and I’ve confessed

and been, I hope,

forgiven, but

I know the process

will require


“And they

glorified God

because of me,”

Paul tells

the Galatians.

I’m not sure

if he’s boasting

or merely stating

facts—if he

were reading

the lesson himself,

would he stress

God or me?

I emphasize

God, hope

I’m at least

a humble,




Copyright 2013

T. Allen Culpepper


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