Work in liturgical ministry long enough and you eventually pick up new material for this thread. I just picked up a new story tonight at our midnight Christmas liturgy. My choir director handed the Apostol to me during the Trisagion hymn and said, "You're reading the Epistle tonight." Fully expecting him to take the reading based on our earlier conversations today, I was caught totally off guard by his request but obeyed it anyway. I read from the Epistles every so often for our regular Sunday services, so this is nothing new to me. Even so, I do like to have some time to prepare so I know what I'm doing.
After receiving our priest's blessing to read, I opened the Apostol to the page to which my choir director pointed me but couldn't find the Prokeimenon on my first cursory scan, so I had to have him find it and read it just to get me started. I then had no time to find the correct reading. Noticing that the Bible on our readers' stand was opened to the right Epistle, I trusted at least that it might be the right reading, so I read what was there. I thought it didn't sound quite right to me, though, for it didn't exactly fit the Christmas festivities. (I found out later that I was supposed to have read from Galatians Chapter 4; I actually read from Galatians Chapter 2. At least the Bible was open to the right book, or else I would have REALLY been confused.
Other than the opening hiccup with the Prokeimenon, I executed the reading so smoothly I doubt that most of the congregation even figured out I was reading the wrong lesson, but those who knew the rubrics knew that I had done something wrong. After I finished the reading and returned to my place in the choir, all my choir director could do was look at me and say, "Whoops!
" I thought about saying, "Yeah, thanks buddy!
" but I knew that wouldn't be appropriate for Divine Liturgy. Oh well. At least when he finally told our priest after the service what had happened, Father congratulated me for how I handled the situation, though I'm still not exactly sure why.