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A selection of scripture that serves as a reading for a church service. It is also known as a lection or a reading. The BCP appoints lessons for the eucharist in the Lectionary (pp. 889-931), and it appoints lessons for Morning and Evening Prayer in the Daily Office Lectionary (pp. 936-1001). Appropriate lessons for other services, such as An Order of Service for Noonday and Compline, are provided in those services. The gospel at the eucharist is to be read by a deacon, or by a priest or bishop if a deacon is unavailable. All other lessons may be read by lay people. The NT lesson at the eucharist is also known as the epistle. A lay person who reads a lesson is known as a lector. Lessons may be said or sung. Lessons have been announced since the twelfth century. The 1549 Prayer Book required the announcement of the lesson to include the citation of the chapter from scripture, and the 1662 BCP required citation of the verse. The 1979 BCP makes citation of the chapter and verse optional. The lector need only say "A reading (or lesson) from _________," and name the scriptural book which is the source of the lesson. Similarly, the deacon who announces the gospel need only say "The Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to _________." After each lesson at Morning and Evening Prayer and after the lessons other than the gospel at the eucharist, the lector may say "The Word of the Lord," to which the congregation responds "Thanks be to God." Alternatively, the lector may also conclude the lesson by saying "Here ends the lesson (reading)." No congregational response follows this statement. Silence may follow each lesson at Morning and Evening Prayer. Silence may also follow each lesson at the eucharist other than the gospel. See Lectionary. 

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from "An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians," Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.
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