Wednesday, May 13, 2009


Today was the competition for the Dudley Speech Prize for graduating seniors at Big Old Seminary. We each had to read Isaiah 6:1-8 (the call story with the coal and the tongs and all that) and then either read part of the Great Litany (BCP p 150) or Eucharistic Prayer Rite 1, prayer 1 (the one with more participial phrases than anything in the Pauline corpus). I think there were about 20 of us who did it.

It was an oddly lovely feeling to do the Eucharistic Prayer standing at the altar, reading from the altar book, doing the manual acts that accompany it. No chalice or paten or elements, of course, so it was rather like dancing on one of those mats with the footprints and arrows and numbers instead of spinning in the arms of a dear one, but it still was close enough to send a chill down my spine.

The Isaiah reading is one of my favorites; I've been meditating on it for several years. I hope I did it justice. I had read at the noon Eucharist and had gotten compliments for those readings (Acts and 1 John), so I hope the mojo continued.

I think I did well. I suspect I'm on the short list for the prize. I don't think we will know until Commencement who won, but it was a delight to see my OT professor, one of the judges, smiling broadly while I said "Woe is me, for I am a man with unclean lips and I live among people with unclean lips."

Knowing my proclivity for salty language, truer words were never spoken!

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