And Jesus laughed

Luke 17:11-19

When I read this passage, I’d like to hear the inflection that Jesus gave to these words. “Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they?” The inflection of the words makes a considerable impact on the meaning of the reading as heard, and would tell us much about Jesus’ reaction to the healing of the lepers.

A good reader is a good actor, drawing from the words a richness that they would not otherwise have. Just as there is a great difference in reading a play and seeing and listening to it being performed, so there is a difference in reading scripture silently and hearing it read aloud in church. I sometimes wonder at the grace brought to a reading by a lector who bothered to learn about the text and its meaning, and then tried to give voice not only to the words but their power. And, of course, I sometimes cringe when a stony reading of a lively story makes it leaden and deadly.


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