But if someone sitting in the meeting receives a message from God, the one who is speaking should stop. All of you may proclaim God’s message, one by one, so that everyone will learn and be encouraged. The gift of proclaiming God’s message should be under the speaker’s control, because God does not want us to be in disorder but in harmony and peace. (verses 30-33a)
Have you ever been in the stock exchange when it is really busy? People urgently yell out messages to whoever they are trying to communicate with. The noise is amazing, and it’s a wonder that anyone can understand anything that’s going on. Paul urges people in the church not to be like that. Instead, he urges ‘harmony and peace’. The purpose of people worshipping together is that each person may receive the blessings God wants to give us when we come into his presence, and that each may respond to God’s blessings with thanks and praise.
One of the great blessings God gives in worship is his feeding us with his word. He wants what he has to say to us to be clearly heard and understood among all the other noises that go on around us. So Paul encouraged order, people speaking one at a time. People with ‘a message from God’ should have pride of place over those who speak in tongues or speak with their own wisdom.
We too are greatly blessed when our worship is ordered so that God’s word is clearly proclaimed and heard in everything that happens there.
Father, speak to me in worship, so that I may truly grow in faith and live to your glory. Amen.
by Bob Turnbull, in ‘New Strength for each Day’ (LCA, Openbook, 1998)
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