1 Corinthians 14:1-25 (NIV)
Intelligibility in Worship
14 Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy. 2 For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to people but to God. Indeed, no one understands them; they utter mysteries by the Spirit. 3 But the one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouraging and comfort. 4 Anyone who speaks in a tongue edifies themselves, but the one who prophesies edifies the church. 5 I would like every one of you to speak in tongues, but I would rather have you prophesy. The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues, unless someone interprets, so that the church may be edified. 6 Now, brothers and sisters, if I come to you and speak in tongues, what good will I be to you, unless I bring you some revelation or knowledge or prophecy or word of instruction? 7 Even in the case of lifeless things that make sounds, such as the pipe or harp, how will anyone know what tune is being played unless there is a distinction in the notes? 8 Again, if the trumpet does not sound a clear call, who will get ready for battle? 9 So it is with you. Unless you speak intelligible words with your tongue, how will anyone know what you are saying? You will just be speaking into the air. 10 Undoubtedly there are all sorts of languages in the world, yet none of them is without meaning. 11 If then I do not grasp the meaning of what someone is saying, I am a foreigner to the speaker, and the speaker is a foreigner to me. 12 So it is with you. Since you are eager for gifts of the Spirit, try to excel in those that build up the church. 13 For this reason the one who speaks in a tongue should pray that they may interpret what they say. 14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful. 15 So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my understanding; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my understanding. 16 Otherwise when you are praising God in the Spirit, how can someone else, who is now put in the position of an inquirer, say “Amen” to your thanksgiving, since they do not know what you are saying? 17 You are giving thanks well enough, but no one else is edified. 18 I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you. 19 But in the church, I would rather speak five intelligible words to instruct others than ten thousand words in a tongue. 20 Brothers and sisters, stop thinking like children. In regard to evil be infants, but in your thinking be adults. 21 In the Law it is written: “With other tongues and through the lips of foreigners I will speak to this people, but even then they will not listen to me, says the Lord.” 22 Tongues, then, are a sign, not for believers but for unbelievers; prophecy, however, is not for unbelievers but for believers. 23 So if the whole church comes together and everyone speaks in tongues, and inquirers or unbelievers come in, will they not say that you are out of your mind? 24 But if an unbeliever or an inquirer comes in while everyone is prophesying, they are convicted of sin and are brought under judgment by all, 25 as the secrets of their hearts are laid bare. So they will fall down and worship God, exclaiming, “God is really among you!”
Have you ever been to a worship service that seemed chaotic and disorderly? What was it like?
Holy God, Precious Savior, Everlasting King. I praise and worship You with my entire being. Through Your Mercy and Grace, you have given me the joy of Your salvation. I love to gather in the fellowship of others to worship You and to hear Your Word. As traditional Lutherans, the method we use to worship is outlined and methodical. We cannot color outside of the lines. We don’t know how to go with the flow. If things are not done the way it has always been done it creates a chaotic and disorderly feel. This whole covid thing has pushed people away, created distractions and fear has resulted in a thwarting of the Holy Spirit in our church. When our attention is distracted by other things, when we have our eye on the clock or have a judgmental heart, we close the channel for the Spirit to speak to us and to others. Lord, please revive the fire of Your Holy Spirit in our church through passionate preaching, singing, praying, and serving. I am not asking for a brilliant and perfect presentation to entertain me, but that You make Yourself known to me through the music and the sermon so that I hear You speaking directly to me. Let us loosen up and be flexible as we respond to Your Spirit in worship. Let my soul be acceptant to what You speak to my heart. Help me recognize Your voice and act according to Your will. I am so eager for gifts of the Spirit that build up the church. Thank You for those who clearly hear Your Spirit’s voice and share with others to help them grow in faith, hope, and Your everlasting love. Let our passion to worship and serve You attract those from the world who are in need of Your salvation. We are all Your children and You are our Holy Father. Let us live together in hope now as we worship and serve, focusing on Your kingdom through eternity. Amen