If you are praising God with your spirit, how can one who finds himself among those who do not understand say “Amen” to your thanksgiving, since he does not know what you are saying? You may be giving thanks well enough, but the other man is not edified. I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you. But in the church I would rather speak five intelligible words to instruct others than ten thousand words in a tongue (1 Corinthians 14:16-17).
This is a tough one for today’s society to get its collective head around.
See, our society is very focused on rights–what I get to do for me, and has lost sight of duty–what I am obliged to do for others.
We’re way out of balance.
As a result, we enter the church with the idea–often unconscious–that the service is all about us and our individual relationship with God. With that premise, we do what we gotta do for our own edification. Sometimes that comes at the expense of others.
Correct me if I am wrong, but Paul seems to be saying that our public worship should be informed by an awareness of those around us and an understanding of how our actions might impact them.
Have I mentioned Flag Lady to you before? Basically, I once attended a church that was, shall we say, demonstrative in its worship. Jumping, waving, dancing–you get the picture. One day a woman decided that she needed to worship God with the shiny gold pennants she just happened to have with her.
Said pennants were about three feet long each, and she danced up and down the aisle waving them in a fever of ecstasy. Beloved, I do not say that she was not worshiping. Her worship may have been genuine, sincere, and deeply fulfilling for her.
The rest of us, however, were a bit distracted as we dove for cover.
How many ways, how many times, can Paul say it’s not about us?
Happy Wednesday, Beloved