Once a year, at Thanksgiving, we have a worship service like the one described in 1 Corinthians 14:
"When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up. If any speak in a tongue, let there be only two or at most three, and each in turn, and let someone interpret. But if there is no one to interpret, let each of them keep silent in church and speak to himself and to God. Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others weigh what it said. If a revelation is made to another sitting there, let the first be silent. For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all be encouraged, and the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets" (verses 26-32).
It's funny. Whenever I used to read this in the past, in my head I heard the first verse in a scolding tone: "When you come together (you obstreperous people!), each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation." But there is no good reason why I should have thought that; Paul is simply describing what actually goes on in the worship service. And now he is going to give instructions on how to do that very normal thing in an orderly manner.
Far from censuring the practices he is about to instruct on, Paul commends their observance: "Let all things be done for building up" (v.26b). That is to say, do not forbid any of these faith-building practices-individual brothers choosing hymns, sharing lessons or revelations, speaking of tongues, provided there is a person at the meeting who has the gift of interpreting tongues. (Paul had talked about that earlier in his letter, in 1 Corinthians 12:10.)
So here in the 21st century, once a year, our church has a worship service like this that departs from the usual Sunday practice. And everybody who goes is blessed and says they can't wait until next Thanksgiving when we have a service like that again.
I have a question for you, readers: Since this kind of worship service-the kind that makes room for Spirit-led congregational suggestions of hymns, sharing of testimonies, and sharing of revelations (I have also been in a church service in Texas that allowed tongues.)-is so helpful and uplifting once a year, and since it is the worship described in the Bible, and our more typical modern American worship service is not described in the Bible, then why can't we do this a little more often? Like, say, twice a year? Or 52 times a year? I would like to know how you all see the Scripture on this point.
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