We had an unusual worship service at our church. There were hymns and an offering and a short sermon, as usual. But the floor was thrown open to anyone who had a word to share—of thanks, of confession, or Scripture for our encouragement.
Nancy went first, who had put her life on hold to organize relief efforts for the folks in a nearby apartment complex whose earthly goods went up in flames. She thanked the Lord for the outpouring of God’s people toward their fellow townsmen. We were all inspired by Nancy’s words.
Norma got up and told us how her house has been broken into, how she lost her job, and how she got turned away at the border of Turkey. She gave thanks to God anyway.
Dave the lawyer went to the podium and said he had heard the same sirens as Nancy but had jumped in his car and raced to the scene to position himself for the best view of the flames. He said his father had always done that when he was a kid—he thought everybody did that. Later at home my son and I said we never would have had the nerve to confess what Dave had confessed after Nancy’s talk.
Then Geri stood up and proceeded to come clean with so many sins that I could hardly look up. But when the sky didn’t fall it made me feel I could possibly confess my sins, too.
The most touching testimony was Chris’, a young man who had suffered a stroke that has left him impaired. He told us how he came to faith when he read what Jesus said to the inquiring Apostles about the man born blind—that it had not been because of his parents’ sin but for the glory of God.
As far as I know, there is only one place in the New Testament that describes a worship service in detail, and it is 1 Corinthians 14:26-40, where the sharing of a Psalm, a teaching, a tongue, or a revelation are commended, if they are done in an orderly fashion. I know I speak for many in my church that this was the most encouraging worship service of the year. Since it seems to be a regular thing in the early church, I am rather hoping we can do it more often.