God is not a God of confusion. In fact, he is a God who brings order out of confusion.
The account of creation states that the Spirit of God brought order out of chaos.
The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters (Genesis 1.2).
The Spirit moved over the formless and void (chaos) of the deep, bringing creation and order into the world.
It makes sense that Christian worship should reflect God’s order, not chaos.
Paul wrote to make that point to the church.
— 1 Corinthians 14.29-33 – Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others weigh what is said.
If a revelation is made to someone else sitting nearby, let the first person 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 the prophets, for God is a God not of disorder but of peace.
Even though Christian worship can be spontaneous with various elements of expression present, order is important.
Here are some thoughts.
(1) Persons who prophesy are not to interrupt another speaker. They may be inspired by the Holy Spirit, but they are expected to control their utterance.
In today’s YouTube video with Rudy Ross, I explain how I have approached this counsel. I give two examples, one that I regret and the other that is acceptable.
(2) Prophecy is designed to teach and encourage the assembly.
Prophecy should not be confused with a sermon. It is a message that the Holy Spirit wants the congregation to hear at that particular moment.
In an earlier article, I wrote about the practice of Quakers during early American history. They waited in silence until the Spirit gave inspiration.
Through a prophetic word, the Quakers became staunch opponents of slavery.
Their behavior was certainly informed by many Bible passages about the treatment of humans. The inspiration of the Holy Spirit moved them to constructive action.
(3) Worship reveals the character of God.
God is not a God of chaos and disorder. Yes, worship can be spontaneous, but it should reflect God’s orderly character.
Worship is the window through which a non-Christian world gains its understanding of God.
The example of the Russian Orthodox Patriarch’s endorsement of Putin and his justification of war against Ukraine reflects so poorly on the nature of God that I don’t have words to explain it.
Thankfully, hundreds of Russian Orthodox clergy, scholars, and laypeople have issued a document that strongly opposes the public pronouncements of Patriarch Kirill.
Clergy scandals paint God in a horrible light.
Worship services that cater to the faithful may cause an uninitiated visitor to believe that God is only accessible to those who are already on the team.
The point of all of this is that what the church does in worship reflects God’s character. Let’s do all we can to magnify God’s nature to the world around us.
Prayer for Ukraine
I estimate that I have officiated somewhere around 1500 funerals in the fifty years I have served as a pastor. No matter the age of the loved one, the family grieves their loss.
I can not imagine how traumatic it would be for a clergy person of Ukraine or Russia to officiate funerals on the scale that is currently taking place.
One of my seminary professors told of his experiences during World War II. When he came to a family, people assumed he was bringing news of the death of a soldier.
Because he had to frequently give the most painful news a parent could hear, his presence was not welcomed by church members.
The grief of 50,000 or more avoidable deaths in 55 days must be overwhelming for families and those who serve them.
When I pray for the war in Ukraine, I ask God for the least number of casualties.
Let’s pray for the church to be faithful representatives of God’s love at this time.
Rudy Ross and I have recorded a YouTube video on this topic. It is found on the Bob Spradling channel.
Please email your prayer request to email@example.com or private message me on Facebook. The Maywood prayer team will pray for you.