Wednesday, February 11, 2009

May I Take Your Order?

No, this isn't a post about the modern, slavering, seeker sensitive, church growth fixated, market driven, entrepreneurial pastor phenomenon. Not that I wouldn't mind poking a pointy stick into that concept, but not here, not now. Today, I align the cross hairs of my scope squarely on the congregation squelching, Spirit-wringing, excuse lading concept of order. It seems to me, whatever puts man in charge is called order, and whatever would let the Spirit move is called indecent. What a circumstance to find ourselves in when that which is good is called evil, and that which is evil (or at least religious, oops, same thing!) is called good.

...everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.
1 Corinthians 14:40

What was the Apostle Paul calling for in this verse? Orders of Service? Lectionaries, liturgies, and canons? Is this the excuse for minister orchestrated meetings and sergeants-at-arms to enforce order? I don't think so, considering he's spent the whole chapter before helping Christians understand that a congregational meeting is about participation, not observation. Participation is stifled by co-opting leadership and trampled by mob chaos. Paul attempted to teach a middle road which allowed the fullest possibility of participation, without having the loudest or the strongest take over to everyone else's detriment.

In other words, our services should be arranged (kata taxin) [ordered] with full participation in view. Our participation should be offered in good form (euschemonos) [decently]. Paul was not telling us to idolatrously substitute the direction of our meetings by a guy up front for the leading of the Holy Spirit! I'm beginning to wonder, however, whether or not that is what we're most comfortable with.

God in charge means mystery, uncertainty-- the possibilities that our hearts will be laid bare with no place to hide except in the love of Christ. We might not get out in time to get a table at the restaurant. With that in view, please be advised: when the Holy Spirit drops into our meetings and asks to take our order, he doesn't mean he's there to kowtow to our wishes!


Dr. D said...

SLW: Yes you can take my order! Good job Pastor, excellent post.

Anonymous said...

the first paragraph reads like a poem.

the whole post makes me think of wildly wonderful possibilities.

SLW said...

Dr. D,
Would that we all took our orders from the Holy Spirit.

SLW said...

Am I a poet and don't know it? ;-)

I like wildly wonderful possibilities!