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1 Cor 14 and church services February 14, 2007

Posted by Cobus in church, Emerging Church, Missional, theology.

A few nights ago, after a meeting at church, I started chatting to a friend, or she started chatting to me, don’t really know, we had a chat. We talked about God, about theology, we talked about questions that neither of us would dare to ask in most contexts, but it’s questions we are seriously struggling with. Somewhere along the line we talked about the church. We specifically started talking about Sunday church services, and what people would think if they were to walk in.

What would someone think if they knew nothing about church and walked into our service? They would most probably think we are crazy. Sadly enough they might just be reminded about that cult video Glenn had a link to a few weeks ago.But, we realised as the conversation went along, ritual isn’t bad. Every relationship has rituals, and that’s just as, or so much more important in our relationship with God. So the problem doesn’t necessarily equal the fact of ritual. I’m reading Solomon’s Porch community’s book Reimagining Spiritual Formationat the moment, and on p16 of 18 someone wrote how much he learned from a high liturgy church, I think it was Anglican. And I can identify with that in a way.

OK, let me try and explain what I was thinking. 1 Cor 14 came to mind, and no, I’m weren’t thinking about speaking in tongs, and I’m not writing about that. But I remembered something Paul wrote, 1 Cor 14:23-24 “Therefore if the whole church comes together in one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those who are uninformed or unbelievers, will they not say that you are out of your mind? But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or an uninformed person comes in, he is convinced by all, he is convicted by all.”

I think Paul at least wanted them to know that when they come together, it should be done in such a way that someone from the outside can come in, and be able to understand what is going on, so that the gospel can reach that person as well. But I sat in the church for years, studies theology for a couple as well, and still I struggle to follow the liturgies at times, how much more someone who didn’t study it? Who didn’t grow up with it?

But I said that I can identify with the guy who said he learned a lot from the high liturgy church. I did too. Sometimes I feel that liturgies are just hollow, it’s just a couple of songs put together to fill the time.

I believe the liturgy need to grow from inside the congregation, and grow in a way that have meaning to them. And then they need to put it together in a way that others understand. And if that means we don’t get to all 14 or how many elements of the service. So be it. As long as that which we do has meaning, and is done in a way that can be understood by people, also from the outside.


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