Monday, October 13, 2014

Speaking In Tongues (part 34)

Subjection to another, that seeking and taking out of the lowest place, which was spoken of and modeled by Jesus, with the strengthening of the church and the emanation of justice as the Creator God sees it (supremely concerned for orphans and widows and lepers and children and all of those considered to be the lowest of all) that flows from one’s spirit-led activities as the measuring stick for true spirituality (not speaking in tongues or the exercise of other specific gifts in isolation, as constructed by one particular church community), is a vital and crucial element of true worship of Jesus and of the Father. 

Therefore, with the ceaseless and nearly inescapable striving for honor in mind, it is finally possible to hear Paul say “If someone does not recognize this, he is not recognized” (1 Corinthians 14:38).  By now, it should be realized that the language of “recognition” is the language of the court of public opinion, of reputation, and of honor.  Again, true recognition, and therefore true honor within the body of the Christ, belongs solely to the Lord of the body.  This is displayed when the one that would sit in the place of honor in the surrounding world or in any other type of association, actively subjects himself or herself to those that would be deemed less honorable outside the body of Christ, serving them with the same type of love and compassion that was displayed by the Creator God’s action of venturing forth to join and serve His creation, and the venturing forth to the cross as the summation and climax of that service.

“So then, brother and sisters,” as Paul writes in the hopes that his message about this particular issue has been properly conveyed, received, and understood, “be eager to prophesy” (14:39a), for this, engaged in by all, will encourage, console, and strengthen the church, while convicting and calling all, even the unbeliever and uninformed, to account for failures to rightly bear the divine image.  “And,” furthermore, Paul tells them that even though it has been problematic and has created a situation that has been antithetical to the true nature of the church, now that you better understand how best to put this ancient religious practice to proper use within the church, and now that you better understand the way that believers are supposed to manifest the Spirit of the covenant God and to respond to activities that manifest the Spirit of that God among you, “do not forbid anyone from speaking in tongues” (14:39b). 

Effectively, having been given their instructions by Paul, and hopefully waking away from this time of gathering with a better grasp on the world-shaking and shaping nature of the activities of the church of the Christ and of its effect on the way that the Creator God intends His world to work, Paul concludes this portion of his heavily rhetorical yet applicable dissertation with “And do everything in a decent and orderly manner” (14:40).     

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