Scripture: 1 Corinthians 14:1-19
Key verse: (1) “Pursue love and strive for the spiritual gifts”
Reflection: Paul had a lot to say to the church in Corinth, between 1 and 2 Corinthians many scholars believe that these two books are made up of at least three letters between Paul and the community. Again and again, Paul urges the community to love one another for the sake of building each other up. For Paul in our passage, he compares speaking in tongues with prophecy. Speaking in tongues without an interpreter may be flashy, it may be impressive, but in reality it is just a noisy gong, it is just for show, it is empty, it is without value. Prophecy on the other hand points to God’s presence in the world, and encourages people to live into lives worthy of the calling to which we have been called.
While we may not encounter the tension between speaking in tongues vs. prophecy in our congregation, there are definitely times in our lives when flashy catches our attention; there is something fun, new, exciting, mysterious about flashy. But then there are times in our lives when the shallowness of flashy is laid bare; when people are unsure about where their next meal will come from, when jobs are being lost, when a disease spreads world-wide. In these moments to be flashy seems out of touch, tone deaf, inappropriate. And yet, in these same times, the attributes of prophecy are desired even more; discerning God’s presence, seeking justice, doing kindness, and walking humbly with God. In this time and in all times, may we be prophetic (pointing to God’s presence in our midst) so that all may be encouraged and built up.
Over the last two weeks, as our lives have changed, I have had the joy of witnessing so much prophetic love, actions, and words from you all. From keeping Room in the Inn open as long as we could, to calling to check in with each other, to smiles over Zoom morning prayer, to notes of kindness, to the many ways of building each other up that will never be noted or documented, you all have been beautifully prophetic. It’s not always flashy, that is for sure, and there are bumps and bruises along the way, but the love which you give to one another and the community is beautiful. Thanks be to God.
Prayer: Loving God, guide us this day and every day to witness to your presence in our midst. Use our humble words and actions to show your love in simple yet profound ways. Amen.
Author: John Magnuson
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].