I Corinthians 14:1-15:34
Years ago I was an organist in a church with a new pastor. He came in like gang busters and began to makes changes almost before the moving van had gone. One of the first things he did was call a meeting of the music committee.
He told us he wanted a more contemporary feel to our worship service. Less hymns, more praise songs. Our music director asked the pastor if he was to pick out the songs, or did the pastor want to do that. The pastor said that would be up to the music director, he didn’t really care what we sang so long as it wasn’t all hymns.
I shared that in the past we tried to pick out music that went along with the sermon, to prepare our hearts for what was going to be shared from the pulpit. I’ll never forget the pastor’s response. He looked at me, laughed a condescending chuckle and said, “I suppose you are one who thinks the preaching is the most important thing. Well, it’s not.”
I think Paul might take issue with that philosophy. If you read this part of his letter to the Corinthians you’ll see how much emphasis is placed on the words, the Gospel, the telling. The apostle used the example of musical instruments having distinct notes and a clear call.
There are many different aspects to a worship service. Paul was addressing the use of the gift of tongues but he called that gift mindless and unfruitful unless there is an interpretation. Telling the message so people can understand is the most important thing. Paul said he could speak all day in tongues, but he’d rather speak five intelligible words of instruction.
I found out that day of our music committee meeting that indeed, I am one who thinks the preaching is the most important part of a worship service. It’s the part of instruction, of encouragement, of digging deeper into God’s Word led by someone called to do that.
And once again I am reminded how important it is for all of us to speak the Gospel. We can live our lives in such a way that people notice our devotion to God, but unless we tell them about Jesus, they can’t be saved. We can go to a worship service and be carried along by the Spirit during the praise songs, but the instruction is the meat.
Let’s continue to grow, to define our faith from Scripture so that we can share it in an understandable way. We’ve got the Good News! Let’s speak it.