Another week of Lent begins, and so do the themes of spring cleaning – making room in your life for God to do new things.
In 1 Corinthians today, we see folks struggling to do the right thing. In response, Paul declares two interesting things: 1) “I have no command of the Lord, but I give my opinion….” and 2) “the appointed time has grown short”
In one respect, Paul lays a foundation for church governance here. Despite Paul having a lack of scriptural warrant for such beliefs, he gives his opinion as someone in Christ’s loving embrace. The church would do well to take a cue from this. I speak daily to people who believe scripture says one thing or another, and are entrenched in their beliefs, when often there is no scriptural warrant behind it. I would rather we be honest about that, and then begin the discussion. That doesn’t mean their ideas are less valid. But it also means there can be many interpretations. Healthy discussion could be more easily achieved in these instances.
The second phrase roots Paul in a time when the church was focused on the end of times. They believed the second coming was very, very soon. They were making preparations for that, and not getting bogged down in the acts of daily living. They were instead living for Christ alone.
I don’t hear many in our churches today making preparations of this kind. Perhaps we should. Do we believe Christ is coming again? Perhaps we should. Because the fact is, he is coming. We are called only to lay a foundation for his reign now. Easier said than done!
As I think about worship in today’s churches, which from some peoples’ perspectives can seem boring or uninventive. These are often people not looking to praise God but looking for a show. I am sorry, but I am looking for the people to offer their praise to God – best they can – and be vaulted to heaven. As a former church musician, I take great care in encouraging congregational song. These times are dress rehearsals. We are preparing each other for the praise of the heavenly choirs. We are preparing and rehearsing for a celebration beyond comprehension. This is the church at its best, living life for the praise of the Almighty.
It is also a reflection of a church that has come to the realization that the second coming has not happened quite yet. But in the mean time, we will rehearse and perfect the art of divine worship, and do it to the best of our ability.