26 What is the outcome of this, brothers and sisters? When you meet together, each one has a psalm, a teaching, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. All these things must be done to build up the church. 27 If some speak in a tongue, then let two or at most three speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret. 28 However, if there is no interpreter, then they should keep quiet in the meeting. They should speak privately to themselves and to God. 29 In the case of prophets, let two or three speak and have the rest evaluate what is said. 30 And if some revelation comes to someone else who is sitting down, the first one should be quiet. 31 You can all prophesy one at a time so that everyone can learn and be encouraged. 32 The spirits of prophets are under the control of the prophets. 33 God isn’t a God of disorder but of peace.
This devotional is dedicated to my twin sister, Jeanne.
My twin and I have not always gotten along. She and I are the first (and second) to admit this. As children, we may have been each other’s best friend; but as teens, we were usually each other’s fiercest competitor or even each other’s biggest objector. Some twins are forever joined at the hip, but we are the twins who often have approached life from opposite sides.
Competition many times drove us apart. Individually, people always asked, “Which twin are you?” or “Are you the twin that does music or sports?” Growing up, we were so often compared and competing in the same space that for too long into adulthood, we did not really collaborate or support one another.
Today I smile at our antics because we are finally living a different story: we stopped competing and found peace. As I read through 1 Corinthians, I am further reminded of how in a broken and feuding community, Christians must not be in competition. We must move toward sharing the roles of our community. For my twin and I, it took really stepping back and letting someone else lead or listen for God’s way.
As Christians, perhaps it is only through our work in community that we truly magnify God’s glory. People are the collective function of God’s loving actions in the world! Although we cannot all be speaking or listening at the same time, we can all help to “build up the church.” When we collaborate, as some speak while others listen for the prophecy of God’s will, we recognize the importance of each person. There is no competition, only peace. Let’s think about the wonder of the Christian community that is found through thoughtful connection and collaboration. Let’s live the language of “we.”
By Barbara Carlson
For Pondering & Prayer
No one lives in community alone. Perhaps you have heard God’s message through the resounding music of a choir in a collective performance. Maybe you felt God’s peace through people who cooperatively blessed someone through the laying on of hands. Maybe you have witnessed a group of youth who shared God’s love as part of a mission team. However you’ve known the building up of our church community, how has the language of “we” changed everything? What can you do today to help build our collaborative church community in peace?
Prayer: Loving Spirit, only you know the complete and collective way for our church community. Thank you for your words and ways heard through and because of one another. We know we are called to be your hands and feet. Yet sometimes we fail to hear how each member must live into this collective community. As we reopen to in-person worship, we ask for your guidance to know when to step back, when to step forward, and when and how to support one another. Thank you for your love and commitment to our church community. Amen.