Wednesday of the Week of Advent I
Based on 1 Corinthians 14:26-40
As Paul discusses the reality of worshipers speaking in “other tongues” at the church in Corinth, he makes it clear, first, that the aim of Christian worship is building up, encouraging and consoling. All speech offered in worship is to be in plain, clear, intelligible language, so that the community will be edified. Now, Paul says that everything that is done in worship should be done decently and in order. How powerful that Paul says, “God is not a God of confusion but of peace.” Some translations have it, “God is not a God of [chaos/disorder/dissension] but of order.” Paul then gives specific instructions about how and when people should speak. He explains that there should be both speaking and listening, with time to weigh in on what is being said, so that “all may learn and be encouraged.”
These words of Paul are instructive for those of us who worship within the Lutheran and yes, catholic tradition. The word “catholic” comes from the words for “of the whole —” meaning, what is believed and practiced in the whole Christian church, always and everywhere. It means our worship is not separate from the way Christians have worshiped from the beginning. In our worship, Word and Sacrament is offered in an ordered, biblical and peaceful manner. The first half of our worship service is reflective of synagogue Sabbath worship, with hymns, psalms, scriptural readings, preaching and prayers. The second half of our worship service, the Lord’s Supper, flows directly from the meal that our Lord instituted on Holy Thursday. This is the order of worship most Christians have followed since the first century of the Christian church and it provides for peace, order and structure in worship. The same is true of the Church Year, which begins with Advent. Advent prepares us for the birth of Jesus. Our lives are then shaped by the life of Christ, as day by day we remember His life, miracles, death and resurrection!
Prayer: Lord God, as in worship, remove from our lives chaos and confusion, that we may worship, pray and praise you in peace and joy! In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Advent action: During Sunday worship, consider how our liturgy is actually a dialogue!
This year’s devotional was prepared by the Rev. Dr. David Wendel, NALC assistant to the bishop for ministry and ecumenism. To learn more about Blessed is He Who Comes, visit thenalc.org/advent.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016.
3:18 At that time the Lord will remove their beautiful ankle jewelry, neck ornaments, crescent-shaped ornaments, 19earrings, bracelets, veils, 20headdresses, ankle ornaments, sashes, sachets, amulets, 21rings, nose rings, 22festive dresses, robes, shawls, purses, 23garments, vests, head coverings, and gowns.
24A putrid stench will replace the smell of spices,
a rope will replace a belt,
baldness will replace braided locks of hair,
a sackcloth garment will replace a fine robe,
and a prisoner’s brand will replace beauty.
25Your men will fall by the sword,
your strong men will die in battle.
26Her gates will mourn and lament;
deprived of her people, she will sit on the ground.
4:1 Seven women will grab hold of
one man at that time.
They will say, “We will provide our own food,
we will provide our own clothes;
but let us belong to you—
take away our shame!”
2At that time
the crops given by the Lord will bring admiration and honor;
the produce of the land will be a source of pride and delight
to those who remain in Israel.
3Those remaining in Zion, those left in Jerusalem,
will be called “holy,”
all in Jerusalem who are destined to live.
4At that time the Lord will wash the excrement from Zion’s women,
he will rinse the bloodstains from Jerusalem’s midst,
as he comes to judge
and to bring devastation.
5Then the Lord will create
over all Mount Zion
and over its convocations
a cloud and smoke by day
and a bright flame of fire by night;
indeed a canopy will accompany the Lord’s glorious presence.
6By day it will be a shelter to provide shade from the heat,
as well as safety and protection from the heavy downpour.(NET Bible)
126:1 A song of ascents.
When the Lord restored the well-being of Zion,
we thought we were dreaming.
2At that time we laughed loudly
and shouted for joy.
At that time the nations said,
“The Lord has accomplished great things for these people.”
3The Lord did indeed accomplish great things for us.
We were happy.
4O Lord, restore our well-being,
just as the streams in the arid south are replenished.
5Those who shed tears as they plant
will shout for joy when they reap the harvest.
6The one who weeps as he walks along, carrying his bag of seed,
will certainly come in with a shout of joy, carrying his sheaves of grain.(NET Bible)
1 Cor. 14:26–40
14:26 What should you do then, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each one has a song, has a lesson, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. Let all these things be done for the strengthening of the church. 27If someone speaks in a tongue, it should be two, or at the most three, one after the other, and someone must interpret. 28But if there is no interpreter, he should be silent in the church. Let him speak to himself and to God. 29Two or three prophets should speak and the others should evaluate what is said. 30And if someone sitting down receives a revelation, the person who is speaking should conclude. 31For you can all prophesy one after another, so all can learn and be encouraged. 32Indeed, the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets, 33for God is not characterized by disorder but by peace.
As in all the churches of the saints, 34the women should be silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak. Rather, let them be in submission, as in fact the law says. 35If they want to find out about something, they should ask their husbands at home, because it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in church. 36Did the word of God begin with you, or did it come to you alone?
37If anyone considers himself a prophet or spiritual person, he should acknowledge that what I write to you is the Lord’s command. 38If someone does not recognize this, he is not recognized. 39So then, brothers and sisters, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid anyone from speaking in tongues. 40And do everything in a decent and orderly manner.(NET Bible)
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016.
[Luther writes]: “It is a notorious error to believe that by a statement such as this, ‘It is not permitted to explain Scripture by one’s own spirit’ (proprio spiritu) we are called upon to put the holy Scripture aside and to direct our attention to the commentaries of men and believe them. is explanation, I maintain, is doubtlessly invented by Satan himself that by that means he might lead us far away from Scripture and into a desperate understanding of Scripture. On the contrary, this statement wants to say that Scripture is to be understood alone through that spirit by whom it is written, which spirit you can nd more present and alive nowhere than in this holy Scripture written by him. Therefore, our endeavor must be not to put aside Scripture and to direct our attention to the human writings of the Fathers, but to spend all the more and all the more persistent labor alone on the holy Scripture, all the more since there is great danger that one might understand it with his own spirit, in order that the employment of such persistent labor might overcome that danger and finally assure us of the spirit of the Scripture which can be found nowhere else but in Scripture, for ‘here he did put up his tabernacle and in the heavens (that is, the apostles), his dwelling place.’ … Or tell me if you can, who is the judge who finally decides when two statements of the Fathers contradict themselves? Here the judgment of the Scripture decides, and this cannot be done if we do not give Scripture the first place so that Scripture itself is the most certain, the most accessible, the most readily understood which interprets itself and approves, judges, and illumines all (words) of all … as Psalm 118 (119:130) says.” (76–77)
–Johann Michael Reu, Luther on the Scriptures
This daily Bible reading guide, Reading the Word of God, was conceived and prepared as a result of the ongoing discussions between representatives of three church bodies: Lutheran Church—Canada (LCC), The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) and the North American Lutheran Church (NALC). The following individuals have represented their church bodies and approved this introduction and the reading guide: LCC: President Robert Bugbee; NALC: Bishop John Bradosky, Revs. Mark Chavez, James Nestingen, and David Wendel; LCMS: Revs. Albert Collver, Joel Lehenbauer, John Pless, and Larry Vogel.