Reading: 1 Corinthians 14:26-40
Reflection: So often we associate the move of the Spirit, the call of God, and the work of grace in terms of spontaneity, unpredictability, and even a kind of chaotic quality. In many church circles the concept of order is associated with dryness, lifelessness, and a quenching of the Spirit. But, here, as Paul teaches the church about their worship life together, and he calls them to bring all their various gifts into worship to build up the church, he calls for order.
Paul’s instruction to respect one another, to make space for one another, and to allow order to protect our relationships and the dignity of each person, is important when we speak of receiving and sharing grace. The command for women to keep silent may seem like the opposite of grace, but we know that in other churches women did speak and teach.
The key is verse 35 where he asks the women not to disrupt the meeting with questions. When we remember that in the ancient world women did not receive education as men did, it makes sense that they would have questions. But it would be disruptive and disrespectful for there to be conversations happening around the church while someone was trying to teach or prophesy. To apply this passage to all women in all times and places would be to go against the affirming spirit of Paul’s teaching, and the grace and call of God that are extended to all. God’s call is never an excuse to ignore the needs of others.
God’s call is related to community, and to building up the church. As we receive grace today and give thanks for the gifts God has given us, let’s also reflect on how God may be calling us to share that grace respectfully and selflessly with those around us.
Practice for Today: Reflection on our lives – both within us and in the world around us – is always an important part of our discipleship. The Ignatian practice of examen can be a helpful tool, as we make time at the start and end of each day to reflect on our interactions and actions through the day, and on our thoughts and feelings. Today, reflect on God’s calling to receive and share grace in your life.
Prayer for Today: As I receive your grace, O God, may I share it respectfully in whatever way I can.
Communion with Christ