Read 1 Corinthians 14:40
40 Let everything be done decently and in order. (JBP)
When it comes to church gatherings there seems to be two contrasting approaches. One is that we dare not fiddle with age-old traditions and flirt with contemporary thinking. The other is that we need to be dispensing with the old ways and doing things in a way that appeals to more people today.
As with many such issues, the truth is somewhere in-between the extremes. There is nothing inherently ‘spiritual’ about following a particular liturgical order. Then again, spontaneity is not more ‘spiritual’ than traditional routine. God can be truly worshipped through formal liturgy and through informal and even ad hoc methods.
The problem with those of more conservative inclinations is that they may be tempted to let the sheer routine nature of liturgy dull their senses to the possibility that God might want to break through in a different way. They may mistakenly believe that he is only truly present in a traditional format.
The problem with those of more radical inclinations is that they glorify spontaneity so as to assume God prefers it that way. And we need to remember that ditching a set liturgy means we surrender control to whoever is happening to lead at the time. We are at their mercy.
Paul reminds us to do all with order and decency. He has, in context, permitted prophecy and tongues, but will always want people to be sensitive to one another and also to remember the overall need to honour God. Corporate worship is not ultimately about us but about Him.