Recently, I had an experience that brought up the subject of order. About a month ago, I joined an international prayer room on a social media platform. My impression was that it was a place of peace, where people could go to listen to and pray for each other. Then, the talkers started creeping in. What was a prayer room became a platform for people to teach whatever they wanted for as long as they wanted. Fortunately, order has since been restored.
The administrators of the prayer room learned the hard way that rules and boundaries were necessary to keep the room going in the direction they had intended. Otherwise others would take over. We all like the idea of being laid back and going with the flow. The problem is that without order, people have a tendency to go off in all kinds of directions. This is the point of 1 Corinthians 14:40, “…all things should be done decently and in order.” We all want to be heard. We all have opinions. What if we all expressed them however we wanted whenever we wanted? There would be chaos.
With orders of worship, our church services are able to include a variety of experiences that help others feel closer to God. We can worship by singing, praying, giving, and listening to the Word together. With an order of worship, you know what is coming next. It is in the context of order that we may experience the beauty found in worship services and sacraments. Worship services, weddings, baptisms, and funerals are ordered to provide a foundation on which beautiful, meaningful, and healing experiences may be built. So, while I am in favor of freedom of expression and others sharing their gifts, everything must be done “in order.” In this way, we respect each other more fully while giving honor to God in all that we do.