World War I was over. All that was left were the peace talks. France, Great Britain, Italy, the United States, and to a lesser extent Japan made all the decisions at the Peace “talks” and their decisions were ratified by the other attendees. The defeated Central Powers could do nothing but accept them. Germany paid the heaviest price as a result of the peace imposed on her. Living in a vacuum, the punishment given to her would seem just. The terms, however, were so outrageous that they planted the seeds for the discontent that Adolf Hitler drew on to re-militarize Germany and lead her into war again. The seeds of peace were so onerous that the harvest was another war.
The Allied powers failed to understand is that peace is not just the absence of conflict; peace cannot be imposed on others.Peace is imposed by fear and power isn’t real peace, it’s tyranny. We call the period in history when Rome ruled over Israel the “Pax Romana” or the Peace of Rome, but to the subject people, there was no peace. True peace comes not from the absence of conflict, true peace comes when those involved live in harmony. It was this type of peace that Paul was trying to introduce to the church at Corinth. “The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets. For God is not a God of disorder but of peace—as in all the congregations of the Lord’s people.” (1 Corinthians 14:32-33)
I have been at some wild…er…enthusiastic worship services. They have been amazing because in the midst of all the excitement, the fact that the Holy Spirit was leading was obvious. The people were in harmony with God and because of that, they were in harmony with each other. I get the impression that the worship services at the Corinthian Church were wild and out of control. Paul had to remind them to show respect in the way people were speaking in tongues and the way they received those who prophesied in church. I get the impression that instead of people following the leadership of the Holy Spirit in worship, “worship” or should I say “the time in church” became a giant game of spiritual king of the hill. Anyone with an ego was doing something to let others know that they were the most spiritual. If someone spoke out loud in their angelic languages, then, by God, another person was going to show them that their tongue was better. If someone was prophesying or teaching in the church, then someone else was going to talk over them and show how spiritual they were. Paul was trying to break this habit to remind them that there is decency and order in worship. An order that comes from peace. Wherever God’s people meet, there is harmony because of the presence of the Holy Spirit.
People have different styles of worship, and that’s ok. On a recent trip to Salt Lake City, I had the privilege of worshiping with Calvary Baptist Church. It was wild and exciting, but it was under the control of the Holy Spirit. When it came to the music, leadership passed between a different number of leaders as the Spirit led. Many people would not be comfortable with that. That’s ok. Decently and in order means different things to different people. As wild as Calvary’s worship service was, everything was done decently and in order. The key, though, is that everyone was in harmony with God. The key to any worship service is for God’s people to be in harmony with God first, and then with each other. We live in a world that thinks peace means the absence of conflict and they seek to enforce that idea on a global scale. They may end the active war, for the time being, but there will never be peace until people live in harmony with each other. As Christian, we have the responsibility to show what that means by living in harmony with God and with each other. That kind of harmony will bring true peace to the world.
O Lord, let me show others true peace by living in harmony with You and with Your people.