Pursue love, and use your ambition to try to get spiritual gifts but especially so that you might prophesy. 2 This is because those who speak in a tongue don’t speak to people but to God; no one understands it—they speak mysteries by the Spirit. 3 Those who prophesy speak to people, building them up, and giving them encouragement and comfort. 4 People who speak in a tongue build up themselves; those who prophesy build up the church. 5 I wish that all of you spoke in tongues, but I’d rather you could prophesy. Those who prophesy are more important than those who speak in tongues, unless they are able to interpret them so that the church might be built up. 6 After all, brothers and sisters, if I come to you speaking in tongues, how will I help you unless I speak to you with a revelation, some knowledge, a prophecy, or a teaching? 7 Likewise, things that aren’t alive like a harp or a lyre can make a sound, but if there aren’t different notes in the sounds they make, how will the tune from the harp or the lyre be recognized? 8 And if a trumpet call is unrecognizable, then who will prepare for battle? 9 It’s the same way with you: If you don’t use language that is easy to understand when you speak in a tongue, then how will anyone understand what is said? 10 It will be as if you are speaking into the air! There are probably many language families in the world, and none of them are without meaning. 11 So if I don’t know the meaning of the language, then I will be like a foreigner to those who speak it, and they will be like foreigners to me. 12 The same holds true for you: since you are ambitious for spiritual gifts, use your ambition to try to work toward being the best at building up the church. (1 Corinthians 14:1-12, CEB)
Paul is talking about speaking in tongues, which some denominations do today. This is seen as a wonderful thing and I would agree, but Paul says unless it is interpreted or done in a way that others understand, it is not a gift for the church.
But I think we still do this today. Our language about worship and the things we do in the church are our own. We have a narthex and sanctuary. A chancel and chalice and paten. Sometimes the language we use gets in the way of others knowing what we are saying.
How do we talk in a way that those with ears will hear, so that God’s light will shine in the darkness of the world?
Loving People. Loving God.