Hearing God Speak Through Many VoicesDaily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
What then shall we say, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up.
1 Corinthians 14:26
This week, I'm beginning my seventh year as the primary author of the Daily Reflections, a part of the work of The High Calling. Since January 1, 2008, I have had the privilege of seeking God's truth in Scripture, reflecting upon it, and sharing with you what I have discovered through this medium. I have been encouraged during these past six years to hear how these reflections have made a difference in your life, work, relationships, and faith. And I've been gratified to watch the number of subscribers grow from 4,000 to over 29,000. How grateful I am to God for the chance to write the Daily Reflections!
As you probably know, at times I have invited others to be guest reflectors. Yes, this gives me a chance to catch my breath, and I'm grateful for a bit of rest every now and then. But, I also believe that it is good for us all to hear from a variety of voices. Our guest writers share a common desire for intimacy with God, yet they approach faith and faithfulness from distinctive perspectives. This, I believe, can help us hear God's Word more fully.
In the era of the Old Testament, God spoke almost exclusively through the prophets, a small, select number of men and women who communicated God's truth to his people. Yet, in the New Testament era, God poured out his Spirit upon "all people" (Acts 2:17). As a result, the gift of sharing God's word with others was delegated to all who, having confessed faith in Christ, received the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit.
As the early church began to live out the implications of this new outpouring of the Spirit, all Christians were expected to share their gifts with others (see 1 Cor. 14:26). Each person had something to share when believers gathered together for fellowship and worship. God's voice was heard, not just through the prophecy of a few, but mainly through the voices of all of God's people. I believe that this model should inform our life today, whether in our embodied communities (churches) or our digitally-mediated fellowship (Daily Reflections, The High Calling website, social media, etc.).
In the past years of the Daily Reflections, we've tried different approaches to including guest reflectors who allow us to hear God's voice through varied voices. In 2014, we're going to experiment with a new model. Now, I will be the writer of all weekday reflections throughout the year. On Monday through Thursday, I'll focus on a particular book (like Ephesians). On Friday, my reflection will be based on a psalm. Then, on the weekends, we will feature the reflections of a wide range of guest reflectors. On special occasions, like this weekend, I'll write the reflections. But, for the most part, we'll be hearing from brothers and sisters who come from very different places in life but who share a passion of our Lord, his Word, and his work in the world.
There is one more part of our Daily Reflections experiment that I want to explain, and about which I am quite excited. Beginning tomorrow, the Daily Reflections will be connected to the theme of the week for the writings of The High Calling. So, for example, next week The High Calling will feature a series of articles on the theme: Transitioning from Old to New in Your Daily Work. Tomorrow's reflection will introduce this theme by drawing wisdom about transitions from Scripture. Thus, the weekend reflections will feature a variety of voices and also contribute to The High Calling's effort to go deeper into issues that make a real difference in our lives and in our world.
Finally, let me say that the Holy Spirit can and will speak to the community of Daily Reflections readers, not only through those of us who write, but also through you. I know that many of you share the reflections with family members, friends, and in small group discussions, where you add your insights to the written ones. That's great! Also, more and more of us are using The High Calling Facebook page as a place to share our comments, prayers, and questions. I'm very pleased to see how our community conversation is growing through digital media. I hope you'll join in the conversation.
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: Why do you think God chose, in the era of the New Testament, to pour out his Spirit on all flesh and to speak through all of his people, rather than empowering only a few prophets? In what contexts are you able to share your gifts with others in the body of Christ? What keeps you from doing this? What encourages you to contribute?
PRAYER: Gracious God, thank you for pouring out your Spirit on all of your people. Thank you for gifting us all so that we might contribute to the building up of your body, the church.
Help us, Lord, to live out your vision for the church. It is so easy for us to sit back and let others share their gifts while we only receive. Help us to be faithful in stewarding the gifts you have given to us.
As we hear from different voices in the weekend Daily Reflections, may we hear your voice, your truth. Guide all who write, all who read, and all who pray. Help me to be faithful every weekday as I seek to share your truth in love through the medium of the Daily Reflections. Thank you for this amazing opportunity!
To you be all the glory! Amen.
Image courtesy of Laity Lodge Youth Camp, one of our sister programs in the Foundations for Laity Renewal.