"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."
The first thing I see here is that Christians are meant to come together. God does not ask me to, in the words of James Taylor, "walk that lonesome road, all by yourself." Instead like the Beatles we are enjoined to "Come together, right now, over me." Hmmm.....is that "shukkah" sound Lennon makes his version of speaking in tongues?
I am not a lonely God unto myself, as humanism and New Age religion would make me. I am part of a living organism. Thank God!
The first church in which I experienced the sort of spontaneous, potluck worship Paul seems to describe above was at Cambridge United Church. Craig Bensen, the pastor, made sure everything was done decently and in order and brought a word of instruction, but he allowed each of us to bring whatever we thought best to the table. It was freedom, as well as a responsibility that everything be done "so that the church may be built up." Most weeks, it was wonderful. The Holy Spirit accepted our invitation to be an active participant.
I am NOT saying that more planned worship doesn't "fit" the description above. I am saying it was an exhilarating experiment. And that at all points we must keep the Spirit in the loop lest our words and music be just that, words and music.
Am not ducking the role of tongues and women on purpose. Am down in Virginia on a work trip, and there's no time to say what might be well said. Or not.