The sermon texts are from the current series of pericopes of the Protestant German Church, Series IV
Love should be your guide. Be eager to have the gifts that come from the Holy Spirit, especially the gift of prophecy. If you speak languages that others don´t know, God will understand what you are saying, though no one else will know what you mean. … But when you prophesy, you will be understood, and others will be helped. They will be encouraged and made to feel better. By speaking languages that others don´t know, you help only yourself. But by prophesying you help everyone in the church.
1 Corinthians 14, 1 - 4
name of a street in Quedlinburg (Germany)
"One should at least hear a little song every day, read a good poem, see an excellent painting, and, if it could be possible, speak a few sensible words."
This glorious wisdom you cannot read in the Bible. This words a written by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749 - 1832), the famous son of Frankfurt. Not only a beautiful song, a good poem and a beautiful painting are delighting heart and senses, but also reasonable, sensible words are pleasant to my fellow humans. Goethe humorously says that it is not easy to say "a few reasonable words": "If it could be possible to do it ..."
Talking so that it is pleasant to others, that's what Paul is about. He urges Christians in Corinth to strive for it! They should talk in such a way that others understand them too. Not just with the ears, but with the heart. You should speak so that other people are delighted, comforted, strengthened in the faith. This is the "gift of prophesying". Prophesying means to say God's Word in this time actually so that other people are delighted and faith in Jesus Christ will be growing.
The Christians in Corinth had different ideas. For them, the "gift of the spirit-given language" was the highest. On the other hand, Paul basically has nothing. Both are good: to whom God has given the gift of worshiping himself in a spirit-given language, he may rejoice. But all Christians, in love for others, should strive to help, comfort and share God's love with their good words (and good acts).
There is so much ugliness and hurt in our time spoken and written that a "gentle answer" (Proverbs 15: 1) is beneficial: "A soft answer turns away wrath, but harsh words cause quarrels.”
Sometimes it can even be a hard work to find good words. Martin Luther (1483-1546) translated the Bible to German language. The reformer at first had to seek the right words. This work with his friends (Melanchton, Aurogallus, Bugenhagen and so on) was very difficult. Luther said: "I've been careful that I want to give a pure and clear German language, and we've often come across that we've been looking for a single word for fourteen days, even three to four weeks, and still have it occasionally not found. In the Book of Job, the work was so difficult that at times we could barely finish three lines in four days."
Luther was also a very creative linguistically. He created phrases that did not exist back then and that we Germans know until today: pamphlets (to teach someone a lesson), zeal (fire-zeal), one´s heart´s content, to be a mystery (a book with seven seals), be a thorn in someone´s side (a thorn in the eye), groping in the dark. Luther´s words were creations.
For the next days this would be perhaps a good exercise: tell other people with “fire-zeal”, with heart's content the gospel of Jesus Christ so that for others the gospel is no longer a mystery (a book with seven seals). We should our fellow human beings not let be groping in the dark! And when we talk, then "Love should be our guide!" But my suggestion should not be teach you a lesson! That surely would be a thorn in the side of God.
I wish you a blessed week! And sorry for this deficient translation!