Thursday, July 21, 2016

Some Counsel From Alexander Parker, Part 2

I recently posted about an epistle from Alexander Parker in which he speaks of how we settle into Meeting for Worship. Immediately following that, Parker goes on to speak about vocal ministry:
And if any be moved to speak words, wait low in the pure fear, to know the mind of the Spirit, where and to whom they are to be spoken.—If any be moved to speak, see that they speak in the power; and when the power is still, be ye still.—And all who speak of the movings of the Lord, I lay it as a charge upon you, to beware of abusing the power of God, in acting a wrong thing under pretence of being moved of the Lord:—for the pure power may move, and then the enemy (who goes about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour,) he may present a wrong thing to the view of the understanding; and here is a danger of abusing the power, acting that which the true power condemns, and yet pretending that the power moves to it;—this is a double sin. Therefore, let every one patiently wait, and not be hasty to run in the dark; but keep low in the true fear, that the understanding may be opened to know the mind of the Spirit; then as the Spirit moves and leads, it is good to follow its leadings;—for such are led into all truth. Thus, my Friends, as you keep close to the Lord, and to the guidance of his good Spirit, ye shall not do amiss; but in all your services and performances in the worship of God, ye shall be a good savour unto the Lord; and the Lord will accept of your services, and bless and honour your assemblies with his presence and power.
In the previous post, I mused about the idea of our Meeting for Worship being such that we were reluctant to leave, and hoped that we would feel that more. I think Parker's advice here becomes daunting when our meetings don't experience the power that he did. In the absence of that power, Would waiting until we feel it have the effect of completely shutting up vocal ministry? Would that be a good thing? One one hand, it might be good for us to have more consideration over our words, on the other hand, if the purpose of vocal ministry is to build us up ("edifying" in the King James Bible), what happens when there is none? I don't mean to say that we never experience that power, but I think the experience varies from meeting to meeting, and changes over time, and some meetings find themselves in a fairly dry state. Perhaps expectation is the key. Do we come to meeting expecting to experience what Parker refers to as "the power", what is our waiting worship waiting on?

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