A New Beginning

In the past two articles, I discussed how the Christian church was separated from the root of Judaism. I touched upon the heretical doctrines introduced and where those doctrines ultimately led to the Holocaust. In this article, I’m going to discuss what early church life was like and how we can recapture the original style of worship. Note, not everything that is for the Jewish people is the same for Gentiles. We follow three separate covenants. Jewish people follow the Mosiac covenant while Gentiles are under the covenants of Jesus and Noah.

The B’rit Hadasha is full of examples of how early worship was done in the first century. Christians, both Jew and Gentile, usually met at the synagogue for the weekly reading of the Torah and worship service there. Back then the synagogue service was more open and allowed people to speak their mind on various views. This allowed Jewish and Gentile Christians to convert more people to Christianity.

From my research the usual Shabbat service followed the following general format:

1. Reciting the Blessings of Praise at the opening of service.

2. This is followed by a reading of the Tanakh.

3. Singing of Psalms related to the reading.

4. Sermon that ties into the reading of the Tanakh.

5. Singing of Psalms again.

6. Open Dialogue

7. Reciting of the Blessings of Gratitude.

8. Closing Prayer.

9. Seder meal shared by the congregation.

If one wants to follow what was done in the first century then we can use this as a model. Since we now have the B’rit Hadasha we can include that in the reading of the Tanakh and for the sermon. The original hymnal for early Christians was none other than the book of Psalms. Sadly, the music that accompanies it is lost.  A word of note, this is for Sabbath service only. There are more blessings that were said during the daily service during the week.

The above service was the accepted model in most communities, but as time went on Open Dialogue was removed entirely to restrict Christians from seeking converts among the Jewish people. This closed off the Word of God concerning the covenant with Jesus/Yeshua. The one thing that is important is that no matter where a Christian was at in the Roman world there was always a synagogue to go to, unless they were in a village or city that lacked one. In that case, the early Christians met in a home and followed the same format that was found in the synagogue.

Open Dialogue was an opportunity for a Jewish or Gentile person to speak about their experiences with God. In modern times, the closest thing to it is the giving of testimonies in Christian Churches. Testimony was and still is an excellent way to praise God and give him thanks for everything that he’s done for an individual. The blessings and curses that we enjoy and endure as Christians comes from God, so we must show thanks to what he has done for us.

The seder meal is a very important part of Shabbat observance. It brings the entire Jewish community together and allows them to keep connections with each other alive. For the Gentile, the meal was called an Agape meal. Agape in Greek means love, so the meal functions as the same as the seder meal. It brings the community of believers together and allows them to maintain their connection to one another. Modern Christian churches still celebrate this type of meal, but call it by various different names.

Now that we have a firm basis on what to model our Shabbat service on then we end up with a service that looks like this:

1. Reciting the Blessings of Praise at the opening of service.
2. This is followed by a reading of the Tanakh or B’rit Hadasha.
3. Singing of Psalms related to the reading.
4. Sermon that ties into the reading of the Tanakh or B’rit Hadasha.
5. Singing of Psalms again.
6. Open Dialogue
7. Reciting of the Blessings of Gratitude.
8. Closing Prayer.
9. Agape meal that is shared by everyone.

By following a Shabbat service as above it will allow a Christian church to experience a breath of life and changing of how the congregation works together. This closeness will allow for God to work his miracles and change lives since a new person to the church can see this for themselves. In the process, this brings the entire church back to the nourishing root that is Judaism.

A time for a note, Gentiles that celebrate Shabbat are not held to the same standard as Jewish people. This means we, as Gentiles, are not tied to the rabbinic tradition of what constitutes work. However, I must stress that work related to business etc… must be avoided as this is the day the LORD gave us to relax. Have fun and enjoy the time with the family or with your friends.

Reverend Richard Littles

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