A Vision For Hebrew Liturgy In Messianic Congregations As Messianic Congregations move to include more traditional elements of Hebrew liturgy in their worship services, the following are presented for consideration as guidelines for liturgical worship. The Messianic Cantor, the worship leader of traditional or traditional-style New Covenant Hebrew Liturgy, should have as a goal the leading of the Congregation into the presence of God through worship. This role is somewhat different than that of the present-day rabbinic cantor. Traditionally, the cantor was to be the sha-lee-ahch tzee-boor, the one sending up prayers on behalf of the Congregation. While a cantor should have a kol tahm, a pleasing voice, the Messianic cantor should try to lead the Congregation into a depth of worship with the living God.
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You may have a shofar, but might not want to blow it very loudly in your living room. So in this post, I want to offer you an easy Sabbath liturgy suitable for use in a small home fellowship or similar Bible study. Why Liturgy? As a religious phenomenon, liturgy is a communal response to and participation in, the sacred through activity reflecting praise, thanksgiving, supplication or repentance. See my post regarding Religion and Relationship.
You and your sons will undertake the priestly duties in all that concerns the altar and all that lies behind the curtain. It is designed to keep everyone on the same page and avoid random confusion.
I review both of them here. For home fellowships, trying to incorporate the extensive use of Hebrew used in the Synagogue liturgy might be overwhelming, not to mention meaningless. I like to listen to Hebrew and can usually pick out a few words here and there. My goal with the liturgy presented here is to use limited transliterated Hebrew words and phrases, and to present them in a way that their meaning is clear.
For longer passages, we will start with the first line or two in Hebrew, repeat them in English, and then continue with the rest of the passage in English. Some of them will be familiar chants or songs you can sing. I have provided the liturgy in two parts. The first is intended for Erev Shabbat, Friday evening as the Sabbath is beginning. During this time, it is traditional to light candles and to bless Adonai with wine and challah bread.
The second part of the liturgy could continue on Erev Shabbat or be used separately during the day on the Sabbath. You can view them and download them here. The text is adapted primarily from the Messianic Shabbat Siddur, except for lighting the candles. You may wish to add more to your liturgy. Many of the blessings start the same way, so you can just say this first line in Hebrew, repeat it in English, then just finish the blessing or other passage in English.
The first liturgy is for the evening as Sabbath begins. It is very short, and might be used before sitting down for the evening meal. The basic Erev Shabbat liturgy consists of only three blessings in a specific order: The Lighting of the Candles welcoming the Sabbath Kiddush — Blessing over the Wine setting apart of the Sabbath Blessing over the Bread partaking in the Sabbath Because these blessings are relatively short, I have included the complete Hebrew transliteration of each.
This may be offered both at the end of the Erev Shabbat celebration and at the end of the regular Sabbath service or study. This blessing is recited only by the leader who, as Numbers says, is invoking the Name of the Almighty on those in the group with the promise that Adonai will bless them.
As a Messianic adaptation, I like to also include the last two verses of Jude from the New Testament. The second liturgy is a selected portion of the traditional Sabbath liturgy. If your home fellowship is meeting on Erev Shabbat, you can continue with this following the wine and bread or following the evening meal if you have one.
If your home fellowship is meeting on the Sabbath day, this is where you begin. It begins in Numbers , followed by four passages in the Psalms — Psalm , Psalm , Psalm and Psalm One interesting point to note is that this first blessing in the Sabbath liturgy starts with words from a non-Hebrew pagan prophet Balaam.
Sing the first verse in Hebrew, then in English. Sing the second verse in Hebrew, then in English. Then recite the next three verses in English this part is not on the Paul Wilbur recording. The Barchu, which in Hebrew is the command form of the verb meaning to bless, is a responsive reading. The leader should read the first line in Hebrew, with everyone else responding with the second line in Hebrew. The leader then reads the first line again in English, followed by everyone else reading the second line in English.
Again, to keep it simple and understandable, only the first phrase is in Hebrew. If you want to use more Hebrew, you can see the full transliteration of all of these blessings and more in the Messianic Shabbat Siddur. The Blessing of the Messiah is an important part of the Messianic liturgy in which we bless Adonai for giving us the way of salvation in Messiah Yeshua.
It is an appropriate blessing before saying the Shema, and is presented here in its entirety as found in the Messianic Shabbat Siddur. The Shema, found in Deuteronomy , is the cornerstone of all Jewish liturgy. Yeshua himself identified the Shema as the greatest of all the commandments Mark It is traditional to stand facing in the direction of Jerusalem when saying the Shema.
It is also traditional to bow slightly at both occurrences of the Divine Name, vocalized as Adonai. Some will cover their eyes as the Shema is recited. The second line, which is not a direct quote from the Scriptures, is said either very quietly or not at all. I have included, in Hebrew transliteration, the portion that Yeshua mentioned in the passage from Mark mentioned above.
Then, continue with the rest of the passage in English. The Amidah, or Standing Prayer, is considered the most important prayer in Jewish liturgy.
It has nineteen different parts. In keeping with the idea of limited Hebrew recitation, only the first line is presented in Hebrew transliteration and the meaning is pretty clear. I offer part of the Amidah here with some hesitation — this is tradition and not taken from Scripture.
It is very important that we keep Yeshua central in our worship, so I have taken this prayer from the Messianic Life Cycle Guide. You can hear it here. The first line is presented in transliterated Hebrew, followed by the English text taken from Matthew in The Complete Jewish Bible. Who is like You, majestic in holiness, Awesome in praises, working wonders? Listen to it here. Shabbat Shalom You will no doubt find many options for a home fellowship Sabbath liturgy if you choose to use one.
This is just one, and has been assembled with the hope that you will learn enough Hebrew to experience the beauty of the liturgy without stumbling over words. My prayer is that it brings you closer to our Heavenly Father. I review it here. Baruch HaShem Blessed is the Lord. I you find any errors in the text, please contact me at larry messianiclight.
Messianic Shabbat Siddur
Looking at the front cover, the spine is on the right. You open the book from the left-hand side, and turn the pages the same way as you read toward the back of the book. Think exactly the opposite of a textbook you would buy in a western bookstore. Each two-page spread has the Hebrew in a comfortably large font on the right-hand page, with the English translation and corresponding transliteration of the Hebrew on the facing left-hand page. Occasionally the author will add an explanatory note in English when needed.
Two Messianic Siddurs (Siddurim)