Wednesday, January 26, 2011

THE HISTORY OF CHRISTIAN LITURGY (2) -The Difference between Judaism and Christianity

II. The Difference between Judaism and Christianity

Commonly the Apostle Paul when seeking the jews he would look at the rivers, if there were more than 30 people they were meeting in a hall.Through the history there are a lot of commonalities between the Christianity and Judaism.[1]

1.Differences of Faith:

·       The expectation of Messiah ( The Jewish still wait for him , Christians know he has come)
·       The rites/sacrifices: The word of God in the center no temple sacrifices anymore.
·       The Teaching of a time when God will give a new heart „made of flesh“ and John 3:3
·       Holy Scripture: The New Testament is not accepted by the Jews. 

How did Christianity developed out of Judaism? The living hope personalized in Jesus and confirmed through a new heart, new hope, beginning to teach the teachings of Jesus and establishing meeting of people with confessers and followers of Jesus had to leave the forms of law oriented Judaism behind.  

2. Similarities:

What ist he similarity between Judaist and Christianity worship? The author of the book draws the readers attention to some striking facts. There are differences in the understanding of the believed content such as:

·       The worship in the Old Testament was a very holy act. – To worship includes our feelings and a way to express them toward God.

·       The Gospel of Matthew uses a lot of Hebrew rites to introduce Jesus and also begins with the ancestry of Jesus.

·       In old timest he prayers were written down or prepared to speak. Formel prayer were quite normal and still are appropriate in many places. – The best prayers we can find in the psalms.
·       The LORDs prayer is the best in the NEW Testament.

·       The selfunderstanding and the self consiousness to be a follower of Jesus very much patterned the mindset of the early church.
·       The content of worship is very similar, it is remembering, the acts of God, the holy days are different.
·       The book is introducing the liturgy and rites and their similarities to other ways of worhipping. – The form and even the content of worship are very similar, but the difference lies in the relationship of the individuals .

3. The Prayer in Judaism
Prayer builds the relationship between God and human beings. When people pray, they spend time with God. To pray is to serve God with your heart, obeying God's commandment: love the LORD your God, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul
Deuteronomy 11:13

Jews, like other people of faith, pray in many different ways.
                They pray so that their hearts can reach out to God. They pray to express and exercise their beliefs. They pray to share in the life of a worshipping community. They pray to obey God's commandments
The important things about prayer are:
                The praying person should do it with total concentration on God-there should be nothing else in your mind. The prayer should be completely from the heart

Three Times Prayer a Day[2]
Jews are supposed to pray three times a day; morning, afternoon, and evening. The Jewish prayer book (it's called a siddur) has special services set down for this. Praying regularly enables a person to get better at building their relationship with God. After all, most things get better with practice.
Three ways to pray... and there's more!
There are three different sorts of prayer, and Jewish people use all of them. These are prayers of thanksgiving, prayers of praise, and prayers that ask for things. Jews believe that God will take action in response to prayer, and a teaching from the rabbis tells us that the more we ask God to help us, the more God will love us. (Midrash Tehillim 4:3)
But prayer doesn't just do the things that the words say it does-thanking, praising, requesting.
                Prayer changes faith, and it changes men. Praying with heart and mind and soul takes a person into a state of being that is different from their everyday awareness. Prayer enhances a person's closeness to God. Prayer enhances a person's closeness to their fellow Jews. The formal prayer in the synagogue provides a weekly (if not daily) revision class in the fundamentals of Jewish belief
The Jewish Public prayer and blessings
       Much of Jewish prayer consists of reciting the written services aloud in synagogue. Praying in public affirms that a person is a member of a community, and when they do so, an individual puts themselves into the context of other Jews, and to some extent puts their own particular situation aside to put the community first. It's also an act of togetherness with Jewish people who are doing the same all around the world.
And attending regular services, and following the order of the prayer book, is a valuable spiritual discipline, and a mechanism that enables a person to spend time with God on a regular basis.
4. The Jewish Prayer Book
       The Jewish prayer book is drawn from the writings of the Jewish people across the ages. It contains the wisdom of great thinkers, and some of the most beautiful Hebrew poetry.
       Spending time with these prayers enables a Jewish person to absorb the spiritual teachings of the Jewish people.
       For example, this extract from the Morning Service is a profound lesson in the nature of God, as well as an act of worship.
       “Blessed be He who spoke and the world came into being; blessed be He.Blessed be He who maintains the creation.Blessed be He who speaks and performs.Blessed be He who decrees and fulfils.Blessed be He who has mercy upon the earth.Blessed be He who has mercy on his creatures.Blessed be He who pays a good reward to those who fear Him.Blessed be He who lives for ever, and endures to eternity.Blessed be He who redeems and saves; blessed be his name...”

       Observant Jews will say a blessing over everything they eat or drink, and in the face of many natural events. Doing so acknowledges that God is involved in everything.
       So before drinking wine a Jew would say (in Hebrew):
       “Blessed are You - the Lord our God, King of the universe, who creates the fruit of the vine.”
       Or on seeing trees blossoming for the first time in the year:
       “Blessed are You - the Lord our God, King of the universe, who has withheld nothing from His world, but has created in it goodly creatures and goodly trees for the enjoyment of human beings.”[3]
From the outside there is no difference between the prayers of a Christian and the prayers of a Jewish person. However, a Jewish would never pray to Jesus, because for him he is not the Son of God. He has access to the hope of his fathers only through the promises of the patriarchs and prophets, but does not no the revealing power of forgiveness and fulfillment with the Holy Spirit. He lacks the experience of the certain hope in Jesus (2. Ko7:17).

Sources of Studies for Chapter 2:
·       T.S.Garrett, Christian Worship. Oxford, Oxford University Press, 3rd ed. 1988.
·       郭立特奢,錫輝譯,「基督教的崇拜」,香港 .
·       Authorised Daily Prayer Book of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth. Singer's Prayer Book Publication Committee, 1990.
·       Judaism and Prayer: 26/9/2011.
E.W. Edersheim Giles, Rites and Worship of the Jews (London: The Religious Tract Society, 1890).

[1] E.W. Edersheim Giles, Rites and Worship of the Jews (London: The Religious Tract Society, 1890).
[3] Prayers and blessings taken from the Centenary edition of the Authorised Daily Prayer Book of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth. Singer's Prayer Book Publication Committee, 1990. 

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