When compared to the typical Sunday service, Shabbat is a completely different experience that many just do not understand. Some might even reason that those who keep the Sabbath do so for all the wrong reasons! However, we understand that when we observe the Sabbath and assemble to meet with the Heavenly Father at His prescribed time, we anticipate for the Sabbath to come out of our willingness to obey His commandments. We worry about making sure that those little errands are done and out of the way so that our minds are not preoccupied when we’re gathered together to meet with the Heavenly Father. We also make those final travel arrangements and stay so that we can assemble ourselves with either a home fellowship or local assembly. Then, we celebrate Shabbat.
At Nehr HaOlam, the third blowing of the Shofar prior to the Sabbath indicates to the community that we’re about to make a sacred assembly to convoke the Sacred name of the Heavenly Father. We begin with a short praying thanking the Heavenly Father for allowing us to meet together. Then, we recite some liturgical prayers that are biblically based, prayers recited both in Hebrew and in the language of the host nation that explains what the Sabbath is and why we gather ourselves.
Then, we celebrate! We sing songs in both Hebrew and the language of native host country, songs that are based on biblical verses. Those who are skilled with musical instruments play their best before the Heavenly Father. Many get up from their chairs and dance before Elohim to thank Him for their deliverance from the many troubles wherewith their persecutors have tried to discourage them with for their faithful obedience. Some communities go to the extent of wearing ancient Israeli garments just to have that cultural experience with their biblical roots while other communities limit wearing Beged Ivri (i.e., Israeli folk garments) to only festive holidays. Still, a variety of musical styles are played and the Israeli praise and worship is most definitely a unique hallmark that distinguishes Messianic Jews from other religious groups. Afterwards, the congregational leader speaks a brief message.
Our Sabbath observance is not limited to liturgical prayer, music and dance. It’s also doesn’t end when the congregational or guest speaker finishes his talk, either. We also have intercessory prayer immediately after the short discourse. Then, we go to the banquet hall and celebrate Oneg (i.e., Hebrew meaning delight).
At oneg, we literally sit down at the table and break bread together. We also enjoy the fellowship of our beloved brothers and sisters. We get to know each other quite well and hear each other’s experience. Most importantly, we pray for one another and express our genuine concern for the fellowship. Then, we part ways for the evening looking forward to meeting together the very next day.
After briefly describing to you a typical Sabbath Evening, this study will end with a brief thought.
We understand some of the concerns that many have pertaining to visiting a Sabbath keeping congregation. Many of our members have had those very same experiences that our readers have had and more. At the end of the day, most of us just want to experience the rich cultural heritage that Messiah himself experienced as he celebrated with his disciples. If anything, visiting a local Messianic assembly affords Bible enthusiasts with the opportunity to peak in through the window and see what it was like to worship the Heavenly Father some two thousand years ago.
If you like, you’re more than welcomed to visit your local assembly without any commitments or obligations. So, be sure to experience Messiah prior to making any rash decisions on the matter. If anything, think for yourself without letting others think for you. It’s definitely an experience that you’ll never forget.
© 2014 by Nehr HaOlam Publications.
Winslow, New Jersey, USA
All Rights Reserved.
Unless otherwise indicated, all Scriptures were taken from the New Living Translation of the Bible.
For more information, contact NehrHaOlam@gmail.com.
Nehr HaOlam Publications
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