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Author Topic: How does God want to be worshipped?  (Read 370 times) Average Rating: 0
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Timon
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« on: January 19, 2012, 01:40:02 PM »

I dont even know if that question makes sense.  Sure, there are lots of ways we can worship.

However, isnt there a place in the OT where God tells his people how he wants us to worship?  Im having trouble finding the passage im looking for.  Maybe it doesnt exist.  Where do we ge the idea to build fancy buildings and have a set liturgy?

Also, when it comes to worship, how do Orthodox address Psalm 150?  Other denominations use this as their reason for having rock bands in Church.  Whats the Orthodox position?
« Last Edit: January 19, 2012, 01:46:23 PM by Timon » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2012, 02:00:24 PM »

Orthodox worship is modeled after that of God's chosen people. I am sure that somebody here will find the OT references but the point is that the Christians did have a baseline. So, just as the Lord himself is the Savior of the OT, the Orthodox Church is naturally the offshoot of the Temple. Orthodox modalities are essentially the same as those of the Early Church. For church/temple structure see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dura-Europos. For the liturgical aspects, I recommend that you read a work by two Evangelical Protestant theologians, The Heresy of Orthodoxy: How Contemporary Culture's Fascination with Diversity Has Reshaped Our Understanding of Early Christianity (by Köstenberger and Kruger, Crossway Books, 2010), to get a third party's appreciation of the continuity that has existed since the beginning.

Regarding Psalm 150, it is not an issue for the Orthodox as we look at the OT through the prism of the Cross, as my priest is fond of saying. Let me put it this way: Circumcision was God's gift to the Chosen People as a sign of his favor and there are plenty of references in the OT. Yet, the First Church Council in Jerusalem resolved this issue in the light of the NT and made it not mandatory for the Gentile converts, who were nonetheless "numbered among the elect." (Prayer for the catechumens, Divine Liturgy of St John Chrysostom).

Finally, I wish you a safe, healthy and blessed New Year and a spiritual journey pleasing to the Lord.
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« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2012, 02:35:22 PM »

Revelation describes the angels as burning incense. It also says the prayers of the saints are kept in golden vials.

Some verses from there, and elsewhere, which may help:

Revelation 5:8
And when he had opened the book, the four living creatures, and the four and twenty ancients fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints:

Revelation 8:3
And another angel came, and stood before the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given to him much incense, that he should offer of the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar, which is before the throne of God.

Psalm 148:14
The praise of him is above heaven and earth: and he hath exalted the horn of his people. A hymn to all his saints: to the children of Israel, a people approaching to him. Alleluia.

*Underlining is mine.

Exodus 18:20
And to shew the people the ceremonies and the manner of worshipping, and the way wherein they ought to walk, and the work that they ought to do.

Exodus 36:3
He delivered all the offerings of the children of Israel unto them. And while they were earnest about the work, the people daily in the morning offered their vows.

Ezekiel 8:16
And he brought me into the inner court of the house of the Lord: and behold at the door of the temple of the Lord, between the porch and the altar, were about five and twenty men having their backs towards the temple of the Lord, and their faces to the east: and they adored towards the rising of the sun.

 angel

So we see there is the work of the people, (laon=people, ergon=work), from which we get our word liturgy; and there is worship in a temple, with incense and prayers of the saints.

Hope this is helpful.  angel
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« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2012, 02:48:26 PM »

Fwiw, here's something I posted elsewhere on the forum...

The Orthodox Church uses fixed prayers for a variety of reasons. First, fixed prayers such as the Psalms have long been a part of Christian prayer life, dating back to the New Testament times (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16; James 5:13), and we also see biblical evidence for continuing the practice of praying at appointed hours (Acts 3:1; 10:9, 30). Second, Jesus Himself, in responding to the Apostles request to be taught how to pray (Lk. 11:1), gave a fixed prayer, saying “This, then, is how you should pray,” and then proceeding to give us the Our Father (Matt. 6:9-13; Lk. 11:2-4).

The reason that this is beneficial is that it cuts out some potential for self-willed prayer. Many Orthodox prayers come down to usfrom holy men, and the prayers have been tested and sanctified by use throughout the centuries. What we have in prayer books are not a random collection of prayers randomly selected. No, the Church, through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, has selected specific prayers because they help guide us towards truths about God and His creation. This is not to say that there are not sometimes issues, only that the Church in it’s collective wisdom is a better discerner of how to best pray to God than we are as individuals. Thus using fixed prayers is also an exercise in foundational Christian virtues such as humility and obedience.

Fixed prayers also connects people of various cultures, nationalities, geographic locations, and languages. True, any prayers could unite the body of Christ, so long as they were sincere. But using prayers known across boundaries of culture, language, etc. has a practical as well as spiritual benefit. So to with the liturgies, while there are some variations, and changes occur over the centuries, yet there is also a great deal of consistency from one year to the next. The Apostles didn’t switch worship styles based on popular opinion, and neither do the Orthodox. Thus the Orthodox continued the style of worship that they had received, ie. liturgical worship (Acts. 13:2), they established customs to be kept (1 Cor. 10:16-17; 11:2, 20-30), and as St. Paul put it: "Let all things be done decently and in order." (1 Cor. 14:40)

Of course, one problem that Protestants often have when they first explore Orthodoxy prayer and worship is the use of repetition. After all, did not Jesus say: “But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.” (Matt. 6:7; cf Eccl. 5:2)? They key word here is “vain,” however. Not all repetitions are vain, as we can clearly see from other Scriptural passages. In the Psalms we often see repetitions, sometimes of subject material (e.g. Ps. 119), and sometimes through using a refrain, such as when Ps. 136 finished every verse with: “for his mercy endureth for ever”. We should also remember that St. Paul spoke of the idea that we could “pray without ceasing” (1 Thes. 5:17), which clearly would require some repetition, no matter how creative you were. And perhaps most importantly, Jesus Himself repeated his prayers on the night of His betrayal (Matt 26:37-45; Mk 14:33-42).
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« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2012, 03:42:04 PM »

However, isnt there a place in the OT where God tells his people how he wants us to worship?  Im having trouble finding the passage im looking for.  Maybe it doesnt exist.  Where do we ge the idea to build fancy buildings and have a set liturgy?

We get it from the "fancy buildings" (tabernacle and temple) and the feasts, rituals, hours of prayer, etc in the OT finding their fulfillment in Christ.

Quote
Also, when it comes to worship, how do Orthodox address Psalm 150?  Other denominations use this as their reason for having rock bands in Church.  Whats the Orthodox position?

Chanting is supposed to bring the whole person back into harmony, and harmony with God when it is directred towards Him in prayer. While I personally have nothing against musical instruments (I do have something against replacing worship with entertainment), I don't see their use as necessary or a "mark of the true Church". My personal opinion is that there is nothing that musical instruments can do that can't be done by the choir, whether it's keeping the melody or the rhythm for what's being chanted.
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« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2012, 04:03:22 PM »

Maybe to be more "culturally relevant..." the Church could incorporate more "beat boxing" into the liturgy! Its like using your voice as a drum set!! (im kidding.....)

But seriously... I think I found what I was looking for.  Like you touched on, Melodist, God explains to Moses what worship should look like in Exodus.  If I am not mistaking, this is what Christians trace their background to.  And since Christ did not come to abolish the law that was given to Moses, there isnt much reason to change the worship style from the way that God instituted it.  

That being said, I dont really have a problem with these modern rock n roll church conferences and stuff.  I guess they can be fun and cool.  And sure, I think God can be glorified and you can worship. (if you can get passed all the distractions...) I dont, however, think this should replace the Eucharistic liturgies that are based on what we see in Exodus and all throughout history.  If I have said something thats incorrect, feel free to correct me.

Im really sorry that I have been posting threads without even knowing exactly what I am getting at.  Im partly bored, and partly confused.  But thanks to your responses, and a little more reading of my own, I think ive made sense of the random thought process that was happening in my head.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2012, 04:22:54 PM by Timon » Logged

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« Reply #6 on: January 19, 2012, 06:41:44 PM »

But seriously... I think I found what I was looking for.  Like you touched on, Melodist, God explains to Moses what worship should look like in Exodus.  If I am not mistaking, this is what Christians trace their background to.  And since Christ did not come to abolish the law that was given to Moses, there isnt much reason to change the worship style from the way that God instituted it.

Basically. We still have the reading from the scriptures and teh hours of prayer, the only difference we have the Eucharist as the sacrifice because Christ's sacrifice on the cross is in fulfillment of all the OT ones.

Quote
That being said, I dont really have a problem with these modern rock n roll church conferences and stuff.  I guess they can be fun and cool.  And sure, I think God can be glorified and you can worship. (if you can get passed all the distractions...) I dont, however, think this should replace the Eucharistic liturgies that are based on what we see in Exodus and all throughout history.  If I have said something thats incorrect, feel free to correct me.

Unfortunately, this is basically what they're designed to do.

Im really sorry that I have been posting threads without even knowing exactly what I am getting at.  Im partly bored, and partly confused.  But thanks to your responses, and a little more reading of my own, I think ive made sense of the random thought process that was happening in my head.

[/quote]
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« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2012, 12:20:58 PM »

As to the question posed in the title: God is not a narcissist. He needs nothing (including having His ego stroked), nor is He a God who wants anything from us (the heart of God was revealed in Christ, Who emptied Himself out for us and laid down His life). However, our life is bound up in His life, and through our "worship" - or better, our cycles of services and prayers - we learn how to participate in His life.

We see glimpses of the heavenly Liturgy in Isaiah 6 and the book of Revelation.
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