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Service of worship



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A service of worship is a religious meeting where people of a church come together, usually in a cathedral or church building, in order to worship God. It may also be called a church service or prayer service or just service. It is the usual term used in the Christian religion for such a meeting. The term is also used sometimes in Judaism, although prayer service or just service are more common.

Christianity

In the Christian churches services are normally held on Sundays, although there may be services on other days as well, especially in large churches or cathedrals.

In the Protestant church services are usually led by a pastor, although sometimes they may be led by laymen (people who are not priests). In Catholic churches and some others, they are called "Mass".

Services often include Holy Communion or Eucharist. Matins is a morning service which does not include communion. An evening service is called Evensong.

Church services are also held for weddings, funerals, or other special occasions.

Services may include prayers, singing, sermons (preaching) and readings from the Bible.

Judaism

In Judaism, each prayer service is built around two main elements: Shema and Amida. But there are 3 prayers required for each day.

The three daily prayers in Judaism are Shaharit (Shacharit) for morning prayer, Minha (Mincha) for afternoon prayer and Arvit or Maariv for evening prayer. The basics of each prayer consist of the Shema (although the afternoon prayer does not require Shema), and the Amida (standing prayer) which is the definitive prayer of each service. Fundamentally, when a Jew says "prayer", he or she means Amida. Everything else (which is largely Psalms) is just detail.

  1. The Shema. The Shema includes three paragraphs from the Torah: Deuteronomy 6:4-9, Deuteronomy 11:13-21, and Numbers 15:37-41. These three paragraphs include the most basic ideas about Judaism, God, and God's relationship with the Jewish people.
    • The text of the Shema says it should be said "when you go to bed" and "when you wake up".[1] Because of this, Shema is said at the morning and evening prayer services, but not the afternoon service.
  2. The Amidah. The Amidah ("standing prayer") is a group of blessings about everything in the relationship between God and Jews. After the Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed, prayer became a substitute for sacrifices. [2] Because of this, Amidah is said at the same time of day as sacrifices:
    • Morning and afternoon every day, at the time of the daily burnt-offering[3]
    • Evening every day, at the time when remaining pieces of the day's sacrifices were burned[4]
    • Musaf. Late morning on Shabbat,[5] Rosh Chodesh (day of new Jewish month)[6] and major Jewish holidays,[7] because additional sacrifices were offered then
    • Ne'ilah. Late afternoon at the end of Yom Kippur[8]

Jewish prayer services are held whenever the Amidah prayer is said. In the morning and evening, they also include Shema.

References

  1. Basic English translation of Deut. 6:7
  2. Based on Hosea 14:3: Simple English translation: "We will use our lips instead of offering bulls as sacrifices."
  3. Numbers 28:1-8
  4. Mishneh Torah, Hilkhot Tefillah 1:6
  5. Numbers 28:9-10
  6. Numbers 28:11-15
  7. Numbers 28:16-31 and all of chapter 29
  8. Mishnah Ta'anit 4:1
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