| || |An Alphabetical Analysis Volume 10 - Practical Truth - Page 273 of 277 INDEX | |
of the gatherings, so far as we can perceive, was the Opened Book.
Attendance was to be given to 'the reading'; epistles sent to one church were
passed on to another. Men prayed; psalms, hymns and spiritual songs were
sung -- that is all.
We therefore meet together when the opportunity presents itself, and,
for the sake of decency and order, we meet at stated times. Our worship is
however not influenced by either time or place, nor is it dependent upon any
living person but the Ascended Christ Himself. A prominent place is given to
the reading of the Scriptures both from the Old Testament and in the New
Testament usually from both at any one meeting. Hymns that express the truth
are sung, and a word of teaching or exhortation is given. Prayer and
thanksgiving are offered, and mention of any item of life's experiences,
suffering or joy of those known to the assembled believers is made known. An
opportunity is given for a free will offering in support of the work, but no
collection is taken up. Occasionally some worthy work is made the object of
special prayer and offering, and practical fellowship is encouraged among all
who attend. No approach to any ceremonial or ritual is tolerated, and the
utmost simplicity is observed. Instead of priestly vestments, the believer
is clothed with humility, and 'puts on' the new man. Instead of incense,
there is the fragrance of consistent Christ -like living, and above all the
fragrance of the Name of Christ Himself. Instead of meeting together in a
sacred building, the believer realizes that his only 'place' of worship now
is 'where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God'. Such is the only liturgy
recognized, such the only litany known.
Some of the adjuncts of acceptable worship
We suggest that four main features characterize the worship enjoined
upon believers in the epistles of Paul. Let us acquaint ourselves with them
and any features that are emphasized.
Prayer and Praise. It does not seem thinkable for a gathering of
believers to meet together in worship without the utterance of both prayer
and praise. Prayers offered to God are of several kinds. There is prayer
that expresses our sense of need deomai, deesis (2 Cor. 1:11) sometimes
translated 'supplication' (1 Tim. 2:1). Prayer that 'asks' (John 4:31;
17:9). Prayer that expresses a wish euchomai, euche, and proseuchomai,
proseuche (Eph. 6:18). Prayer which is intercession enteuxis (1 Tim. 4:5),
and prayer which calls upon some one to come beside and help, parakaleo
(Matt. 26:53), (see parakletos 'comforter' John 14:16,26).
'I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers,
intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; for kings,
and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and
peaceable life in all godliness and honesty' (1 Tim. 2:1,2).
Prayer is addressed to the Father through the mediation of the Son.
Prayer that is addressed directly to the Saviour virtually does away with the
need of a Mediator and is to be shunned. 'Unto the Father' is the example
set by Paul, and should be adhered to. Such approaches to prayer as 'Dear
Jesus' are to be deplored and avoided. Paul says 'I bow my knees unto the
Father', and the posture of prayer deserves some consideration; although
there is no rigid rule governing it, Scripture speaks of 'kneeling' (Psa
95:6), 'standing' (Luke 18:11) and 'sitting' (2 Sam. 7:18), 'lifting up' of
the hands is mentioned (1 Tim. 2:8) but no definite statement is found of the
practice of putting the hands together or of closing the eyes, as is common