Our services are a mix of contemporary and ancient elements. Essentially, we have two services, which occur back to back. The first part of our Sabbath services include Worship and Teaching, whereas, the second half is comprised of our Torah Service and Group Study.
Our first service starts just after 10am and typically lasts until about noon. We take a short break then return for our Torah service where we read the week's Torah portion and related scripture selections, followed by our communal study time.
Worship and Teaching
We open our services with prayer and traditional liturgy like Ma Tovu, V'sham'ru, and the Shema. Then, we have spirit-led and filled praise and worship, followed by the Kaddish and a sermon.
This service closes with a blessing for the offerings and reading of church announcements. Depending on the length of the sermon, this service typically ends around noon. We take a brief intermission before beginning the Torah Service.
Torah Service and Group Study
We begin our Torah service with traditional prayers and a Torah processional, followed by reading the Torah portion and selected pieces from the Tanakh (Old Testament) and B'rit Hadashah (New Testament).
After reading, we have a group study and discussion over the content of our reading, the weekly Bible in a Year readings for the week, our study book, the sermon, or any general questions a person might have.
Many people will bring their lunch or something to snack on during this time, often to share with others. This service usually wraps up around 2-2:30pm.
About the Prayers & Customs
Ma Tovu -
Literally "How Good" (or "how goodly"), this is a prayer expressing reverence and awe for the places of worship. We thank God for giving us a place to join together in fellowship to worship Him, learn about Him, and read His word together. The first line is drawn from Balaam's blessing in Numbers 24:5, the rest comes from the Psalms (5:8, 26:8, 95:6 and 69:14).
This is a prayer reminding us of the command to keep the Sabbath. This also calls us to remember that Sabbath is a sign between God and the children of Israel forever. This is drawn from Exodus 31:16-17.
The Kaddish is a prayer that glorifies God; it remembers His promises for the coming fulfillment of His kingdom, the promises to Israel; it calls us to remember and pray for the peace He promises for His people, Israel & all those who join to her.
This is the most foundational prayer in all of Judaism, and is essential to the core of Messianic faith. It is drawn directly from Deuteronomy 6:4-9, affirms the oneness of God, and exhorts us to remember His commands, to speak of them and teach them, to live them out in our daily lives. When Yeshua (Jesus) was asked of the greatest commandment, the gospels record He responded with this prayer; paraphrased in Matthew 22:36-40, and cited directly in Mark 12:28-31.
Torah Processional -
Just before our Torah reading, we perform the traditional practice of a processional. The Torah is walked around the congregation in a celebration to acknowledge the gift that God's Holy word is to us, and recognizing it is a representation of Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus the Messiah), the living word, who was made flesh and dwelt among us.