Christian Worship and Sri Lankan New Year Festival

Origins of Christian Worship - The Old Testament Times (OT)

1. The influence of the OT on the origins of Christian Worship is indirect rather than direct, theological rather than liturgical.

2. In the formation of Christian Worship, the knowledge of God as Lord in history became the base....3. According to Exodus 23:14-17 in Israel three festivals were held annually. I. Feast of Unleavened bread. II. Harvest (held in the spring at the beginning and the end of grain harvest) III. Feast of in-gathering (held in the Autumn, at the end of the fruit-gathering season)

4. When Israelites settled in Palestine they celebrated these 3 festivals as a way of worshipping God.

5. The feast of Passover was held at the same time as that of Unleavened bread, and the two became one major festival.

6. The feast of harvest became Pentecost, which commemorated the giving of the Law at mount Sinai.

7. Feast of in-gathering became the feast of Booths or tents which commemorated the Israelites wandering in the wilderness.

8. Here we see how the worship of Israelites, based on natural seasons moved on to the historical or rather theological interpretation of history with their understanding of the character and purpose of God.

9. In Christian Worship Passover got reinterpreted with the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

10. The Jewish Pentecost became meaningful in Christian Worship with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

11. When Israelites commemorated the wandering in the wilderness on the feast of Booths or tents the worshipper said “ a wandering Aramaean was my father and went down to Egypt and sojourned there, few in number.......and the Lord brought us out of Egypt......”

12. By celebrating this feast they commemorated God's saving action. This was not just a remembrance of a past historical event. When they said that, the Lord brought us out of Egypt, they really lived in that event.

13. The above way of commemoration influenced the Christian celebration of the Eucharist.

14. In Israel's worship there was a ministry of the Word as well as a ministry of Sacrifice.

15. The church has inherited this in the form of its ministry of the Word which stands beside the ministry of the Sacrament.