Shofars in Christian Contexts - Printable Version

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Shofars in Christian Contexts - DeanZF - 03-06-2007

I was asked to begin our congregation’s services with a shofar blast. I asked if I could start with a quick little “nugget” before actually blowing, so that our people could begin to develop an understanding that we were not doing this because Dean has an infatuation with things Jewish or Hebraic. It was agreed that by sharing these little nuggets, we could develop that understanding plus maybe begin to develop an awareness of and maybe a love for the Jews and for Israel. This is something that’s been on our pastor’s heart for a long time and something that we’ve talked about at length. We’ve been praying for Father’s strategy to woo people’s heart to the things that are on His heart. And so, we arrived at the use of the shofar in our decidedly liturgical services.

I’ve tried to keep these little snippets of teaching to a scripture verse or a single thought or image so that they are crisp and clear. They seem to be well-received and producing fruit.

I'm going to try to post them in the approximate size and sequence that I've delivered them to the congregation so that each could stand on its own in this thread, a few to start, and adding one or two more nuggets every day or two or three.

Looking forward to your thoughts and comments.

Shofars in Christian Contexts - DeanZF - 03-06-2007

Why blow the shofar?

Well, mostly because God said so! What were the trumpet blasts used for? They were used to signal the children of Israel--signals for time to worship, time to move out, time to go to war, time to retreat and more. In any of those situations, one can imagine that it was extremely important to both hear and to understand what was being communicated. And, of course, it was important to obey!

Listen to the two prayers that a shofarist prays before blowing:
Quote:Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, king of the universe, Who has commanded the blowing of the shofar.
Quote:Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, king of the universe, Who has commanded us to hear the shofar’s blast.
[The shofar was blown and the service began.]

Shofars in Christian Contexts - DeanZF - 03-06-2007

...God...Who has commanded us to hear (and understand) the shofar’s blast

We talked a little about the masses of Israel in the wilderness hearing and obeying the shofar’s call. I want to bring you into the New Testament this time, thinking about what the apostle Paul had to say about the blowing of the trumpet or shofar. It’s not just an “Old Testament thing”, you see. Paul thought it important enough to bring it up! I Corinthians 14:8 says, very much taken out of context but still very pertinent, “For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?”

Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, king of the universe, Who has commanded us to hear—to hear and understand—the shofar’s blast. [The shofar was blown…]

Shofars in Christian Contexts - DeanZF - 03-06-2007

Recognizing, so we can respond

Last week, we talked about making or hearing unsure sounds on the trumpet. Remember the TV show, M.A.S.H.? Remember Corporal Radar O’Reilly and his bugle blowing? [Lots of smiles and giggles here.] We probably all recognize a couple of Army bugle calls like Taps and Reveille, and we’ve heard “CHARGE” enough because of sports events. You’d likely remember the call to assembly if you heard it, too. Most have heard the Post Call for getting horse races started. We know what those mean and can respond. How much more important is it that we understand God’s call in the Spirit and respond?

“Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, king of the universe, Who has commanded us to hear the shofar's blast.”

Shofars in Christian Contexts - DeanZF - 03-07-2007

There are three basic sounds and one variation on the theme.

<URL url="http://www.zionfire.com/FTP-Sounds/tekiah.au">Tekiah (aaaWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAKE!)

<URL url="http://www.zionfire.com/FTP-Sounds/shevarim.au">Shevarim (the sighings)

<URL url="http://www.zionfire.com/FTP-Sounds/teruah.au">Teruah (the alarm)

and the Tekiah Gedola (very, very long tekiah!) that is not played since it's like the first one, only as long as the shofarist can hold out without breathing.

When you click, it should get the file and play it in Windows Media Player or any other media player that supports .au files.

Shofars in Christian Contexts - DeanZF - 03-07-2007

Sound the alarm on my holy mountain…

In the middle of the shofar call that I usually use, there is a series of at least 9 short, fast notes all strung together. In Hebrew, this is called the teruah, translated as “the alarm”. In the Middle East, and in Native American cultures, there is a mouth sound that is often associated with excitement, with crowds or even mobs of people, and especially with attacks during times of war. It is a high pitched, kind of screechy sounding “YI-YI-YI-YI-YI-YI-YI-YI-YI-YI”. If you’ve watched cowboy and Indian movies, you know the sound. This is that teruah. In Joel 2, the prophet was told to sound the alarm (teruah) on God’s holy mountain, which would be Zion or praise. What is that alarm? Is it because the King is coming? Is it because He expects His people to respond during times of war, even or especially spiritual warfare?? Sounding the alarm!

“Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God…”

Shofars in Christian Contexts - flaglady - 03-07-2007

Fantastic, Dean. That was really interesting. I shall be back for more ...

(And thank you for your teaching the other night - I am still practicing but not good enough to do a tape yet!)

Shofars in Christian Contexts - HelenaZF - 03-07-2007

It's too bad Dean couldn't have posted a recording of his own shofar playing....the examples above are pretty wimpy sounding, IMO. But at least they give the idea.

Shofars in Christian Contexts - DeanZF - 03-07-2007

I do appreciate my loyal honey's impressions of my shofar efforts. Part of it is the horn. The examples are done on a fairly short ram's horn. The blasts from the yemenite style, the great curly ones especially, have a lot more quality to the sound. Fuller, somehow more alive.

I'll try to work on recording the sounds. Wonder how that'll go. Confusedtunned:

Shofars in Christian Contexts - DeanZF - 03-08-2007

Why do you sometimes turn all the way around while playing that last, very long note?

I was taught that it is a tradition in some Jewish and Messianic circles, but it seems to have a pretty good foundation in Scripture.

First, Abram was told that his descendants would be spread out north, south, east, and west. Then, Moses was told to use the two silver trumpets (not shofars, but probably silver trumpets that look something like our brass trumpets of today, only straight and without valves--like a straightened out bugle. One of their blasts was to blow one to the east and one to the west, so that all could hear and know what to do. Then, the psalmist teaches about it in Psalm 107 where the redeemed are gathered (called back) from north, south, east, and west; this is referenced as well in several other similar quotes, calling home the redeemed or the scattered. Kind of like blowing the army call to assembly.

Pray with me that all the saints that belong in this place will hear the shofar blast. “Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God… king of the universe…Who has commanded us to hear…to hear the shofar’s blast.”

[With this teaching, I started to ask the congregants to pray that prayer responsively with me, that we might hear and understand the shofar’s blast.]