Have you ever wondered what worship looks like among the five major religions of the world? Here we’re going to take a look at how the world’s faiths are different and how they’re surprisingly similar to one another.
In the Jewish calendar, the Sabbath is known as the Shabbat. This day isn’t just Saturday. It actually runs from the Friday evening before until the following Saturday night. This is the time in which Jews hold their worship services, but it’s not set in stone. Some Jews begin their worship the moment the sun goes down. Others wait until later in the evening before starting prayers.
Usually, the Sabbath day begins with a meal of grape juice, wine and bread. But these items do not contain the same meaning as they do in the Christian faith. Rather, they’re simply a custom that has been passed down through generations. After that, Jews usually say a special prayer and receive a blessing called the kiddush.
On Saturday morning, many Jews receive a reading from the Torah or the Jewish holy book. On the Sabbath, many Jews avoid doing things like shopping and working. For them, it’s important that the entire day is dedicated to God.
Perhaps the most visible form of worship in the world is the kind of worship we see in Islam. Here whole countries stop what they’re doing to observe daily prayers. According to the Quran, Muslims must engage in prayer five times a day. This is so that they do not forget the presence of Allah in everything that they do. Men and women have separate areas in which they must pray, according to tradition.
Muslims gather together on Friday nights with others for further prayers and teachings. But interestingly, they do not observe a Sabbath.
Compared to the other Abrahamic religions, churches can be a lot less formal. For instance, Christians rarely kneel in prayer in Western churches. They have the luxury of church chairs with arms. And often churches are filled with expensive lighting and state of the art music equipment. Like the other religions, there is a great variety in the way that Christians go about their worship. In Catholicism, we see a lot of iconography and formal litany. But in Evangelical circles, the opposite is true. We see little, if any formal worship, and far less inhibition.
Christians, like Jews, observe the Sabbath. But their Sabbath is on a different day. In the Christian tradition, the Sabbath is a Sunday, since this is the day that Jesus rose from the dead. Like Jews, Christians usually avoid work on the Sabbath. They choose instead to spend the time doing things with their families, like enjoying the great outdoors. Many other Christians no longer observe the Sabbath. They no longer see it as something that is relevant to modern, Christian teaching.
Buddhism is one of the most varied religions in the world. There are many different sects, reflecting different histories of the religion.
In Buddhism, there isn’t any worship, as such. That’s because the religion doesn’t direct itself towards any one particular entity. Rather, it’s a religion of listening to oneself and meditating on Buddhist teachings. That’s not to say that the Buddha himself isn’t important. He is. But it’s just that he is not considered a deity.
Many Buddhists observe what is called Uposatha. This means a day of resting and seeking wisdom. The timing of Uposatha is based on lunar cycles. As a result, the Buddhist calendar is very different from the Western calendar.
Unlike in the Abrahamic religions, Buddhism doesn’t require people to attend a central place of worship. There is no synagogue, mosque or church. But there are places where Buddhists gather to seek wisdom and transcendence. These are called temples, and they’re often located in the countryside where it is more peaceful.
Surprisingly, Hinduism shares quite a few similarities with modern Christianity. As with modern Christianity, worship is more relaxed. In the Hindu faith, Hindus can come and go during worship when they please. And services aren’t at a set time. Most Hindus worship in the morning or the evening, however.
Seventh-Day Adventists believe in the Bible. But their worship differs quite considerably from mainstream Christianity. Like Christians, they observe a holy day. But for them, the Sabbath is the same as it is for Jews. Seventh-Day Adventists tend to be stricter on what they do on the Sabbath. They avoid most secular activities and choose instead to spend time with their families. They also worship God by treating their body as a temple. For many Adventists, that means eating a diet rich in vegetables and low in sweets and meat.