Touching the Altar: The Old Testament for Christian Worship

Front Cover
Carol M. Bechtel
Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, Jan 14, 2008 - Religion - 211 pages
What does it mean to be in the presence of God's holiness? How can it affect us whether we seek it out or stumble upon it? Can it truly change our very reality to encounter it?

The essayists in this volume explore these questions at the heart of Christian worship, considering the oft-neglected Old Testament as essential to understand our purpose in worship. Following the structure of the Hebrew canon -- beginning with the Pentateuch, moving through to the Psalms, then wisdom literature -- each chapter considers a separate aspect of worship, from theater to the Sabbath to sacred space, offering new inspiration. In the final essay Carol Bechtel "rereads the book of Job through the lens of our human limitations (as opposed to the usual theme of theodicy)," with compelling applications for both life and worship.

Each of these essays concludes with two appropriately themed hymns and a "For Further Reading" list. Five of the seven contain sidebars that illustrate and enrich key points. Evocative woodcut artwork by Margaret Adams Parker provides a striking backdrop to the text. Taken together, these essays testify powerfully to the belief that the Old Testament is not only valuable but also essential to "whole" and fully foundational preaching and worship.

Written primarily by Old Testament professors, Touching the Altar will make an engaging supplemental text for introductory or elective Old Testament courses and will also go far toward providing deeper worship for any Christian.

Carol M. Bechtel
Thomas A. Boogaart
Corrine L. Carvalho
Ellen F. Davis
J. Clinton McCann Jr.
Dennis T. Olson
Margaret Adams Parker
John D. Witvliet

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User Review  - thornton37814 - LibraryThing

I found the essays too scholarly for a general readership but not scholarly enough for an academic audience. The book's topic should appeal to many, but the way the topic was handled left much to be ... Read full review

User Review  - Charles Waddell -

It is full of good information I was wanting to go deeper into this area, and wanted even more information on the subject. Read full review


The Sabbath Commandment in Exodus 20
The Sabbath Commandment in Deuteronomy
The Sabbath Day and the Lords Day
O Day of Radiant Gladness Christopher Wordsworth
Recovering the Dramatic Tradition
A Call to Apprenticeship
Recovering Textual Contrasts
The Temple in 1 Kings and Ezekiel
The Temple and Gods Permanent Presence
Reading a Map Theologically
Arriving at the Treasure
The Psalms in Worship
and 100
Saturated with Justice
for further reading

Correcting Theological Astigmatism as an Antidote to Idolatry
Sing Praise to God Who Reigns AboveJohann J Schütz
Costly Vision
Lament over Jerusalem
Brian Wren
Worship as Reality Check
All Nature Sings
Creation Sings Each Plant and Tree

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Popular passages

Page 5 - Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work; but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work...
Page 152 - LOVE divine, all love excelling, Joy of heaven, to earth come down ! Fix in us thy humble dwelling, All thy faithful mercies crown.
Page 59 - O sing of His grace, whose robe is the light, whose canopy space; His chariots of wrath the deep thunder-clouds form, and dark is His path on the wings of the storm.
Page 17 - Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm; therefore the LORD your God commanded you to keep the sabbath day.
Page 53 - Our little systems have their day; They have their day and cease to be; They are but broken lights of thee, And thou, O Lord, art more than they.
Page 71 - Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his Redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.
Page 59 - Thy bountiful care What tongue can recite? It breathes in the air, It shines in the light; It streams from the hills, It descends to the plain, And sweetly distils In the dew and the rain.
Page 152 - Nevermore thy temples leave. Thee we would be always blessing, Serve thee as thy hosts above; Pray, and praise thee without ceasing, Glory in thy perfect love. Finish, then, thy new creation; Pure and spotless let us be; Let us see thy great salvation Perfectly restored in thee; 224 Changed from glory into glory, Till in heaven we take our place, Till we cast our crowns before thee, Lost in wonder, love, and praise.
Page 201 - Woe is me! I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, yet my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!
Page 16 - Six days you shall labor/ and do all your work; but the seventh day is a sabbath to the LORD your God; in it you shall not do any work/ you/ or your son/ or your daughter/ your manservant/ or your maidservant/ or your cattle/ or the sojourner who is within your gates...

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