Residing at the center of our worship service is the public reading of Scripture, the preaching of the Word, and our response in the form of tithes and offerings. The Word of God is like a “double edged sword” which both pierces our hearts with conviction (Heb. 4:12), and comforts and guards our hearts with its promises (Ps. 119:25-32). When Adam and Eve were expelled from God’s presence, the Garden of Eden was guarded by a flaming sword which represented the word of judgment that was passed against them (Gen. 3:24). In keeping with this imagery, those who would offer sacrifices at the tabernacle and the temple were required to pierce the animals with a knife and lay them on a burning altar, as an application of God’s just penalty for sin as recorded in the law of God (Lev. 1:5-7). In the New Testament, the Word of God is identified as the “sword of the Spirit” which pierces unbelievers, compels them to be belief (Eph. 6:17; Acts 2:37), and along with Christian baptism “consecrates” and “dedicates” them to be His people (Eph. 5:26). Throughout the Christian life, God continues to cut and to sculpt His people with the Word of God as it directs us to holiness (Ps. 119:9; 2 Tim. 3:16) and continued reliance on the Gospel (Rom. 16:25-27). In the context of worship, the reading of Scripture is preceded by a prayer that God would remove our hostility to it, and followed by the singing of the Gloria Patri as a way of honoring the God who speaks in it. In response to the preaching of the Word, we consecrate a portion of our income as a gift to God in the form of tithes and offerings (Lev. 26:10-13; Phil. 4:15-18) accompanied by a song of praise (Heb. 13:15).