Thursday, December 3, 2015

What were church 'services' like in the earliest days?

"...On Sunday we have a common assembly of all our members, whether they live in the city or the outlying districts. The recollections of the apostles [New Testament] or the writings of the prophets [Old Testament] are read, as long as there is time. When the reader has finished, the president of the assembly [the overseer/elder] speaks to us; he urges everyone to imitate the examples of virtue we have heard in the readings. Then we all stand up together and pray.

"On the conclusion of our prayer, bread and wine and water are brought forward. The president offers prayers and gives thanks to the best of his ability, and the people give assent by saying, “Amen”. The [bread and wine are] distributed, everyone present communicates [participates], and the deacons take it to those who are absent.

"The wealthy, if they wish, may make a contribution, and they themselves decide the amount. The collection is placed in the custody of the president, who uses it to help the orphans and widows and all who for any reason are in distress, whether because they are sick, in prison, or away from home. In a word, he takes care of all who are in need…."

-- Justin Martyr

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