As we prepare for Sunday morning worship this weekend, we prepare our hearts and minds for the worship of God. We will walk into church this Sunday and sing worship songs, have prayer, take up an offering, hear a sermon, take communion and have an invitation/response and a time of fellowship.
But what did the worship services of our Christian forefathers look like? Check out what Justin Martyr (around 100-165 A.D.) said about early church worship:
"On the day called Sunday, all who live in the cities or in the country gather together in one place, and the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read, as long as time permits. Then, when the reader has ceased, the president verbally instructs, and exhorts to the imitation of these good things. Then we rise together and pray and . . . when our prayer is ended, bread and wine and water are brought, and the president in the manner offers prayers and thanksgivings, according to his ability, and the people assent, saying Amen! And there is distribution to each (communion), and a participation of that over which thanks has been given, and to those who are absent a portion is sent by the deacons. But Sunday is the day on which we all hold our common assembly, because it is the day on which God, having wrought a change in the darkness and matter, made the world; and Jesus Christ our Savior on the same day rose from the dead." -- First Apology, taken from Historical Theology, Gregg Allison.
As we see from Justin's account, Scripture, prayer and communion played a major role of the earliest gathering of believers. More importantly he recognized the reason for their meeting together: to worship God and celebrate the resurrection of Christ.
This Sunday as you depart to your local church gathering, remember the reason you gather is to worship God and to celebrate the risen Christ as you sing, pray, listen to the Word and serve.