Summary: Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. - 1 Timothy 4:13 When we visit different Churches in the world there is in all of them an order of service (liturgy) or pattern that they follow. Though the ..
Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. - 1 Timothy 4:13
When we visit different Churches in the world there is in all of them an order of service (liturgy) or pattern that they follow. Though there are small differences in each gathering there are many common elements such as: Reading of Scriptures, Preaching, Public Prayers (1 Timothy 2:1), Lord's Supper (1 Corinthians 11:26), Head-coverings (1 Corinthians 11:1-16). Another practice not common today but held by early believers was the, Kiss of Peace (Romans 16:16). Where prophets functioned in early Churches there was time given for their words (1 Corinthians 14:29-30). Tongues seems to be practiced more in the Corinthians assembly then other Churches (1 Corinthians 14:27-28). Prayer by Overseers with oil was a practice also held (James 5:14). You see early on in Church history the formation of a greeting and benediction where the bishop or presbyter would lead the meeting. The early Corinthian Church was full of selfishness where everyone wanted to take part in a meeting and were not considering others. Also there was a lack of submission to authority and a divisive spirit that led to disorder. Paul the Apostle spoke to encourage them in the way of love (1 Corinthians 13) for them to prefer each other.
Justin Martyr in A.D. 155 says of a Christian service in his day, "On the day we called Sunday, all who dwell in the city or country gather in the same place. The memoirs of the apostles and the writings of the prophets are read. When the reader has finished, he who presides over those gathered admonishes and challenges them to imitate these beautiful things. Then we all rise together and offer prayers for ourselves. When the prayers are concluded we exchange the kiss. Then someone brings bread and a cup of water and wine mixed together to him who presides over the brethren. He takes them and offers praise and glory to the Father of the universe, through the name of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and for a considerable time he gives thanks (in Greek: eucharistian) that we have been judged worthy of these gifts. When he who presides has given thanks and the people have responded 'Amen', those whom we call deacons give to those present the 'eucharisted' bread, wine and water and take them to those who are absent." We can learn much from this snapshot and picture of an early gathering of believers. Looking at this picture presented we see Christ the focus on the leaders keeping that focus through the reading of the Scriptures and celebration of the Lord's Supper which both would have spoken of the Lord. Whether we are in a house Church or Cathedral Church many of the same practices can be kept keeping us in lineage with the traditions and practices of the early meetings of the Church.