Agape Love Meal
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Agape Love Meal 72

Lord's Supper

Justin MartyrIn the Early Church, Holy Communion with the elements of bread and wine had its beginning as part of an "agape" or an "agape feast" which was basically a meal followed by Communion in a household of faith. The Christian family, friends and relatives gathered to eat the meal together, then at the end to celebrate the Lord's Supper later called "The Eucharist" meaning "thanksgiving."

Meal Plus Communion

The Lords SupperIn the very early Christian document "The Didache" which was also called "The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles" in chapter fourteen the words, "And after you have had your fill, give thanks thus," are thought to have been the introduction to the Holy Communion part of the fellowship meeting after the feast was finished. In another place, the writer of the Didache, which could be either a first or a second century AD document urges, "On the Lord's day, come together, break bread, and give thanks." The Lord's Day here indicates Sunday being commemorated in the Early Church as the day of the Resurrection of Jesus.✞

No Agape Survival

CommunionIn Justin Martyr's second century account there is no survival at all of the agape as by this time the sacrament had been separated from eating and drinking at a meal to avoid abuses that had arisen between the haves and the have nots. In Paul's writings, we find that there is already a problem in combining an agape feast with the Eucharist.

Hungry and Feasted

Church FamilyPaul writes in 1 Corinthians 11.20-21, "When you come together, it is not really the Lord's Supper you eat, for as you eat, each of you goes ahead without waiting for anybody else. One remains hungry, another gets drunk." To restore order to the sacrament, the feast portion was phased out. If Holy Communion had not broken away from the agape love meal, the Christian community around the world might still be a series of small households of faith rather than the institutional churches we have today. There's a thought!✞

"Agape Love Meal"
by Ron Meacock © 2017

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