It was awe-inspiring enough to learn that today’s traditions are the same practiced in the early church. But it’s something else entirely to read of those early church traditions. I’m going to throw a bunch of quotes at you from the aforementioned Story of Christianity, of worship in the second century.
there were two main parts in a communion service. First there were commented readings of Scripture, with prayers and hymn singing… then came the second part of the service, communion proper, which opened with the kiss of peace. After the kiss, the bread and wine were brought forth and presented to the one presiding, who then offered a prayer over the elements… then the bread was broken and shared, the common cup was passed, and the meeting ended with a benediction.
Every Sunday was a sort of Easter, and a day of joy; and every Friday was a day of penance, fasting, and sorrow.
Once a year there was a very special Sunday, the day of resurrection the greatest of Christian celebrations… part of what took place at Easter was the baptism of new converts, and the renewal of the vows of baptism by those who were already Christian. In preparation of these events, there was a time of fasting and penance.
Our traditions aren’t just “based on” the early church. This is it. This hasn’t changed. And it’s beautiful.