The Celebration of the Lord’s Supper
A reading from the first apology of Justin Martyr in defense of the Christians, c. 100-165

No one may share in the Eucharist except those who believe in the truth of our teachings and have been washed in the bath which confers forgiveness of sins and rebirth, and who live according to Christ’s commands. 

For we do not receive this food as ordinary bread and as ordinary drink; but just as Jesus Christ our Savior became flesh through the word of God, and assumed flesh and blood for our salvation, so too we are taught that the food 
over which the prayer of thanksgiving, the word received from Christ, has been said, the food which nourishes our flesh and blood by assimilation, is the flesh and blood of this Jesus who became flesh. 

The apostles in their memoirs, which are called gospels, recorded that Jesus left them these instructions: he took bread, pronounced the prayer of thanksgiving, and said: “Do this in memorial of me.  This is my body”.  In the same way he took the cup, pronounced the prayer of thanksgiving, and said; “This is my blood”, and shared it among them and no one else.  From that time on we have always continued to remind one another of this.  Those of us who are well provided help out any who are in need, and we meet together continually.  Over all our offerings we give thanks to the Creator of all through his Son Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. 

On Sundays there is an assembly of all who live in towns or in the country, and the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read for as long as time allows. 

Then the reading is brought to an end, and the president delivers an address in which he admonishes and encourages us to imitate in our own lives the beautiful lessons we have heard read. 

Then we all stand up together and pray.  When we have finished the prayer, as I have said, bread and wine and water are brought up; the president offers prayers and thanksgiving as best he can, and the people say “Amen” as an 
expression of their agreement.  Then follows the distribution of the food over which the prayer of thanksgiving has been recited; all present receive some of it, and the deacons carry some to those who are absent. 

Those who are well provided for, if they wish to do so, contribute what each thinks fit; this is collected and left with the president, so that he can help the orphans and the widows and the sick, and all who are in need for any other 
reason, such as prisoners and visitors from abroad; in short he provides for all who are in want. 

So on Sunday we all come together.  This is the first day, on which God transformed darkness and matter and made the world; the day on which Jesus Christ our Savior rose from the dead.  For on the day before Saturday he was crucified, and on the day after Saturday, that is the Sunday, he appeared to his apostles and disciples and taught them the truths which we have put before you for your consideration.

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