Luke 24:13-35 Are you also on the road to Emmaus?. Justin Martyr (A.D. 100-165) First Apology To Empror Antoninus Pius (A.D. 138-161).
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Are you also on the road to Emmaus?
Justin Martyr (A.D. 100-165)
To Empror Antoninus Pius (A.D. 138-161)
[In our church] the rich among us come to the aid of the poor, and we always stick together. For the many blessings we receive, we praise the Creator of everything through his Son Jesus Christ and through the Holy Spirit.
On Sunday everyone who lives in the city or the countryside gathers together in one place, where the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read for as long as time allows. When the reader has finished, the leader of our community gives a sermon in which he instructs us and urges us to imitate these good teachings.
Next we all stand up together and offer our prayers. When the prayers are finished, bread and wine mixed with water are brought to us, just as I described above [in the preceding chapters]. The leader offers his own prayers of thanksgiving to the best of his ability, while the people express their agreement by saying “Amen.”
Then the elements over which prayers of thanksgiving have been said are distributed to everyone, and all partake of them. The deacons also send portions to those who are absent that day.
Those among us who are well off, if they are willing, give an offering in whatever amount seems appropriate to them. The leader holds the collection money to be distributed as needed. He provides aid to widows and orphans, to those who are needy from sickness or some other cause, to believers who are in prison for their faith, and to Christians from other lands who may be staying with us. Basically, our leader is a caretaker for everyone in need.
We hold our shared church service on Sunday because it is the first day of the week. It was on this day that God transformed the dark and formless mattter to create our world.
It was also on this day that our Savior Jesus Christ rose from the dead. For he was crucified on Friday, and he appeared on Sunday to his apostles and disciples. The things that he taught them I now offer to you for your serious consideration.
Therefore [O Emperor] if my account of the Christian religion makes it seem reasonable and true, then give your respect to it. On the other hand, if you deem it to be ridiculous, then despise it as nonsense.
But do not impose the death penalty on people who have committed no crimes—as if we were your enemies. For I give you this advance warning: You will certainly not escape the coming judgment of God if you persist in your injustice! But as for us, our prayer is “May God’s will be done.”