The Agape Meal – A Love Feast
The earliest Christian communities didn’t gather in Gothic stone cathedrals, or even small wooden churches. Gathering in one another’s homes, they came together to make sense of the life, death, and resurrection of this amazing person called Jesus. Before we had the Eucharist, celebrated by ordained people as we have it today, we gathered as the Body of Christ to share prayers and fellowship in the name of Jesus.
In the early 1700s, the Moravians (a denomination with which we Episcopalians are in full communion) began celebrating the Agape Meal as a way of bringing back this ancient practice. Since agape (uh-GAH-pay) in ancient Greek means “love,” people also call this the “love feast.”
One of the beauties of this worship practice is that anyone can lead it, like Morning Prayer. It's also great for people of all ages, young and old. You can have an Agape Meal at home whenever you like!
For Maundy Thursday (April 1) at 7:30pm, we will eat a meal together in this ancient way. (Click here to join the Zoom service.) The Agape Meal gives us a time of prayer and fellowship to kick off some of the holiest days of the Christian year: Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday.
The Agape Meal traditionally consists of simple foods found in the Mediterranean like crusty bread, olives, and wine. But you should bring whatever you have at home. Cook something elaborate, or bring a bowl of cereal. The food doesn’t matter; what matters is that we are gathering in Jesus’ name.
Before we know it, we’ll be ringing bells and shouting that A-word we love so much on Easter morning. But first, let’s deepen our Lenten journey by joining together in food and prayer, as we share a love feast together.