Oscar Cullmann on Early Christian Worship

An extended quote from Cullmann's, Early Christian Worship, 1953 (originally Urchristentum und Gottesdienst, 1950):

"Two main features of the purpose of all early Christian gatherings for worship must still be stressed. First, the Lord's Supper is the natural climax towards which the service thus understood moves and without which it is not thinkable, since here Christ unites himself with his community as crucified and risen and makes it in this way one with himself, actually builds it up as his body (1 Cor. 10.l7). Corresponding to this all the other parts of the service have the risen Lord of the Church as their object. For this reason the day of the Lord's resurrection is the Christian festive day...

"The second main Christian feature of the early service is shown to us in the fact that the risen and present Lord of the Church who stands in the centre of the Christian gathering, points at one and the same time backwards to the crucified and risen historical Jesus and forwards to the coming Christ: what makes the service a real act of worship is the Holy Spirit. That is the characteristic of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament view, that he determines the present in the time sequence of God's act of salvation, but in such a way that, on the basis of what has happened in Christ in the past, he anticipates already the future, the last things" (pp. 34-35, emphasis original).

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