Imagine being a Christian in the first century. Maybe you are fortunate enough to be where you can meet and worship with a congregation of the Lord’s people. It would have to be walking distance. Perhaps in Thessalonica, either of the cities called Antioch, or maybe Berea or somewhere in Judea.
Wherever you were, the first day of the week would have been just another work day. There would have been no clocks as we know them, to make use of time more efficiently. This means that when the church met, there would likely have been a lot of waiting for others, as is mentioned in I Corinthians 11:33.
Fortunate congregations had a host that would offer their homes for a meeting place, but they would have been just that; homes furnished as homes. Pews to accommodate worshipers would almost certainly have been a dream.
Many congregations would have been a mix of Jews and Gentiles. Slaves would have been everywhere in the world at that time, so freemen and slaves would have worshiped together. Without our modern middle class the dichotomy between rich and poor would surely have been much more glaringly obvious.
Song books? Not likely, unless hand copied by those who could afford writing materials, and then of course only the words to the songs since musical notes as we know them would not come about for another thousand years. This meant all songs had to be heard, understood and memorized.
Printed Bibles as we know them would have been a dream to these brothers and sisters. No church bulletins. No Bible class worksheets. No prayer cards or attendance cards for our children to scribble on. Writing materials were expensive.
No central heat or air. No sound systems. Oil lamps for lighting. No phones to contact missing members or family. Not even a screen on a window to keep bugs out.
Yet the church thrived. They continued preaching and teaching others about Jesus. They were persecuted and misunderstood and called atheists (for not believing in the gods of the nations) and cannibals (based on a twisting of the Lord’s supper).
Let’s face it. We have it so good as Christians here in the U.S. Don’t let this fact escape your attention and gratitude. Make the most of what you have while there is still time. The coming of the Lord is always imminent.