“The most remarkable characteristic of those early communion services was that they were celebrations. The tone was one of joy and gratitude, rather than sorrow and repentance. In the beginning, communion was part of an entire meal. Believers brought what they could, and after the common meal there were special prayers over the bread and the wine. However, by the beginning of the second century the common meal was being set aside, perhaps for fear of persecution, or in order to quell the rumors about orgiatic “love feasts.” Although the celebration then became more symbolic, the original tone of joy remained.”
Justo Gonzalez, History of Christianity, Vol I (New York: HarperCollins, 1984), 94.