(See Eric Svendsen: The Table of the Lord and William Barclay: The Lord's Supper)
Paul mentions the Lord's supper in 1 Corinthians 11 and warns the believers to participate in a worthy manner. If you read the entire passage in context, it appears that some people were using the supper as a chance to get drunk while others weren't sharing their food with the poor! Those are the issues he was addressing.
So, how did we get so far from the way the early church did the Lord's supper? Sometime around the 2nd century the taking of the bread and the cup became separated from the meal. Some say it was because Christians didn't want unbelievers to profane the Lord's supper by participating in the meal, but it also could have been the growing influence of pagan religious ritual. The term Eucharist came to replace the terms, "the bread and the cup" and the entire process began to be looked at as a holy offering. The "elements" were then placed on the altar of the church, making them seem like sacrifices and creating a sort of mystique around them as being supernatural in nature. People now looked at them in awe, as things only priests could handle.
Of course the Protestants got away from the view of transubstantiation during the Reformation but we kept most of the other aspects of the now far-removed-from-the-Bible Lord's supper!
So what are your thoughts? I have to be honest. This information blew me away.
Taken from Pagan Christianity by Frank Viola and George Barna