Passover and Easter are now upon us and I don’t know about y’all but I love me some God. I’m a christian and I’m proud of it (if you’re not no worries. No judgement here!). Last night I had the privilege to attend the Memorial of Jesus Christ’s death at the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Now here is my disclaimer: I AM NOT A BAPTIZED JEHOVAH WITNESS. I was raised as one (well i still had christmas, birthday, and thanksgiving holidays but everything else was a no go for me). My aunt is a baptized witness and so me and my grandma would go to the meetings on Sunday, Bible study on Tuesdays and that was it. If I was visiting my aunt, I went to all the meetings, including the Thursday night meeting and field service (door to door witnessing).
I wasn’t allowed to do the same things as my friends and grew up in a really strict household; I felt quite stifled. One memory that comes to mind quite easily is when I was in school my teacher showed our class a Harry Potter film and at home I wasn’t allowed to watch it because of the witchcraft in it. Well I never told my grandparents we were watching it and I was secretly hooked! It wasn’t until college when I felt free to just dive in all things Harry Potter.
When I left for college I left that life behind me. Well not entirely. I have certain values that I grew up with. For example, I don’t believe in divorce. Jehovah hates it and only allows it if the spouse was cheating. Marriage and dating is serious business and it shouldn’t be taken lightly. Anyway, I thought I left that life behind me and started going to church with my cousins for years. I can go through more of my journey with my faith, but that’s another blog for another day.
Now back to the memorial. Jesus gave his life to us and we observe the memorial simply as a way to say thank you but also because he commanded that we do so. In Luke 22:19,20 it says: Also, he took a loaf, gave thanks, broke it, and gave it to them saying: “This means my body, which is to be given in your behalf. Keep doing this in remembrance of me.” Also, he did the same with the cup after they had the evening meal, saying: “This cup means the new covenant by virtue of my blood, which is to be poured out in your behalf.” So once a year during Passover and Easter season, we hold a ceremony commemorating his death for us. To those who go to church (non-denominational or Black churches), this would be similar to a communion but instead of doing it every first Sunday of the month, they do it once a year on Nisan 14 (this date is determined using a Jewish calendar).
The service was about an hour-long. We sang two songs: one opening and one closing. I wasn’t familiar with the lyrics so thank goodness the lyrics were presented on the screens up front. No collection was ever taken. They even offered Bibles to any guest for Free. They feel that this is information that God gives for free, so why charge anyone for reading it? They stressed the fact that we should read it and really reflect on what we read and apply some of the principles to our own lives. They always have a special speaker from all over the country. The speaker this year at this congregation was from South Carolina. He talked about why we observe the memorial, how we can stay in Jehovah’s favor and many more things.
The red wine we used was like the wine back in Jesus’ day and the unleavened bread was likewise. Also, not everyone can eat and drink the bread and the wine, only those who are anointed can. Those who are anointed (only 144,000 people) are the ones who will go to heaven and rule with Jesus whereas the rest of us will live forever on a Paradise earth. It was reported that last year 18,000 people partook of the bread and wine. We respect those rules. So whenever the bread and the wine is passed around, we just pass it to the next person. No big deal! After we pass around both emblems, we sing a closing song and then end with prayer.
They take this occasion very seriously (I do too since I used to go growing up but am now learning an appreciation for it). You may not agree with this ceremony and that’s okay. It’s literally a free country and it’s your choice. I wrote this post to inform the public on what goes on during this time of the year. The fact that Jehovah gave his son for us is awesome. The fact that Jesus died for our sins is amazing. Their love is like no other. After the passover event in 33 C.E., Jesus was killed and three days later he arose again. How amazing is that? I really do hope that you have learned something from this post. All that I ask is for respect and an open mind.
If you would like more information on the memorial and why the witnesses observe it, it can be found at the link here.