I have noticed many friends seem to be stressing about the acquisition of the memorial symbols during the coronavirus lockdown. There have been quite a few discussions on social media and in person.
These discussions were mainly regarding the necessity for memorial symbols if such became troublesome to purchase and if no one in the household was a partaker. The elders sent out information, one of which was the 85 WT 2/1/ p. 31 "question from readers" (
Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. )which says in part:
"On occasion, raging storms or floods have prevented a congregation, or some of its members, from meeting together as planned. In rare cases, martial law has been in effect with armed soldiers barring citizens from being out-of-doors after sunset. Other Christians have not been able to be at the congregation’s celebration because of being hospitalized or seriously ill. What can be done in such instances?
While it is fitting for the whole congregation to unite for this important event, circumstances such as noted above may make that impossible. When extreme weather, a natural disaster, or the like, absolutely prevents a family or a portion of a congregation from meeting with the congregation, the isolated ones can meet and discuss Scriptural accounts such as found in Luke 22:7-23, 28-30 and; 1 Corinthians 11:20-31, as well as discussing the meaning of the occasion. Similarly, if an enforced curfew makes it impossible for a congregation to gather on the appropriate night, meeting in Congregation Book Study groups or neighborhood groups might be the best alternative, the sum of those in attendance serving as the congregation’s attendance report. A brief talk may even be given if a capable, dedicated brother is in the group. There need not be concern that no suitable emblems are available as long as no one in this emergency situation previously partook of the bread and the wine as an anointed Christian".
It made me think about the whole topic a little bit more. To observe the memorial was a command by Jesus for the anointed, and as far as I am aware, there is nothing in the Bible commanding the great crowd to observe it, even as spectators. However, at the beginning, before the great crowd was identified, all were partakers. After that, the emblems kept being passed, and those who were anointed partook, and those who were not obviously didn't. Fast forward to today, in a congregation setting, even if we "know" that currently no one partakes, that can change. So while all the anointed are not sealed yet, we cannot assume, and stop passing along the emblems on the account that we think no one is anointed in our congregation. No one is asked beforehand if they are going to partake, that only becomes evident when the emblems reach them, and they eat the bread and drink the wine. That way, no one is put on the spot. Of course, on top of that, since we are one flock, and we support the anointed in everything, we observe the memorial with them, as spectators, and also to show appreciation for what Jesus did for us. But, under lockdown circumstances if we know for sure no one is going to partake in our family, then there is really no need for the emblems. That's how I see it anyway. But some prefer to have the emblems to help them visualize things better. Although we are supposed to be walking by faith, not by sight...😀
I like how our website puts it: "The purpose of the Lord’s Evening Meal is to remember Jesus, showing our gratitude for his sacrifice in our behalf. (Matthew 20:28; 1 Corinthians 11:24) The observance is not a sacrament, or a religious practice that imparts merit such as grace or the forgiveness of sins. * The Bible teaches that our sins can be forgiven, not by a religious rite, but only through faith in Jesus".—Romans 3:25; 1 John 2:1, 2.
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Unfortunately, it seems like some are viewing the memorial as some kind of religious ritual, and are even going to pass the emblems among themselves as if touching them somehow makes all the difference....Because I come from a Catholic family, I find this kind of reasoning a little disappointing...
Also, I don't know if anyone has listened to the memorial talk, the brother says that Jehovah's Witnesses would risk their lives to be at the memorial. In view of all the above, isn't that statement a little far fetched?