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Memorial 2020 during covid-19 lockdown


Anna

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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" ( https://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/1985128 )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. https://www.jw.org/en/jehovahs-witnesses/faq/lords-supper/

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?

Any thoughts?

 

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I think you have stated the question very well and have already implied the answers. Yes, some see it as a ritual. But it really is a ritual, just as baptism is a ritual that is not optional. Som

Most of these churches that defy government quarantine restrictions do so because they see the government being opportunistic—‘never let a crisis go to waste.’ They are intensely political on the righ

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.

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Another thought you bring up is this next idea:

1 hour ago, Anna said:

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.

I'm sure the thought has occurred to some that we Witnesses have always expected an opportunity to arise when religions are "banned" or effectively put under pressure not to meet. The idea is that we Witnesses would never give in, but would risk our lives to continue on as always no matter what the authorities threatened. 

In the past, I have stated here that it seems quite unlikely that this scenario (up to that point at least) would really allow the Witnesses to stand very far apart from other religions, because I would expect that dozens of other religions have an apocalyptic view of themselves and are awaiting the same thing. Some of these non-JW groups actually expect this action to come from the UN, too. 

Also, we strongly expect that our meetings under ban would be "underground" or based on much smaller groupings, and effectively invisible to authorities.

And now, with Covid-19, we see a glimpse of how many other religions react to governmental bans and restrictions on meetings. Many have defied the orders of local authorities under threat of having their doors closed and large fines imposed. Mayors are being accused of being too harsh on these restrictions because such sanctions could end up keeping the doors closed on some churches and synagogues even after the crisis is over. Yet some of these religions appear to believe that God will protect them. 

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Our Kingdom Hall will be all celebrating the Lord's Evening Meal, with emblems, procured by each individual family, at home ... Susan and I will be making our own unleavened bread, and buying a red wine.... I may purchase some wine glasses as well.

Yes it is a ritual, and as JWI pointed out so is baptism ... and these two rituals are the only ones we have, and one was COMMANDED.

Here is a copy of the email that was sent out to us, yesterday

"  As practically everyone will be commemorating the Memorial in your own homes, here is information on the emblems. If possible we should have them present, as they help deepen our appreciation for the sacred things discussed. However, it is understood that it may not be possible for some to acquire the emblems. You do not need to put forth extraordinary efforts to acquire the emblems if no anointed ones will be present

Here is some information quoted from The Watchtower to help you. They are older references that give a little more detail that is helpful. You can also look for newer references if you have questions.

BREAD

Bread, such as unseasoned Jewish matzoth, made only with wheat flour and water may be used. Do not use matzoth that are made with added ingredients such as salt, sugar, malt, eggs or onions. You can make your own unleavened bread using the following recipe: Mix one and a half cups of wheat flour (if unobtainable, use rice, corn or another grain flour) with one cup of water, making a moist dough. Then roll dough to wafer thickness. Place it in a baking pan and liberally fork it with small holes. Bake it in a hot oven until it is dry and crisp. (w85 2/15 p. 19, box)

WINE

... red wine that could easily represent his blood...plain wine is appropriate, rather than wines fortified with brandy (such as port, sherry, or muscatel) or having spices or herbs added (vermouth, Dubonnet, or many aperitifs). We need not, though, become worried over how a wine was processed, whether some sugar was added during fermentation to make it of average taste or alcohol content or whether a little sulfur was used to prevent spoilage. Many congregations use a commercial red wine (such as Chianti, Burgundy, Beaujolais, or claret) or simple homemade red wine. The wine and the bread are merely emblems, or symbols; hence, any not used can be taken home and used later simply as other food or beverage items. (w90 2/15 p. 18 ¶11)

PASSING EMBLEMS

On our local Memorial program, after Brother Hardin says a prayer over the bread and again after Brother Tino says the prayer over the wine, we will allow time for those at home to pass the emblems. With small family groups it should not take too long. Here is what the Watchtower says about the procedure:

Enough plates will be used so that in a reasonable time, these can be passed to all present. This will not be with any elaborate ritual. A brief prayer will be offered, after which the plates will be passed in an orderly way, according to what seems practical locally. ... there will be another prayer and then ‘cups’ of red wine will be passed among all present. (w13 12/15 p. 26 ¶16, 17)" "

At least any partakers will not have to drink the red wine through a coronavirus mask. and have a Batman Joker smile.

I suppose one could overdo the mask thingy.

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26 minutes ago, JW Insider said:

Many have defied the orders of local authorities under threat of having their doors closed and large fines imposed. Mayors are being accused of being too harsh on these restrictions because such sanctions could end up keeping the doors closed on some churches and synagogues even after the crisis is over. Yet some of these religions appear to believe that God will protect them. 

I had no doubts that we wouldn't be one of those who defied the authorities in this case. Defying the authorities because they forbid us to preach and meet because they don't agree with us is scriptural. But this of course is not the current situation, and we obey the superior authorities because they have ours and everyone else's health and  best interests at heart. I wonder if any of us ever foresaw that there would be a valid reason to stop gathering together, lol.  It also made me think that zoom and similar conference meetings may be used during the GT, and that those examples of meeting in the woods/attic/basement might be moot....

But I know there are ways in which such conference meetings can be potentially hijacked....so maybe it could be the woods after all...

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I don't know about everybody else ... especially after viewing the "bunker videos", where everybody is huddled together in someone's basement, just waiting for nondescript uniformed SWAT teams to break in, with automatic weapons ... but if it comes to that, I plan to stay at home, and be as "normal" as possible, if for no other reason than to discourage an officer who drools, has an eye twitch, and a can of gasoline.

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2 hours ago, James Thomas Rook Jr. said:

else ... especially after viewing the "bunker videos", where everybody is

Those bunker videos were hypothetical....... but we do not know what lies in future.......this type of  lockdown may become a regular feature of life with people standing in line for food.  

We now have curfew at night, which makes sense, because there has been some looting at night due to people not having money to buy food.  Supply chains are severely disrupted and many small businesses 'killed'. 

So curfews could become a regular occurrence when there is shortage of food.

:  6 I heard what sounded like a voice in the midst of the four living creatures say: “A quart of wheat for a de·narʹi·us and three quarts of barley for a de·narʹi·us; and do not harm the olive oil and the wine.” 

 

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@Anna quote

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?

Any thoughts?

It's quite sad how people drift away from the original point of a topic. So getting back on topic. You've mentioned here the extremes of a JW brother. It does show lack of spiritual guidance.

The Wine and Bread represent the Blood And Flesh of Jesus Christ. but it seems the JW Org don't actually want to think on those things. Is it to gory for you all ? 

The Anointed drink the blood and eat the flesh of Christ and are then in Union with Him.

And as Revelation 5 verses 9 and 10 make it clear it was for the Anointed. 

 And they sing a new song,m saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll and open its seals, for you were slaughtered and with your blood you bought people for Godn out of every tribe and tongue* and people and nation,o 10  and you made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God, and they are to rule as kings over the earth.”

The GB and it's Org pretend it is for all mankind but this scripture shows it was for the Anointed.

( It also shows that the Anointed are from all over the Earth. )

Therefore only the Anointed remnant need to be involved in the Memorial.  

Anna, it seems as if you have noticed that already, by your original comment.

However, I quote you :-

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. 

Then they use this scripture. 

1 Corinithians 11 v 24

 and after giving thanks, he broke it and said: “This means my body, which is in your behalf. Keep doing this in remembrance of me.” 

In who's behalf ? Who was Jesus talking to ? It wasn't to the Domestics / Earthly Class.

Jesus was talking ONLY to the Anointed.  

Unfortunately this would not sit well with most JWs. And the GB need the donations / money. So the GB pretend it includes everyone. 

IF, the true Anointed were given true recognition, then the Domestics / Earthly Class could help those Anointed directly. Matthew 25 v 40.

 In reply the King will say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ 

Humans have too much pride, they think they are important. The Memorial is for the Anointed. 

 

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1 hour ago, 4Jah2me said:

The Wine and Bread represent the Blood And Flesh of Jesus Christ. but it seems the JW Org don't actually want to think on those things. Is it to gory for you all ? 

The Anointed drink the blood and eat the flesh of Christ and are then in Union with Him.

You do know that the wine and bread symbolize Jesus' blood and flesh, that they are not really his blood and flesh, right?

1 hour ago, 4Jah2me said:

Jesus was talking ONLY to the Anointed.  

Yes, we are aware of that. The other sheep are merely grateful spectators, with only a very few partaking. Would you have the anointed and the great crowd segregated?

 

 

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