Gilead’s 26th Graduation a Happy Occasion
WHERE can you attend a graduation as happy and heart-warming as those held at the Watchtower Bible School of Gilead? No other place on this earth offers such a unique and rewarding experience. Here the students, relatives and friends bubble over with the joy of Jehovah. And this seemed to be especially true of the graduation of the twenty-sixth class. The 106 students who had come from eight different lands had been assigned to do missionary work in twenty-two different countries. About half the class was made up of district and circuit servants and their wives.
On graduation day, Sunday, February 12, 1956, the skies were gray and a heavy blanket of snow covered the campus. Long before the program began at nine o’clock every seat was taken and 2,796 persons had crowded the main auditorium, the classrooms, the dining room, the basement and library to hear, if not also to see, the program. After a song and a prayer and a few opening remarks by N. H. Knorr, president of the Watch Tower Society as well as of the Watchtower Bible School, he called on the Kingdom Farm servant and the four instructors to say a few farewell words to the class. Many encouraging telegrams were read. Then President Knorr spoke on “Christians Must Be Happy.”
He appealed to the audience to exercise faith and trust in the great God Jehovah and to believe and to take Him at his Word. Christendom, he said, has the same Bible Jehovah’s witnesses have, but her representatives lock themselves up in monasteries or walk about with long faces and wear mournful garb. Their parishioners are worried and troubled. They are sighing and crying. Jehovah’s witnesses, on the other hand, say Christians must be happy. Why? Because we are serving the happy God Jehovah. We cannot imagine him as being happy and at the same time picture his angels in his heavenly courts sad and mournful, can we? Of course not. The Bible tells us that his angels are happy. Why, then, should not his people on earth be happy? They too shout for joy!
Christendom lacks faith, and lack of faith means lack of happiness. Jehovah’s witnesses are established in their faith. And it is because of their faith in Jehovah that they can be happy. The doubting ones, liars, fornicators, all who violate God’s laws, are not really happy. There is absolutely no reason to doubt Jehovah. He does not lie. He changes not. We have every reason to trust him and his Word. Once we do, then we shall be truly happy.
In conclusion the speaker urged his audience to keep conscious of their spiritual needs—to keep their minds stayed on Jehovah, who gives happiness. Each student then received an envelope containing a gift from the Society. Those graduating with merit received a diploma. A resolution, expressing the gratitude of the class to Jehovah, to the school’s president and to all who made Gilead possible, was read and seconded and adopted by the student graduates. In the afternoon, beginning at two o’clock, students from the platform gave warm expressions of their appreciation and personal experiences. This was a lovely climax to the joyous occasion.