Prepare for the Great Event
IN ANCIENT times the nation of Israel had three great assemblies at the city of Jerusalem every year. The people looked forward to them and prepared for them well in advance. Some had to travel a great distance, and that meant an expense. To meet this expense it was necessary to set aside a certain amount of money for it over a period of time.
Since there was a mass movement of hundreds of thousands of people before these assemblies, it would be difficult to find lodging and food in the towns along the way. A family would have to prepare to take with them most of the food they would need, in addition to a tent for shelter.
At the first assembly of the year, the passover, a lamb was needed. Obtaining the lamb was part of the Israelite’s personal preparation for the passover. If a family was small, arrangements would be made with neighbors to eat the passover lamb with them. Bitter herbs, unleavened bread and wine were also needed. Advance preparation was necessary for the passover as well as for the other two festivals that the Israelites observed at Jerusalem, their assembly city.
They were not to come to these three great assemblies, or festivals, without an offering for Jehovah. The offering was part of their assembly preparations. “Three times in the year every male of yours should appear before Jehovah your God in the place that he will choose: in the festival of the unfermented cakes and the festival of weeks and the festival of booths, and none should appear before Jehovah empty-handed. The gift of each one’s hand should be in proportion to the blessing of Jehovah your God that he has given you.”—Deut. 16:16, 17.
Just as the Israelites prepared for their assemblies well in advance, so all who plan to attend the great international assembly of Jehovah’s witnesses this summer must likewise make advance preparations. Money must be put aside as a personal convention fund to care for the expenses that a trip to New York city will involve.
Those Witnesses who find that they have more than enough money for their assembly expenses would be showing Christian love by giving financial help to those members of their congregation who may not be able to attend the assembly for lack of funds. Why not help brothers at home to attend just as you have been helping brothers in foreign lands? Such personal help can be part of your assembly preparations. It will add to the happiness the assembly will bring you.
It is good to discuss transportation plans with one another, as that can result in helpful suggestions and travel tips. Car groups can be made up. Brothers who need transportation can be put in touch with someone who has room in his car. Why should a car have to make the trip without a full load when there are many in need of transportation? Preparations can be made now to fill up every car.
Those delegates who plan to take advantage of the transportation that the Society has arranged for will want to get their reservations as soon as possible. It would be unwise to wait until the last minute. Since a delegate must get to and from the convention city, transportation must be his first concern. Once that is arranged for he can turn his attention to other preparations he must make.
The international assembly at New York city is the big event of 1958 for Jehovah’s witnesses. They are experiencing the same keen anticipation for it as the Israelites must have experienced for their assemblies at Jerusalem. As those assemblies were a source of joy for the Israelites, so the assembly in New York will be a great joy for Jehovah’s witnesses. None who are well and able will want to stay home.
After the assembly is over is no time to wish you had been in attendance and had made the effort to go. Now, while it is still ahead of us, is the time to think about being there. Now is the time to prepare for this great event.