Memorial—The Christian Celebration
1 Jesus instituted the Memorial on Nisan 14, 33 C.E., and he instructed his apostles: “Keep doing this in remembrance of me.” (Luke 22:19) The apostle Paul explained that by so doing “you keep proclaiming the death of the Lord, until he arrives.” (1 Cor. 11:26) It is fitting to memorialize Jesus’ death because of all it accomplishes in the outworking of Jehovah’s purpose. The ransom sacrifice provides the very basis for our faith and gives us hope of future existence.
2 Since the beginning of the Christian congregation, Jesus’ disciples have faithfully celebrated the Memorial of his death. In modern times it was reported as early as 1899 that 2,501 in the United States participated in the Memorial celebration. Now, 91 years later, Nisan 14 falls on Tuesday, April 10, after sundown, and close to two million people in the United States are expected to observe this annual celebration.
PREPARATION REQUIRED BY ELDERS
3 In view of the importance of this occasion and the expected large attendance, the congregations make advance preparation. (1 Cor. 14:40) Ritual and stiff formality are not involved. No, for at Matthew 26:26-30 we note the simplicity with which this very important celebration was initiated by Jesus. (1 Cor. 11:23-26) But some essential details must be observed if the Memorial is to be celebrated correctly. What do these include?
4 Among other things, the elders make sure that respect is shown for the Lord’s Evening Meal by having the proper type of emblems. Unleavened bread, such as unseasoned Jewish matzoth, made only with wheat flour and water may be used. Also, only an unadulterated red grape wine, such as Chianti, Burgundy, or a claret, should be used. A homemade red wine may be used if it has not been sweetened, spiced, or fortified.
5 The elders will also want to select brothers who are exemplary and well-qualified, preferably elders or ministerial servants, to serve the emblems. They should be well-organized and should understand precisely what their assignment entails. Those serving as attendants should be briefed as to their duties, such as directing persons into and out of the hall as well as controlling the added automobile traffic. Particularly is this important in cases where several congregations will be using the same Kingdom Hall or Kingdom Hall complex. Arrangements should also be made to ensure that the speaker is properly informed of the time and place of the celebration.—For additional reminders on things to prepare for the Memorial, see The Watchtower, February 15, 1985, page 19, and February 15, 1990, pages 16-18; Our Kingdom Ministry, March 1989, page 4.
6 All of us should endeavor to derive full benefit from this most sacred celebration. Among other things, we can prepare ourselves mentally by following closely the Bible reading for April 5-10, as noted on the 1990 Calendar of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Also, we should make plans to invite and assist as many persons as possible to attend this very special occasion. And we should make those who attend feel welcome.
7 By thorough advance preparation, we will show that we view attendance at the Memorial as a privilege and as an opportunity to show appreciation for the sacrifice of Christ. May this year’s Memorial celebration prove to be a time of upbuilding encouragement to all of Jehovah’s servants. May it instill in all of us the spirit of confidence displayed by Jesus. Our trust in Jehovah will help us conquer the world and gain our respective rewards.—John 16:33; 2 Pet. 1:10; Rev. 7:9, 10, 14.