THE MEMORIAL CELEBRATION
ANOTHER celebration of the Memorial of our dear Redeemer's death has come and gone;--one less intervenes between the full end of the sufferings of the Christ and the glory which shall surely follow. Each one in its turn seems more precious than the former ones as we grow yearly in grace and in the knowledge of all that the Memorial signifies,--of the great ransom for all, our dear Redeemer's sacrifice, and of our wonderful privilege of being accepted as his "members" to share his cross and ignominy now and by and by to share his glory, honor and immortality.
The gathering at Allegheny was one of the most enjoyable we have ever held, and by far the largest. The company was estimated at 800, nearly all of whom partook of the symbolical body and blood of Christ, a conservative estimate being 750. At a preceding meeting twenty-three adults symbolized their consecration unto death by water-immersion. The discourse preceding and introducing the "Supper" set forth the meaning of the institution, tracing it back to the original Passover of the first-born of Israel in Egypt down to the antitype Christ and his members or body, "the Church of the First-born." We saw that as only the first born of Israel were in danger in the type, so only the Church of the First-born are now in danger as respects the Second Death,--though all must later be tried for life everlasting or death everlasting.
As we broke the unleavened bread we remembered our Lord's words, "This is my body." We discerned that he meant, This represents or symbolizes my body, --that he could not have meant that the bread had been turned into flesh, because he had not yet been crucified, but still had his body of flesh. We partook of the symbol, meditating in our hearts that only by reason of our Lord's sacrifice could we be justified from sin-and-death condemnation. By faith we appropriated our Lord's pure manhood, sacrificed for us and for all.
Then we took the further view brought to our attention by the Apostle Paul (I Cor. 10:16,17), that the consecrated members of Christ are reckoned in with him as members of one greater loaf, which is being broken throughout this Gospel age, and will be the bread of life of which the whole world will partake during the Millennium if they would have everlasting life.
We partook of the "fruit of the vine" as a remembrancer of our Lord's cup of self-sacrifice and of our pledge to share it with him. "The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a communion of the blood of Christ?" He is the vine, we are the branches, and every branch must bear the fruit of sacrifice. "If we suffer with him we shall also reign with him." We who hope for immortality by a share in "his resurrection," we who hope thus to have inherent life, life in ourselves, do well to remember that our Lord has specifically stated the terms to be that we must drink of his cup, his blood (consecration), as well as eat of his flesh (justification).
We again reminded the dear flock that this season of the year seems to be one of peculiar testing; and that this will probably be increasingly the case as we near the final Memorial on this side the vail. We reminded them that noble Peter almost fell at the same time that the ignoble Judas sold his Master for thirty pieces of silver. We reminded all of the Master's words, which, if heeded, would have spared Peter so severe a test--"Watch and pray, lest ye enter into temptation!"
The fiery trial is necessary for the separating of the gold of the New Creature from the dross of the old creature. The "wheat" must not only be separated from the "tares," but then it must be threshed and winnowed ere it [R3767 : page 133] is fit for the garner. All of our experiences in connection with these harvest siftings accord with the Apostle's words: "Grievous wolves shall enter in among you, not sparing the flock [self-seeking ones who never were true sheep], and from among your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things to draw away the disciples after themselves."--Acts 20:29,30.
The safe course is to watch and pray, lest we be ensnared by the Adversary either by old or new methods. If our hearts be full of loyalty to the Lord it will hinder "man-worship" of every form, including idolatry of self. If additionally we are "filled with the spirit" of meekness, gentleness, patience, brotherly kindness--Love-- it will prevent barrenness and unfruitfulness, and drive out every vestige of anger, malice, hatred, envy, strife, and all other works of the flesh and the devil. Thus doing, dearly beloved, very soon the Chief Shepherd will grant us an abundant entrance into the everlasting Kingdom.
GENERAL REPORTS FAVORABLE
As we write (April 24) we have before us reports from 337 Memorial celebrations on April 8th. Quite well indeed--improving in promptness every year. Ten of these reports are from Great Britain. The numbers in attendance ranged from two up to the largest number, which met at Allegheny. The average of all was 20 plus: the total reported is 6,267. Although this total is far beyond that of any previous celebration it leaves much to be desired. We are now issuing 30,000 copies of the WATCH TOWER twice a month, and two readers to each would show 60,000 earnest Bible students. Of that number, surely many more should feel a deep interest in celebrating their Redeemer's death in harmony with his injunction. We hope to hear from a much larger number next year.
We here give the names of the gatherings reporting 20 and over participating:
New Brighton, Pa., 20; Carbondale, Pa., 20; Johnstown, Pa., 21; St. Petersburg, Fla., 21; Olive Branch, La., 22; W. Medford, Mass., 22; Springfield, Mass., 23; Canton, O., 23; Worcester, Mass., 23; Milwaukee, Wis., 23; Danbury, O., 23; Omaha, Neb., 24; Tampa, Fla., 24; Pasadena, Calif., 24; Newark, N.J., 25; Tiffin, O., 25; Cohoes, N.Y., 25; Atlanta, Ga., 25; Cedar Rapids, Ia., 25; Schenectady, N.Y., 25; Dallas, Tex., 25; Reedy, Va., 26; Hayne, N.C., 27; Youngstown, O., 27; San Antonio, Tex., 27; Richmond, Va., 30; Wheeling, W.Va., 30; Decatur, Ills., 34; Louisville, Ky., 35; San Francisco, Calif., 35; Binghamton, N.Y., 36; Buffalo, N.Y., 37; Lynn, Mass., 39; Altoona, Pa., 40; Dayton, O., 43; Kansas City, Kan., 44; Valdosta, Ga., 45; St. Paul and Minneapolis, Minn., 49; Toledo, O., 55; Scranton, Pa., 56; Providence, R.I., 58; Cincinnati, O., 58; Toronto, Canada, 61; Columbus, O., 74; Indianapolis, Ind., 78; St. Louis, Mo., 88; Cleveland, O., 99; Washington, D.C., 103; Philadelphia, Pa., 108; New York, N.Y., 140; Los Angeles, Calif., 155; Chicago, Ills., 170; Boston, Mass., 176; Allegheny, Pa., 750.
In Great Britain: Leeds, 22; Seven Oaks, 30; Bristol, 32; Luton, 39; Manchester, 80; Liverpool, 148; Glasgow, 153; London, 248.
In Germany: Barmen-Elberfeld, 90; Wanne, 40.
A FEW INTERESTING REPORTS FROM ELSEWHERE
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--
In Philadelphia last evening 108 partook of the emblems of bread and wine in memoriam of our Lord's death. We rejoiced in our justification and renewed our consecration to be broken with Him and partake of His sufferings. We had a blessed time. The evening previous, eleven--five brothers and six sisters--symbolized their consecration by water baptism.
With Christian love, E. D., Philadelphia, Pa.
DEAR BROTHER IN CHRIST:--
For the Church at Brantford, I have the pleasure to inform you that 16 souls met last night to memorialize with bread and wine our Lord's death for us and our death with him, the meeting being conducted as nearly in the prescribed order as we were able. May God so bless this feast for us that we may be strengthened in the great race.
The meeting was led by Brother A__________ S__________, who gave us a very good discourse on the Memorial Supper, showing clearly how, why and when it was instituted and who can partake of it without condemnation.
We think that this anniversary of our Lord's death has been the most precious of any that we have yet observed, because the spirit of love has been growing among us during this last year. It seems that all of the little company here have been drawn closer together lately than ever before.
In our prayers we counted it a privilege to remember the joint-sacrificers who were everywhere participating in the same service. All join me in love to you and the other beloved members at Allegheny.
L. W., Brantford, Ont.
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In accordance with the suggestion in the WATCH TOWER I send you a report of the Memorial gathering of the little company at New Bedford last evening. Every one present seemed to appreciate the meaning of the Memorial perhaps as never before. The article in WATCH TOWER of April 1 was read, giving all a clear idea of the Supper as instituted by the Savior. An unusual feature of the meeting was the presence with us of seven Portuguese brothers and sisters, with their leader, one of our number, who read I Cor. 11:20-29in his own language and offered prayer, after which they "sang a hymn." Not one of our company could understand a word, but it was inspiring and uplifting, giving us the happy thought that our Father understands all languages and we are all one in him.
Eighteen were present. All send greetings to the Allegheny Church. With love,
M. B., Massachusetts.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--
The Memorial was observed by four of the brethren at the Penitentiary last Sunday evening. We are all rejoicing that we had the opportunity to meet together and again renew our pledges to the Lord. We feel that it is a wonderful privilege that we should be permitted to fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ. The recurrence of the Memorial season is attended with great blessings to each one, as it strengthens us to meet the trials and testings which are necessary for the developing of our character, joyfully. I ask an interest [R3768 : page 134] in your prayers that we continue faithful in the narrow way until the end.
I remain, your brother in Christ,
G. E., Columbus, O.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--
The friends of St. Paul and Minneapolis met this evening together in celebration of the Memorial. To me, and I believe to all of the friends, this was a solemn occasion. Our simple service was a reminder of the first one conducted by our Lord the last night of his human existence. We felt near to him, felt keenly our own personal unworthiness to partake of his sufferings, and a realization of his exalted worthiness which he has so freely applied on our behalf. Praise be to God for such a Savior!
There were 43 present, while the emblems were sent to six, three brothers and three sisters, who were unable to attend on account of sickness.
In the forenoon a meeting was held, when a lesson on baptism was given, after which eight--three brothers and five sisters--symbolized their consecration unto death by immersion into water. It gave us all joy to witness this.
Mention was made to the Lord in your behalf, that he would continue to bless you in his service and bear you over every trial to the end. We feel so thankful for the Truth and for the continual "meat in due season" which the Lord is sending us through you.
And now, with much Christian love, I am, yours faithfully in Christ, J. H., St. Paul, Minn.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--
Last evening the Cleveland Church held the meeting in commemoration of the Lord's death. The event this year was very impressive and will long be remembered by all present. As Brother K__________ explained the significance of the emblems our hearts were filled with thankfulness to our dear Redeemer for this great sacrifice on our behalf. Though the occasion was a sad one as we thought of the ignominy and shame our Lord passed through, yet we rejoiced that he has gained the victory and is exalted to a glorious position. There were 99 participators, and we realized our Lord's sweet presence with us as we partook of the emblems which represented his broken body and shed blood. We remembered you all, as well as the little classes of like precious faith everywhere and we felt we were remembered by you all.
A baptism service preceded the meeting, at which nine were symbolically immersed in water, thereby showing the immersion of the heart into the will of Christ. It was a solemn and affecting service, not for them alone, but for the rest of us who had already consecrated our lives and laid our little all at the Master's feet. Oh, may we all prove faithful and rejoice that we are counted worthy to suffer for his sake, and by his grace may we reach the goal and receive the "Well done, good and faithful servant."
May the Lord's richest blessing abide with you and those who colabor with you in the grand harvest work.
Yours with Christian love, M. S., Cleveland, O.
One hundred and forty-nine souls assembled here to partake of the symbols of the shed blood and broken body of our Lord and Redeemer, besides which number six, who were unable to leave their homes, were served there. It was indeed a solemn and blessed time and few eyes were dry as Bro. G__________ called attention to the meaning of the symbols and what was implied as we partook. It was an additionally solemn thought as we noted that some who were with us last year had passed to their reward, and that another season would find others missing from earthly scenes. Prayers of fervency were offered for every member of the one body wherever it might be; also thanksgiving for the privileges of the present time.
May the dear Lord continue to use you in ministering to the household of faith is our earnest prayer.
Yours in the one hope,
F. S., Los Angeles, Calif.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--
It rejoices my heart to make the following report: There were two impressive services held under the auspices of the Scranton class to commemorate our blessed Lord's sufferings and death; the one in Carbondale, being served by Scranton elders, for the first time enjoyed this glorious privilege of meeting on an occasion like this. With 20 present Brother G__________ appropriately called attention to the real meaning of the celebration. The other in Scranton, with 56 present, was conducted by Brother W__________, who fittingly led the thought along those lines which should bring out and forcibly impress the heart with the deep meaning of those events of Christ's life coming down to us over a period of 1873 years.
The number present in Scranton has doubled since 1900, and, together with the Carbondale gathering, gives the encouraging total of 76.
Very sincerely your brother in Christ,
J. H., Scranton, Pa.
FROM THE GERMAN BRANCH
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--
With thankfulness toward God and our Lord Jesus Christ I make this little report of the Memorial celebration in Barmen-Elberfeld. There were over 90 who partook of the emblems this year, as against 64 last year. In the afternoon preceding ten of the friends were immersed in symbol into Christ's death. We may hope that many if not all hearts went out in worship in spirit and in truth toward the living and true God and our Savior. It is with much pleasure we notice this growth of interest, and our constant prayer is that the Lord might finish the work of faith and grace with power from on high, seeing it is God who giveth the increase. May this Memorial give us new strength for another year, or less, if it should be "unto the end" of our race.
Brother Kunkel served the friends in Wanne, quite recently interested in Present Truth. About 40 partook of the emblems there, which was a great surprise, for it is only a year since the interest began to take root and to spread, through the energies of a brother who himself had become interested through finding a Volunteer TOWER in which some coal miner had brought a lunch.
Your brother and servant in Christ,
O. A. KOETITZ,--Germany.