Monday 2 April 2007
Pondering the Passover
I got home tonight to discover my letter box had been "hit" by the local Jehovah's Witnesses; a mass produced leaflet with an invitation to attend "the anniversary of Jesus' death" which "falls on Monday, April 2, after sundown." Uh, and I thought it was yesterday evening.
JW's are the other significant minority sect, outside the Churches of God, that celebrate a version of the Passover, commemorating the Last Supper, only once each year.
I'll be giving the JW version a miss, though I think it's interesting that outsiders are now welcome to attend. As I understand it, only a very few, those who believe they are among the elect group of 144,000, take the emblems of the bread and wine. Garden variety JWs simply look on.
Is there a strategy here one or more of the COGs might wish to emulate? After all, interested outsiders are usually welcome to attend the various Feast of Tabernacles services (with the exception of the very closed communities of PCG and COG-AIC.)
Every Christian community seems to have its own tradition involving a symbolic meal of bread and wine, basing it on the New Testament accounts. Mass, Eucharist, Sacramental meal, Passover, Lord's Supper; the similarities are obvious despite the different names. The annual Church of God version had its strengths and weaknesses. Footwashing never seemed to make much sense to me in a society without dusty roads and open-toed sandals, but being a once a year event it seemed to mean a lot more than the monthly "Holy Communion" service I was used to in the Lutheran church of my childhood.
Whatever else the Passover means, it's a statement of commitment. If that commitment is to the life and teachings of Jesus (rather than a sect or Elijah-figure) then maybe that's an entirely legitimate thing to do.