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THE MEMORIAL SUPPER
—APRIL 20TH, 1902.—
AS ALREADY ANNOUNCED, the true anniversary date for the commemoration of our Lord’s Memorial Supper, according to Jewish reckoning, will this year be the evening of Sunday, April 20th, after six o’clock. The fact that Roman Catholics, Episcopalians, and others, will this year celebrate Good Friday as its memorial nearly three weeks earlier than the true date has caused confusion of thought to some, who have written inquiring if we had not miscalculated. We answer, No. The discrepancy is the result of a change of method of counting, adopted in the second century for the purpose of avoiding the Jewish Passover. By this the first Friday after the 14th of the Jewish month, Nisan, took the place of the irregular days upon which the 14th of Nisan itself would occur. Later this was confirmed by the Council of Nice,—”which decreed that Easter (Passover) should be celebrated throughout the Church after the equinox, on the Friday following the 14th of Nisan.”—McClintock & Strong’s Ecclesiastical Encyclopaedia.
We still pursue the earliest method of reckoning, which was long and strenuously defended by the Churches of Asia Minor, to whom most of St. Paul’s epistles were addressed;—counting Nisan from the Spring equinox, the usual Jewish method, and letting the date fall as it may on any day of the week. Respecting this early observance, the authority quoted above (McC. & S.E. Encyclopaedia) says:—
“In the earliest ages of the Church, the day of our Lord’s crucifixion was religiously observed, not independently, but as part of the sacred season of Easter [Passover] which was celebrated by Christians instead of the Jewish Passover, in commemoration at once of the death and resurrection of Christ.”
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The meaning of this Memorial Supper and its appropriateness as the time and manner of commemorating our Lord’s death has already been presented in these columns. (March 1st, 1898, Dec. 1st, 1901.)
We hope that the celebration this year will be quite general among our readers;—not only where there are little groups or churches to assemble themselves, but also where there are only “two or three” to meet in the Lord’s name; or where solitary individuals must perforce celebrate alone. We are solicitous because we know that those who observe it in the right spirit will have a special blessing and uplift, and that those who neglect it will miss correspondingly.
The Allegheny Church will convene for the celebration at 7:30 p.m., in Bible House Chapel. Friends
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will be cordially welcomed; but we advise that on such occasions each should so far as possible avoid absence from his usual meeting. If unfermented wine cannot be procured, “fruit of the vine” can be made by stewing raisins. If regular unleavened bread cannot be secured from some Jewish baker or family, biscuit would be the best substitute.
We hope that each little gathering will appoint one of its members to send us a postal card report of the number attending and the interest manifested.
— April 1, 1902 —