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THE MEMORIAL CELEBRATION
ON Sunday evening, April 4th, approximately 450 celebrated our dear Redeemer’s Memorial Supper in Brooklyn Tabernacle. We were much pleased to have so considerable a number of communicants present. Of course, these were not all of Brooklyn proper. In fact, the regular congregation comes largely from the region round about. The occasion was a very solemn and impressive one. Our afternoon discourse on the Passover, typical and antitypical, led our minds in the proper direction for the appreciation of the solemn memorial and our comments in the evening related chiefly to the significance of the bread and the cup. We showed that the eating of the bread pictured the appropriation of our Lord’s human rights, by which we were justified and by which our justification of righteousness in God’s sight is maintained, notwithstanding the imperfections which are ours through heredity. We showed that the blood represented primarily our Lord’s earthly life rights appropriated to us, justifying us to life.
Then we took the second and larger view of the matter and saw in the light of the Apostle’s words that all of the faithful, all of the Royal Priesthood, all of the members of the one Body of Christ, join with their Lord in becoming the One Loaf and join with Him also in the breaking of that loaf, that it may be the Bread of Restitution to the world of mankind. We saw in the light of the Apostle’s words, too, that in becoming members of the Body of Christ we become sharers with our Lord in his cup of suffering, in his sacrifice of earthly life. We saw further how in the Divine purpose this earthly life, which we surrender forever, goes under the New Covenant to Israel, Judah and all the families of the earth, while we are granted spiritual life and rights.
“The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion (fellowship-sharing) of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion (in his sufferings) of the body of Christ? For we being many are one bread and one Body; for we are all partakers (sharers) of that one Bread.”—1 Cor. 10:16,17.
As we thus took a fresh glimpse at the significance of the “deep things of God,” our hearts were stirred to their depths with the realization. How wonderful it seems that we should be called to such an intimate association with our Lord and Redeemer, both in the sufferings of this present time and in the glories that shall follow! We called to mind the fact that the Lord could not reasonably require less of us; that this is but a reasonable service, privilege and honor. We realized afresh how great would be our loss if we should fail to make our calling and election sure by unfaithfulness to the vows taken when we were accepted as his “members.” We pointed out that even those who would constitute the “great company” must attain that standing through great tribulation, and that none could be acceptable to the Lord for life eternal except the pure in heart, filled with his spirit; and that, as the Apostle says, the matter with us is one of life or death eternal. We sought afresh to build one another up in the most holy faith and love and devotion and zeal, that the victory might be won—eternal life. We exhorted that it is really easier in some respects to gain that eternal life on the highest plane, the Divine nature and Royal Priesthood, than on the lower plane of spirit being, typified by the Levites.
Almost all who were present partook of the memorial emblems and we closed the service with prayer, followed by a hymn, after which we went out quietly, without our usual greetings, striving to carry with us, so far as possible, the precious thoughts of the occasion.
Reports thus far received are that the celebration has been very general and that in a majority of cases the numbers participating show an increase over last year. In a few cases the increase is small or none, because whereas friends from several districts had previously met together, they have now grown large enough to meet separately. The report from Pittsburg is an excellent one—just about as we expected; the Bible House Chapel was more than filled, so that extra chairs were needed and brought in. Notwithstanding this the showing is not as large as on some previous occasions, because usually these services have been held in Carnegie Hall or some other larger auditorium, and have been attended by friends from nearby places—notwithstanding our frequent reminders that it is desirable that the friends of each locality meet by themselves, after the manner of a family, in harmony with the original instructions of the type.
Altogether the general interests of the harvest work seem to be deepening and broadening. Yet, we must expect continued and increasing testings of faith and love, even to the end of the Harvest time; for in no other manner does it seem possible for the Church to be tested. Thus St. Paul, while admonishing us to mark those who cause divisions (Rom. 16:17), and exhorting again that there be no divisions among you (I Cor. 1:10), declares, “I hear that there be divisions (schisms) among you, and I partly believe it; for there must be heresies among you that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.” (I Cor. 11:18,19.) Again, St. John says, “They went out from us. They were not of us, for if they had been of us, they would, no doubt, have continued with us; they went out that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.”—1 John 2:19,20.
The substance of this teaching is that while it is true that the Body of Christ is one and should be bound together mutually by the bonds of love and sinews of Truth, nevertheless if, after we have done all in our power to hold a fellow-member with our love and with the truth he departs, we are to take the matter with equanimity, remembering that the Lord knows the heart and that having done all in our power the remainder is for the Lord to attend to and that he will attend to disciplining and bringing back into fellowship with the Body all that are truly his. “The Lord knoweth them that are his.” We do not. We do well to remember this and to exercise full confidence and faith in the Lord and his wisdom and love and power in dealing with every disobedient member. It is ours to be kind and gentle toward all, while reminding ourselves and others of the Lord’s own statement, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, saith the Lord.”
Below we give reports of the numbers participating in the memorial celebration in the more prominent congregations which have thus far reported attendances of twenty and above:
Meaford, Ont.; Hoopeston, Ill.; Clayton, Ga.; Colmra, Ala., 20. Everett, Wash., 21. Moore, Pa.; New Brunswick, N.J.; Mansfield, O.; Pt. Limon, Costa Rico; Reading, Pa.; Halifax, N.S., 22. So. Sharon, Pa., 23. Rochester, N.Y.; New Liskeard, Ont., 24. Elgin, Ill.; Jacksonville, Fla., 25. New Albany, Ind.; Rockford, Ill., 26. Port Clinton, O.; Auburn, Ind.; Iola, Kan.; Hartford, Conn.; Galveston, Tex., 27. Tampa, Fla., 28. Muncie, Ind.; Springfield, Mass., 29. Tiffin, O.; Allentown, Pa., 30. Suffolk, Va.; Harrisburg, Pa.; Milwaukee, Wis., 31. Birmingham, Ala.; Pasadena, Cal., 32. Dallas, Tex.; Knoxville, Tenn., 33. Cohoes, N.Y.; Worcester, Mass., 34. Omaha, Neb., 35. Lynn, Mass.; Lancaster, Pa.; Denison and Sherman, Tex., 36. Detroit, Mich.; Schenectady, N. Y., 39. Vancouver, B.C., 40. Louisville, Ky., 41.
Canton, O., 43; Struthers, O., Atlanta, Ga., 42; Denver, Col., Richmond, Va., 45; St. Joseph, Mo.; Altoona, Pa.; Binghamton, N.Y., 48; Baltimore, Md., Cincinnati, O., 49; Toledo, O., 50; San Antonio, Tex., 52; Hamilton, Ont., 55; Houston, Tex., 56; Dayton, O., Kansas City, Mo., 58; Portland, Ore., 61; Scranton, Pa., 73; Kingston, Jamaica, 79; Columbus, O., 84; St. Louis, Mo., 86; Indianapolis, Ind., 96; St. Paul, Minn., 99; Oakland, Cal., 100; Providence, R.I., 101; Barmen, Germany, 110; Cleveland, O., 134; Washington, D.C., 149; Boston, Mass., 200; Philadelphia, Pa., 201; Chicago, Ill., 275; Glasgow, Scotland, 316; Allegheny, Pa., 320; London, England, 388; Brooklyn, N.Y., 450.
— April 15, 1909 —
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