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Saturday, April 16, 2011

Apart But United!

I am actually posting this a day ahead of schedule. This way, if any one wants to take advantage of the invitation for Sunday they have time to plan to do so. This is what an invitation in Spanish looks like.

As most of you know, my husband Wally is temporarily out of the country on funeral leave (concerning his mother). His leaving came about in a busy time of year for us religious wise.

Here in Uruguay they call the week from April 17 to the 24th semana Santa. So they leave Christ out completely. Since Uruguay is more of a socialist country they go even further to avoid religious tones and all of the businesses also call this week "Tourism Week" 

Up in North America some of you may notice the calendars say Easter is near. Easter however is actually a name for a pagan goddess, a fertility one at that, hence the eggs and rapidly reproducing rabbits to symbolize this. I was going to add a bunch of links showing the pagan origin of both the name Easter and the eggs and practices including Easter sun rise gatherings but there were just too many to list, so just google: "Pagan origins of easter eggs" and you will get dozens of sites admitting it's not a biblical practice. One site I found said that, that's where we get the name derived for the female hormone estrogen! So since we are not celebrating  Ishtar/Astarte/Ostara or Eastur some of the many names for that Spring goddess, what are we going to do?

Well, despite the fact that Wally and I are, literally thousands of miles apart, we will be united, because on the exact same evening,  Sunday April 17th, we will be attending (after sundown) "The Memorial of Christ's Death" at our respective Kingdom Halls. Me, here in Uruguay and Wally, there In California.

There is usually a full moon close to that date. We go by the Jewish calendar which lists the Original Jewish Passover date as Nisan 14th. The month of Nisan started after the new moon became visible in Jerusalem nearest the spring equinox. We are not Jewish but after Jesus celebrated the Jewish Passover in 33 CE (he was Jewish remember?)  He went on to institute a new memorial supper that same night after the passover with his Apostles, Passing bread and wine symbolizing his flesh and blood.

Why is this short, once a year Anniversary so important to attend and observe? Well, in the Bible Book of Luke or the Gospel of Luke Chapter 22 verse 19 Jesus said "Keep doing this in remembrance of me"

Without going into any detail on us believing that Jesus is The Messiah and Mediator between God and Man, our God given Savior ransoming our sins. I thought instead, of the many customs people do celebrate. In researching this season I learned that many people celebrate Lent representing the 40 days of Jesus reflection in the wilderness. Yet, Jesus never said to do that! Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday, a time of fun and food before fasting is also celebrated, yet, Jesus never said to do that! Easter sun rise service even though touted as representing the Resurrection of Christ. (mixing worshipping the sun with true beliefs never condoned in the Bible (Ezekiel 8:15-18) well, Jesus never said to do that! Even Christmas with all the gift giving, caroling and here in Uruguay, Fire works! Yeah, fireworks! Jesus, never said to do that! There is the Scary Halloween and Day of the Dead celebrations Jesus never said to do that!. Then comes our individual celebrations, Wedding Anniversaries, Birthdays, showers etc... All the while, Jesus never said to do that!  People just do! Now, comes the one time of the year that Jesus said to, "Keep doing this in remembrance of me". The one night only, he said to actually celebrate, with his approval, to be held on the original Passover date, the night of Nisan 14th, after sun down and guess what? Most people haven't really ever heard of this or do it for that matter. In the Bible book of 1 Corinthians Chapter 11: verses 23 thru 26 the Apostle Paul said in verse 26 "For as often as you eat this loaf and drink this cup you keep proclaiming the death of our Lord until he arrives".

So, as the earth turns and night descends onto each island nation and continent, this Sunday, April 17th, you are cordially invited to attend this celebration/observance at your local Kingdom hall of Jehovah's Witnesses, check local times. In Salinas, Uruguay ours starts at 6:30PM (18:30)

The meetings are always free with no contribution plates passed, ever! You will hear a short discourse on the significance of this night and then watch as Bread and Wine are passed to symbolize exactly what  took place that night. These tokens Christ himself said represented his body and blood. I say it will be take no more than 45 mins.

We all celebrate special occasions once a year, we keep our Anniversaries and special moments dear. I like to think of keeping the Memorial of Christ's death like an annual role call. Once a year Jesus can look down on Wally and I along with millions of others and say Wow, I said to do that and they did! 


Anonymous said...

Hi Denice. From your Jewish friends. This was very interesting. I always knew that Jesus was celebrating Passover before he was killed but this is the first time I've seen a discussion of that. Two things are of interest. First, do you know why ham is the traditional Easter meal (not kosher). And why is your church service on Sunday when Passover starts on Monday sundown this year.

We hope all is well with you Wally and his family.

Best, Tom (and Nancy)

Denise said...

Dear Tom And Nancy,
Thanks for checking in on our blog.

First as to the Traditional ham served on Easter.Bear in mind that "Easter" is a pagan celebration even though people try and tie it in with Jesus.

A great link I found shows that "Ishtar", which is pronounced "Easter" was a pagan day that commemorated the resurrection of one of their gods that they called "Tammuz", who was believed to be the only begotten son of the moon-goddess and the sun-god.

Tammuz was noted to be especially fond of rabbits, and they became sacred in the ancient religion, because Tammuz was believed to be the son of the sun-god, Baal. Tammuz, like his supposed father, became a hunter.

The day came when Tammuz was killed by a wild pig. Ishtar, who was now worshipped as the "Mother of God and Queen of Heaven", continued to build her mystery religion.

Every year, on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the spring equinox, a celebration was made.

It was Ishtar's Sunday and was celebrated with rabbits and eggs.

Ishtar also proclaimed that because Tammuz was killed by a pig, that a pig must be eaten on that Sunday.

So Tom,that's why Ham/pork is eaten

The Passover celebration and the Memorial of Christ's Death happen to fall at the same time as this ancient Babylonian rite.

It was Emperor Constantine seeking to make peace between Pagans and Christians in his realm who saw a parallel and fused the two traditions into one.

Your second question, the answer is a lot shorter!

Sunday starts out as the 13th of Nissan. Then after sundown it becomes Nissan 14th.

* Nisan 13 is shown because it is the calendar day on which the Memorial is held. At 6:00 p.m. on this calendar day Nisan 14 begins, and shortly after our Memorial service takes place.

Thanks for asking!
Ciao Denise