A group of people waves to each other as they meet virtually on ZOOM. Photo submitted
From Tamas Mondovics
“Necessity is the mother of invention” is a well-known saying. This roughly means that the main driving force behind most new inventions is a need.
The need to meet virtually through programs and applications like Zoom, Facetime or Teams now brings many together in groups, some of which are larger than others.
But what if a group or an individual organization succeeds in using such a platform (ZOOM) and numbering its participants several times a week in the tens of millions, not to mention a special 30-minute annual event that is now expected within to welcome more than 20 million people worldwide within 24 hours?
This is exactly what Jehovah’s Witnesses aim to achieve on March 27 at 7:30 pm as the organization prepares to celebrate what it calls the “Memorial to the Death of Christ” or the “Lord’s Supper.” The free program is designed to “help participants achieve peace and security even now”.
Interestingly, the success of the event isn’t new to the group, which reportedly saw nearly 21 million people and met for virtually the same event after the COVID-19 outbreak last year.
This use of modern technology is a big change for the group that has held the same annual event at their cement and brick places of worship known as the Kingdom Halls for decades. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Witnesses have stopped all public gatherings and evangelism. Instead, we are now reaching interested parties through phone calls and letters.
What is causing millions of people to take the time out of their busy lives and sign up for Zoom to be among the millions attending a virtual lecture?
Because of the pandemic, many have lost the things they believed were of greatest value and prioritized their spirituality. You feel like the merchant in an ancient parable who found a pearl of such great value that he sold everything he needed to get it.
“The pandemic changed our lives within a few weeks and brought the economic, educational and social system to its knees,” said Robert Hendriks, US spokesman for the witnesses. “What has not changed is spirituality and its powerful effect on people’s lives.”
An example of this was at the beginning of the pandemic when a staff member asked a 23-year-old college student to read an article about the four horsemen of the apocalyptic on jw.org.
An aspiring writer who loved to write the mythological and magical, the student found the riders fascinating – from the storming white horse with its royal rider to the pale, sick horse saddled by a skeleton.
“I wanted my questions answered,” she said.
Soon after, she began her Bible study at 8:00 a.m. each morning by videoconferencing. Biblical prophecy came alive for them, revealing a brighter future. “I’m just happier than ever in my life,” she said.
Instead of writing about myth and magic, she now plans to write about something spiritual – the biblical hope for a global paradise.
“We invite everyone who is looking for peace, security, comfort and hope,” said Hendriks. “The Memorial to the Death of Jesus Christ will also show people how to receive something of priceless value that will improve their lives not only now but also in the future, even forever.”
For more information or information on how to participate in the field, visit www.jw.org.