Religious Service Reflection My Chosen Observation Was Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Religious Service Reflection

My chosen observation was of the Jehovah's Witnesses, a fundamentalist Christian organization. I have never known very much about them other than the fact that they have a community ministry, offering their pamphlets from door to door. They are often ridiculed for their beliefs against traditional celebrations such as Christmas, Halloween and birthdays. I know people who believe that they are a cult; however, I do recall a boy from elementary school who was a Jehovah's Witnesses. He did not salute the flag or participate in holiday parties with the rest of the class. He was nice, stayed to himself a lot and was a very good student. I was always a bit curious about him and thought I'd try to learn more.

As a Christian, I have always been skeptical of the Witnesses because of what I viewed as their extreme and improper beliefs. By chatting with one who came to my door one day, I received an invitation to a Sunday service at the local Kingdom Hall which is the Jehovah's Witness church. I agreed to attend the one hour worship service, with the option of staying for an additional hour to review the Watchtower selection for the week. The Watchtower is one of their main pieces of literature. I hoped that visiting would help me gain a better understanding of their practices and beliefs.

The exterior of the Kingdom Hall was very basic. If not for the signage, you wouldn't know that it was a place of worship. The building was beige and dark brown and the grounds were well-kept with lots of colorful flowers, a high wrought iron fence and a very large parking lot. It did not give off the immediate religious feeling you get when you encounter a cathedral or perhaps a Baptist church. There were no crosses and no stained glass. There were attendants in the parking lot smiling and waving people in.

I was greeted warmly when I entered the building. The interior was nicely decorated. I immediately noticed that the Kingdom Hall was arranged with two separate meeting areas, one for English and one for Spanish. I felt that those who had come to worship were a happy group of people. They were smiling, laughing and hugging one another. Chairs were arranged inside the main hall, and you were free to sit anywhere. People said hello to me even though they didn't know me. I sat near Gina, the young woman who had invited me. She handed me a songbook and Watchtower and said she was happy to see me there.

The service opened with a quick welcome and prayer led by an elder of the congregation, which I believe is the equivalent of a minister or pastor. Everyone was silent during the prayer, reflecting on his or her individual relationship with God. I noticed that the prayer made reference to Jehovah God and his son Jesus Christ and expressed gratitude for our blessings and that we were gathered together. I felt a bit more at ease. I always thought that the Witnesses did not believe in Christ in the same way others do, but the prayer helped to clarify.

The actual worship service was simple and reserved. There was no choir. We all stood and sang from hymn books. There was an elegantly decorated stage with a microphone and podium. A man led the service, quoting scriptures throughout his talk that everyone tried to find.…

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