Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Knock, Knock: King Comes to Easter

The lamb was on the grill, the green beans were in the pot, and all was bright and cheerful at our house on a very warm Easter afternoon.  

And then, the truly surreal happened.

King, the Jehovah's Witness, showed up on my door step with another one of his well-dressed fellow Witnesses.  They always come in pairs, and he always wants to talk.

Normally, King and friend make the rounds on Saturday mornings, conveniently missing my Jewish partner, who keeps threatening to tell them she's Jehovah's People.  In fact, I was wondering on Holy Saturday if I'd get a visit from him.  When I didn't find a copy of The Watchtower, I figured I was being spared his company. 

I obviously was wrong.   

When my partner saw who was at the door she motioned for me to answer.

"Well, hello!" I said with a smile.

"Hello Susan" said King.

"Happy Easter!!"  (This admittedly was not friendly on my part.  I know that Jehovah's Witnesses don't celebrate Easter, or Christmas, or Birthdays...).

King looked a little pained as he opened his Bible to the Gospel of Luke.

"Well, we don't celebrate that."  He continued thumbing to find the passage he wanted.

"Oh, you don't?  Oh, I'm so sorry."  (No, really, I was sorry.  No Easter... or any celebration that marks life renewed, restored, redeemed seems like a pretty sad way to be.)

Even though King doesn't celebrate Easter, he felt he needed to tell me why I was wrong to be marking the Resurrection on this fine April day.  This was the mission; tell me that Easter is not in the Bible, that Easter bunnies are pagan (true), and that I am horribly misguided about the Kingdom of God, but luckily the Jehovah's Witnesses are there to help correct my heresies.

I am fairly good humored about all this.  My everyday community and the company that I keep are not necessarily people who rejoice in the victory Christ won over death that continues to free people.  And I am pretty good about letting people have their space to believe as they will.  In exchange, I ask that they respect the fact that I do believe in a Triune God whose work continues through me and others.  As such, I saw King's decision to come knocking on my door to tell me that the resurrection isn't true on Easter Day really wrong.  It would have been like Pat Robertson dropping by with some pork to a Muslim household at Ramadan.

Of course, when I share stories of King's visits, I hear from friends about the various and sundry ways they use to scare off Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons.  Some claim to answer the door stark naked with battery clamps on their nipples.  Others say they pull out their Roman Catholic Bibles.  Still others remind me that Jehovah's Witnesses have suffered persecution in the past, both here in the United States and Germany under the Third Reich.    Certainly, that was wrong and terrible.  History is rife with stories about minority groups being killed or shoved into a societal corner because they were different.  But past persecution does not excuse King's present day decision to deliberately show up at my house on Easter just so he could tell me that "Jesus didn't tell us to remember the resurrection"? 

Bad form, King!

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