The gravestones of a Catholic woman and her Protestant husband, who were not allowed to be buried in the same cemetery because of their religion, 1888.
(*I'm assuming that cemetery is somewhere in England, or more probably in Ireland, where the majority "green flag" Catholics and more minor northern "orange flag" Protestants have been rioting and killing each-other for centuries over their religious doctrines and differences).
To me, that's a HELL-of-a bad way to spread the Gospel of peace, love, hope, joy, and our mutual Creator God's redeeming forgiveness that basically says Love one another, put your fellow man first, forgive until 70 times 7-fold *meaning perpetually.
My own mom was an English/Native American Protestant woman and my dad was a staunch Roman Catholic as a Bavarian/Prussian Germanic man. They fought over religion and about where to go to church all of their lives, so after my first holy Communion, I never hardly set foot in a church again hardly, except to attend an occasional wedding or funeral.
My sister Marie had been studying in her mid 20's though with the Protestant Assemblies of God (A.O.G.) denomination since a friend invited her to church (really... it was the Holy Spirit who invited her to church... THROUGH that friend!).
Through that great church, she soon took the plunge to accept the Lord Jesus Christ fully, and soon after to get baptized through full-immersion baptism, in a large individual baptismal font at her church in East Boston with steps leading into it and out of it on the far end. She found the Lord and fully embraced him under a great man of God in that church... pastor Ernie White.
Through his church, his Bible studies... through his leadership, and the church's great Christian fellowship with a bunch of really Gospel-matured, committed, born-again believers, she also soon became a born-again Christian believer who was really "on fire" for the Lord, too!
It was probably about a year after that when my sister Marie had invited my younger brother Meinrad "Meinie" Straus and I to a huge 3-day Christian rally on a giant farmer's field in West Boylston Massachusetts that was called "Jesus Jubilee", back around 1980-ish, when I was somewhere over age 22, at least 4 1/2 years before I got married, way back in December of 1984, at like age 26 and 7 months old.
That festival seemed nice-and-all... very joyous, happy, sweet, and energized... the singing was great, and the speakers all were fabulous too... but the Gospel message I had heard from many people who spoke that first day just did not cut to the marrow or anything... not yet, at least.
It was about the middle part of the second day, right around dusk, maybe a little before, at, or after dusk when the sky turned a more tawdry, translucent blue that some new guest-speaker evangelists took the stage and gave a very shocking testimony and story about how those two great men from the "Jews for Jesus" evangelical organization came to believe in Jesus Christ as the only Messiah and Savior for the world, and for every Jew or Gentile, too! Their witness to Jesus singular special glory really started to stir something-up in me, in the deepest part of my being.
Well, I tell you, folks... their "God's spiel" was such a powerful, confrontational, moving experience, and it got me thinking more critically about even what the previous day's speakers had said. It all really started to jive and ring true to me from that moment on. I felt as-if a smoldering ember were somehow lit within my very soul, and it CERTAINLY WAS!!!
It was so amazing that I truly cannot express it in words AT ALL... I'm sure that even with my great vocabulary and constantly-perfecting English skills I will never EVER be able to describe it fully... you may understand some day best if you fully lend your ear to the Gospel's basic message... GOD HAS PROVIDED A WAY FOR SINNERS LIKE ME TO RECEIVE HIS FORGIVING GRACE! FOREVER, TOO!!! It's a one-shot, now-or-never, done-deal! (*If we allow it to be done for US!!! It is SO!!!) :-)
After those great men of God left the stage, and after a short "flush n' fill pee break, a very sharp, handsome, exceptionally clean-cut, Native American "Sachem/Chieftain" guy took the mic and greeted the thousands of people in attendance very warmly and amiable as he smiled a big, wide, perfectly-brilliant smile and even the man's eyes were smiling a lot, with some extra-warm, very personable additional twinkle in his eyes.
He was dressed in his full leadership feathered headdress, silver-rimmed eye-glasses, elegant watch, and a full, white-leather suit, with a medium, stylish silver-and-turquoise bangle on the other wrist, and a moderately-large, silver-and-black-stringed cross that sparkled like the sun! I was pretty-much convinced and convicted already that I needed a moment-to-moment relationship with the one-and-only Savior for all humankind already, but his extra message was the icing on the cake... like the very mortar that truly "cemented it", for me!
That very mature man-of God had spoken, sermonized, testified, and taught us for maybe 25 minutes. His testimony was quite different, but related, and I felt a deep sense of connectualism among ALL of the guest speakers who spoke what the indwelling Holy Spirit had GIVEN them to say at that "Jesus Jubilee". I was so totally blown-away at that point, that I had turned and looked at my brother Meinie after that radiant man spoke, and my brother's face was like radiant and "glowing" TOO!
As the man left the stage, another man took the microphone and had an "altar call" for people who wanted to accept the Lord Jesus Christ as their eternal and very personal Savior, and so my brother and I went down to the stage where other ministering Christians all laid hands on us and prayed for us, and I never felt a more comfortable, peaceful, relaxed, and euphoric moment in all of my life! I felt like I was so energized for many months after that, and it felt like I was more-than earthly happy, too! I was! I AM!!! In fact I am ETERNALLY HAPPY! You can be too, my brothers and sisters... even if we have our frumpy, grumpy days after that, or have our moments of weak faith and even doubt... we can and WILL be sealed in Christ unto the day of redemption, and we can KNOW our eternal destiny here and now! In fact, we can choose it... we can make a decision to accept it and be assured of it. We can all accept... "Him"!!! bohemian formal dresses
I will post more later about the dramatic differences between Catholics and Protestants in another post soon... this one is already long enough, and it's completely sufficient to save your soul for all time anyway! Praise to the Lord, The Almighty, The King of Creation! AMEN!!!
Thank you, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit!!! AMEN!!! :-) :-) :-) :-)