Perched quite uncomfortably on a pew, diligently scrutinizing the crowd in anticipation of witnessing my first “I heart Mary” t-shirt, and contemplating my exit strategy should things get a little too wierd for my tastes, my wife and I prepared to honor our fallen friend… our Catholic friend.
Memories of all of those Baptist Sunday School classroom conversations corrupted my mind with details of how these people worship with the boogie-man, or something like that. If you’re of a like-minded denomination as me, you know exactly what I speak of here. “Those people worship Mary… they have some very strange beliefs about the Lord’s Supper… they offer forgiveness for sins (at a premium of course)… they claim to have equal authority with the Word!”
A warning here… it’s not like I’m going to speak with much intelligence because… well, think about it: I’ve been inside the walls of a Catholic Church once in my entire life… last night.
What I can share with you is that it was nothing as I have imagined all of these years. From my limited experience, I saw a group of believers not only honoring our fallen friend, but also reverently bringing praise and glory to our Lord Jesus Christ.
I suppose I’ll not be trading my Baptist hymnal for rosary beads any time soon, but still I can’t help but wonder “why so much division?” Are we divided over gospel defining issues… or just preferences and traditions? I might add here that our Catholic brethren have a different view of us than we often have of them. They advise that because generations have been influenced by Protestant doctrine, one such as myself having been born and raised with denominational influences, salvation is available through non-catholic yet authentic gospel proclaiming bodies.
By the way, the Catholic Church has long since denounced indulgences, and I saw no Marian t-shirts. Still, if we’re prone to frown upon their recognition and honoring of Mary, we maybe should take a glance at Luther’s teaching on the Mother of God… might find a little surprise there.
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures… 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 ESV