Editor: Readers may recall a recent story about a man named Marcus carrying a cross and baptizing college students at Leddy Beach in Burlington. Last weekend, Marcus Szczecinski of Breaking Chains Christian Fellowship decided to bring his large wooden cross to the Essex Pride Festival and hold a silent prayer vigil. Here’s what happened…..
By Marcus Szczecinski
A large crowd had gathered at the Maple Street Park in Essex for an event sponsored by many companies and organizations called the Essex Pride Festival.
The Bible clearly tells us that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9-10). But we also know according to 2 Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise as some understand slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish but everyone to come to repentance.” As the Apostle Paul writes in Romans 10:14-15, “How then can they call on the One in whom they have not believed? And how can they believe in the One of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone to preach?”
The Lord was telling me to have another person with me and I reached out to a few, but no one responded, but the Lord provided my brother in Christ, Jacob Sexton, who carries the Israeli flag. I didn’t know he was going to be there, but I praise God he was because there were a lot of people including many children, some of those young children were dressed in clothing for the opposite gender, and those children were exposed to the pride “parade” of people dressed up and parading things, which ought not to be paraded, and for which, if they continue, they will not inherit the kingdom.
Though they may have been parading, we who are followers of Jesus are led triumphantly, “But thanks be to God, who always leads us triumphantly as captives in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of Him” (2 Corinthians 2:14).
At multiple times, security came up and also Essex Police Community Service officers approached me. I had to remind one of the security officers that we were in a public park and that I was exercising my Constitutional rights.
As a general rule, in the ministry to which the Lord has called me, people come up to me and initiate contact and a conversation. So anyone with whom we had contact came up of their own free will. Many said obscene things, and cussed and cursed at me and at Jacob Sexton and most disturbingly, also cussed and cursed at God.
But Jesus says in Luke 6:28, “bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” So that is what we did. We simply said, “God bless you. God loves you.” When people would come up and engage, again, the Lord had impressed upon me, even that morning, to be respectful. But security and the Essex Police Community Service officers often came up when there would start to be a conversation, not initiated by myself or Brother Jacob, but by the people there.
The Lord had me go to my knees in prayer, about 30 to 40 feet to the right of the pavilion where the people were parading. The Lord told me to seek out a place to pray, for what was going on was abominable to the Lord. It was in no way blocking anyone’s view, and there was no one close to me. but at the same time, it was in view of the people who were watching what was happening in the pavilion.
Almost immediately, a group of people surrounded me and put up their pride flags to attempt to hide the cross from the view of the people there. During my weekly zoom call that morning, Revelation 12:11 was brought up, “They have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony. And they did not love their lives so as to shy away from death.” So as people surrounded me, the Lord had me on my knees and that was my prayer to be surrendered unto Him to do His will.
When there is a group of hostile people surrounding you, there is some amount of pressure.
After a considerable amount of time, some left so I was no longer surrounded, but there was still a group holding the pride flags in front of me to attempt to hide the cross from the people in the field in front of us.
Praise be to God, my brother in the Lord, Jacob Sexton, came over and also prayed. It was surely a comfort and a great help to have a brother in the Lord also praying and witnessing to the people there. Brother Jacob took some pictures at the event. Brother Jacob did engage in a conversation with people there while I was on my knees in prayer and it was respectful, but truthful and again, security and the Essex Police community service officers came up.
Again, when I first went to my knees in prayer, no one was around me, with the closest people being at least 30 feet away, if not more. Actually, the security officers and Essex Police community service officers abridged the free speech rights of those who came up to the cross. The people there had a right to hear what the Bible has to say, what I had to say and what Brother Jacob had to say, just as the people there had a right to say what they had to say.
The Apostle Paul says in Ephesians 5:15-16, “Pay careful attention, then, to how you walk, not as unwise, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the ways are evil.”
What I sensed from interactions with many of the people, many who cussed and cursed us, while we simply blessed them, was hurt and pain. God truly loves them, just as He loved us. “But God proves His love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
Even so. Even though the group of people there attempted to hide the cross, in their attempt to hide it, they were drawn to it. Jesus says in John 12:32, “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw everyone to Myself.
Please be in prayer, that though there was hardness of heart, that somehow a seed of the gospel was planted. What the Lord has made clear time and time again is that oftentimes the first interactions with people in the name of Jesus may be hostile, but persistent consistency, or consistent persistency, simply having a ministry of presence opens up doors to share the gospel.
There is hurt and there is pain in many of this population. God wants to heal them and take away their pain. “Surely He took on our infirmities and carried our sorrows; yet we considered Him stricken by God, struck down and afflicted. But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that was brought us peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:4-5).
If they would but receive Him and His great love for us.
“For this people’s heart has grown callous; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes; hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and turn, and I would heal them.” (Matthew 13:15, Isaiah 6:10)
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