TITLE: The Torn Banner 11/11/2016
By Gloria Pierre Dean
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John walked away from the rally feeling high, excited and euphoric. The police had moved them on because they were causing too much uproar. He was alone as ran down the alleyway to escape arrest.
He and a group of atheistic hecklers had yelled, screamed and waved their "No God" banners at the opposing side with great vigour and passion.
"How dared these narrow-minded bigots say that they were standing up for God's Truth?"
He personally had no such restrictions on his mind; he did not believe in God. Life was for living and without pain. The opposing view was that you were alive until God ended your life.
He was a strong advocate for assisted death and was proud to say so. He skipped along the narrow alleyway that led to the bus stop secretly thinking thoughts like
"Oh it’s great to be free to do and say whatever I want to!" and "If Father could see me now."
Father was a country vicar. John remembered the day he told him his 'good' news. It was after he came home for summer holidays from university. Father went deathly pale with shock. John still lived at home but things had changed between him and his parents. They were very guarded around him.
As a child and young boy he went to church and participated in church activities but as he grew older, friends at high school had taunted him for his background. He began to think differently and more favourably towards their points of view. He had, of course, kept this from Dad until that fateful day.
He paused to spit in the open drain and as he lifted his head he saw in his peripheral vision a pair of sandalled feet with a strange scar.
"Bare feet in cold Yorkshire; now that is a novelty" he muttered to himself.
He slowly lifted his head but reeled back stumbling, tearing his "No God" banner as he tried to save himself. He did not seem to be in control of himself. He was about to fall when he was held by a large gentle hand.
The hand that he saw had a large hole in the centre of the wrist.
"Oh my God!" John squealed in dismay. He then heard a gentle yet powerful voice say, "John why are you persecuting my people?"
That is all John remembered before he passed out.
Hours later, it seemed, he woke up to find himself in his bed at home. He did not know how he got there. He was fully dressed and his torn banner lay across his bed.
John lay in bed trying to determine what had happened in the alleyway and how he made it home. In a daze, he got up, showered, dressed and went downstairs to the kitchen. His mother was at the sink and for the first time in months he felt warmth for her.
"Hi Mom," he said in a gentle voice.
She spun around looking slightly amazed at this gentle John. "Good morning son" she said, " are you hungry?" “ No thanks Mom” he replied. John felt different. He felt as though reality had changed. He knew that he was never going to be the same.
“I need to talk to Father. I am going to need help understanding what had happened in the alleyway” he said to out loud to himself.
“What am I to with this? I believe now! It’s like Light came on in me!
I met Jesus and I believe in Him. Oh my God!” he muttered as went towards the study. As he left to find his father, Mother got on her knees in the kitchen and started to pray.
He hurried along the hallway to father's study and knocked the door. What ensued could not be easily described. There were many tears and his father was somewhat overwhelmed by the sudden change in him. He prayed with him and gave him a Bible that he had bought for him years ago.
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