Saturday, 25 October 2008

25th October 1958

This is a simple indulgence... it is 50 years ago today that I took my first conscious steps on my pilgrimage. Up until my 11th birthday I had never seen a Bible and only the fact that I needed one for grammar school brought one into our home. I was raised in a good home with good moral parents and required to 'say my prayers' each night but there was no knowledge of the gospel there.

My attendance at grammar school brought me into contact with a fellow student who was about to be 'confirmed'. He asked me if I was interested and I said 'yes'. I had absolutely no idea what 'confirmation' meant nor why I should want it, but I said 'yes' and began confirmation classes. The local vicar was a good friend but not a preacher of the gospel. I was duly confirmed, joined the Sunday School, joined the youth club, joined the choir and anything else that was going. Why? I have no idea!

Some years later a change of vicar brought a 'gospel man' into my life. I suppose he preached the gospel but I have to admit I never heard it. He and his wife invited the young people up to the vicarage to sing hymns after the evening service and that added another weekly event to my religious menu.

In 1958 when I was 16 he set up a film night and showed the film 'Souls in Conflict'. It was a documentary/biography of the Billy Graham crusade of 1956 in Haringey, London. I actually volunteered as a counsellor and did the classes before deciding I would rather be an usher!

On the first showing my world stood still. I had never perceived that it was 'my sins' that he carried on the cross. His commitment to me made my response to him an inevitability. To the opening strains of 'Just as I am...' I took my first conscious steps towards God. I recall one thing above all others, an exhilarating sense of sins forgiven; I felt I was walking on air and heaven was open to my prayer. They say the longest journey must begin with the first step... as far as I know this was mine.

My pilgrimage continues and there were many other important steps to take but tonight I lift my heart in amazed gratitude for God's goodness to me over half a century. What an adventure this has all been and the best still lies ahead.
"My remnant of days

I spend in His praise

Who died the whole world to redeem;

Be they many, or few,

My days are His due,

And they all are devoted to Him."

1 comment:

Lillie Ammann said...

Thank you for sharing the beginning of your journey on this significant anniversary. There are still many "Christians" who go to church like a social club and don't know the Gospel.