A couple of weeks ago, I saw a post from Pudsey Parish Church on Facebook about the start of their Believe in Pudsey week, which was kicking off with ‘An Evening with John Sentamu’. It sounded interesting and it was only £4, so I booked tickets to go with my boyfriend and my best friend. It turns out that it was exactly what I needed right now, and I left the room with an overwhelming sense of inspiration and feeling completely uplifted.
You’d be forgiven for not realising that I was a Christian. When I was at school, being a Christian or even mentioning the J word would have people rounding on you like nobody’s business. It didn’t change my beliefs, but it did make me very quiet and reluctant to express them. And even though I left school 8 years ago, I still carry that feeling around with me.
But Archbishop John Sentamu flicked a switch in me last night. Why should I be ashamed to be a Christian? No matter how many people try to say that this is a secular country, it’s not. We’re a Christian country and we have a right to be proud of that. I realised last night that I’ve become one of the ‘floppy handed’ Christians that the Archbishop talked about. This is something that I’m not pleased with, and I’m ready to change.
Halfway through last night, a couple of booklets were given out. One for those who wanted to start a new life with God and one for those who wanted to be filled with the spirit, with the option for people to choose both, which I did. I haven’t yet read them, but I feel like they’ll contain what I need to refresh my life and help me to kick out the bad things so that (in the words of last night), I can get my torch working again, in other words, I can let my light shine through Jesus and in his name, and can be proud to be doing so.
I haven’t been to Church for quite some time, making excuses like I’ve got other things to do, and it doesn’t matter if I go because I know that I still believe, but I think that now’s the time for me to return. That feeling of being in a group of fellow believers who are all sharing the same experience with you and feeling the love of God in the room was something that I had lost sight of until last night. And I want it back.
Standing in a room full of 200-300 people singing Amazing Grace gave me chills like I’ve never felt before.
Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind but now I see.
So thank you to Pudsey Parish Church for giving me an experience I’ll never forget, and bringing me to a turning point in my life.