I have been attending Christ Church in Amsterdam since the middle of the nineties of the last century. I turned 60 last year and looking back -being raised as a catholic with at first sight nothing much to show for it than being able to light the incense as a choir boy- I knew my faith never had any real depth until recently.
The only thing I always was rather certain about was that around 2000 years ago ”something” had happened. C.S. Lewis describes that “something” very accurately: “We believe that the death of Christ is just that point in history at which something absolutely unimaginable from outside shows through in our own world”. I somehow held onto that for many years i.e. as that choir boy and later -fast forward 20 odd years- as a presumed successful guy getting married, raise a family, start my own business, going to Christ Church every week, making friends, trying to behave ..
At the time I saw being a Christian basically as a test, like a returning exam. It was a race continuously trying to be good enough to earn enough credits to be able to enter heaven and by doing so secure “my” place there. I tried -did the best I could- but it didn’t work and it never took away that feeling of guilt.
Last year -Covid- we had a small online men’s group with our (former) Senior Pastor, Alan Strange, which led me to revisit examining the proof that what we read in the Gospels really really happened. Of course this seemed to help but in the end I once again came to the conclusion that I am not sure there will ever be enough proof and so realized I needed to make a step into believing instead of “just being convinced by the facts” and thus leaving the skepticism of Doubting Thomas behind me i.e. blessed are “..they that have not seen and [yet] have believed..”.
I started frantically reading C.S.Lewis, listening to Tim Keller podcasts and thanks to the Holy Spirit finally acknowledged that my personal pride stood in the way of accepting I am a sinner who needs to ask for forgiveness and that only Jesus can make things right following his death on the cross and resurrection -yes- 2000 years ago…
I will continue to fail, I will continue to commit sin so I will still need forgiveness, I still need to get better at praying but thanks to the Grace of God I now -at the age of 60- truly believe in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!
Marc D. – congregant since 1995