On the 23rd March this year I got confirmed. This is usually something that’s done in the church for people who were baptised as babies who later want to affirm their faith as adults. I was baptised as an adult so for me it was about saying that I’m still on board with this Christianity malarkey. The reason I’m posting about it here is because my confirmation testimony contains a reference to The Robots of Death.
The reason I want to be confirmed is because I want to reaffirm my faith publicly and to say that St Aldates is my home. This is the place that God has called me to minister in as a leader in Children’s Church. It’s also been the vital Christian community in my life since I moved to Oxford three and a half years ago.
I grew up in an Anglican/Baptist Church where I learnt about Jesus and first experienced Christian community. I became a Christian at the age of nine when I finally twigged that what I knew about Jesus and his gospel required a personal response. I didn’t just want him to be around my life, but to be in it, filling me with his Holy Spirit.
I got baptised when I was 18 in response to the call that Jesus makes throughout his ministry. It was also a chance for me as I headed off to uni to draw a line in the sand and publicly declare where I stood.
One of the greatest struggles of my Christian life has been my acceptance of God’s Grace. For a long time I thought that life was like doing the high jump. I’d strive hard and occasionally it seemed I would clear the bar without making it wobble. I focussed on Romans 3:23, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” and I’d forget what comes next, “and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”
Все люди делают ошибки was a lesson that I learnt when I was living in Russia. It literally means “Everybody makes mistakes.” What it meant for me can be summed up in the words of The Doctor. “Don’t be upset. Yes, you failed, but congratulations. Failure’s one of the basic freedoms.” And in Jesus I have that freedom.
Jesus has shown me that relying on my own efforts is more like the pole vault, and I don’t have a pole. It turned out that my picture of God was far too small, both in terms of what he expected of me, but also in terms of the endless Grace and Love that he has for me.
These days I’m much more focussed on running the race of life that the Bible talks about and today is a milepost in my marathon.