Sometimes, conversion is simply “seeing” in a fresh way what we have known for a long time.
In January of 1997, our new rector led us in a course called “Christianity Explained,” a study of Mark’s Gospel. I remember one key evening, when we were talking about ‘What makes someone a Christian?’ There were all the things I’d been taught, good attendance, living as an example, giving of yourself, communion, but the rector said, “Yes, but being good is not being a Christian. You have to deal with Jesus. We have to accept that there’s nothing we can do, it’s all been done for us.” This was very new for me, or, rather, I saw what had been there all along in a brand new light.
This had a dramatic effect on me. I experienced peace. Finally, I had no more dread of dying, of judgement, or of hell–which I was sure I was on my way to, because I had broken so many of the rules. I realized God really cares for me. Before, he was the Creator; now, he was my Father in Heaven, someone to praise and to ask help from, and especially someone to give thanks to.