Religious experiences: The day I nearly met Jesus in Cardiff

My lack of religious experience at the City Temple in Cardiff

"Seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened up to you," we are told in the Holy Book. Back in my years of searching for spiritual enlightenment and the answer to God, the universe and everything, I'd found the door of a certain evangelical Christian congregation's place of worship very much open.

Miraculous healings but not for me

I'd heard these tales of miraculous healings, of people who threw away their crutches and walked, of reformed hardened criminals and cleaned-up drug addicts; and all from finding salvation in this church. I needed to find out more and went inside.

This is what I found: I remember it well, the friendly faces of the flock, their welcoming handshakes and beaming smiles. It all seemed so well-organised and orderly, yet homely at the same time.

They certainly looked like they'd found God, so I took a seat and joined the faithful for the service. Perhaps I'd become a born-again Christian too?

Well, the pastor took to the stage and after telling us how wonderful it was to see us all there, he asked us to close our eyes and pray. I can't remember what the prayer was but it certainly got results, for the next thing we heard was him telling us that Jesus was there, in that very building, on that very same night, right here in Cardiff.

Doubtful, you might think, but whether he was right or not, I wondered what had brought such a crowd together? There are very many reasons why people turn to religion and today we have a vast selection of faiths to choose from, including all the new cults and sects, which for some reason or other usually begin life in America.

They then come over here like so many things in today's culture, like burger bars, baseball caps and rap music. But I'm not condemning these movements out of hand or comparing religion with fast food; there are undoubtedly many many people who benefit greatly from their beliefs, but I do think we need to watch out for what we are getting involved in.

C.J. Stone

By the way, CJ Stone has a story about some spiritual healing he received from one of these organisations, run by no less a divine personage than the Archangel Michael, who is Jesus and the Maitreya all rolled into one! It's a good yarn so I hope he tells you all about it someday, but for now I'd better return to that night I was telling you about, so back to church we go.

The preacher's voice took on the best American-style tone as he went on to explain that Jesus would enter the heart and soul of any brother or sister out there, who would sincerely welcome the Lord. He added that Jesus, who was there he reminded us, would come to us if we desired, and that he would take away whatever troubles we had, that he would become our closest friend and that he would never let us down.

He said if any one of us wanted this, then could we raise our hands, and having all sorts of serious problems in my life at the time, it sounded too good to be true but I raised my hand.

Praise the Lord!

"Praise the Lord," I heard, "we have one brother who has been saved."

"Oh, no," I realised, "that brother is me!"

"And another one, and another," I heard the pastor exclaim. "And a couple over there, two more brothers and sisters have welcomed the Lord Jesus into their lives, Hallelujah," he continued in full religious fervour.

Obviously by my action I had set the ball in motion for Jesus to enter the lives of others in the congregation, and as the numbers grew, I heard the pastor ask all those who had accepted the Lord Jesus (by raising their hands) to come to the stage at the end of the service.

After reopening our eyes and some more words and songs of praise, all of us who had supposedly met Jesus that night, went to meet his Earthly representative down the front in that Welsh place of worship.

"I'm overjoyed that you've welcomed Jesus into your life," the good preacher told me, shaking my hand like he was trying to shake it off." But how are you feeling now?" he asked me.

Actually, I was feeling very let down, I was feeling conned, I was feeling unwanted, especially when I looked at all the others who were raving about how they could feel the presence of the Saviour and the Holy Spirit's touch.

There was one bloke jumping up and down excitedly. He looked like he was on something and he was, he was on Jesus!

I answered the servant of the Lord by telling him the truth, that in reality I felt no different, that I'd not felt Jesus enter me or take away my problems, that I was sincere, but that now I felt cheated, but he wasn't listening, he was still on some evangelical high and failed completely to acknowledge what I was telling him.

So, what did it all mean? Didn't Jesus like me for some reason? I'd been led to believe he was the Saviour of us all, so why was I left out? Were my sins so great?

No, it was more a case of Jesus not being there at all, unless you count whatever or whoever was in the minds of the chosen ones.

I shook some more hands and made a few polite "it's been really good to meet you," type remarks but I was acting. Really I was glad it was all over and that soon I'd be out of there.

I was in dire need of spiritual comfort after all that and found it in the boozer next door. The Holy Spirit for me came out of a bottle and out of the barrel. Cheers!

Footnote: First published in Big Issue Cymru No 114, August, 1998

© 2008 Steve Andrews

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Comments 29 comments

t.keeley profile image

t.keeley 8 years ago from Seattle, WA

Yeah I went to a church like this. Trust me, you experienced the worst and scariest portion of evangelical Christianity you possibly could ever find.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 8 years ago from Whitstable, UK

Hi Steve, well that's a challenge all right. Now I have to tell that Holy Cornflower story again. Mind you, I think I got the best of it when it comes to cults. Your one sounds much worse. At least mine were just crazy Buddhists with "Be Harmless" stitched onto their robes. At least I didn't have to sing hymns.


pgrundy 8 years ago

Hey Steve, you know, on the other hand, since you kind of started the chain reaction of salvations there, maybe YOU were Jesus. I'm only half joking. I mean, look at the life of Jesus. Is it an advertisement for what a great gig being a savior is? No, not at all--the poor guy gets sent her to be tortured to death, and as if that's not bad enough, who gives him the job? His own Dad!

So, you might have been the Lord that night, with all the attendent misery. I'm thinking you got the better end of the deal in any case. Cheers!


mistyhorizon2003 profile image

mistyhorizon2003 8 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

Brilliant and humerous at the same time!!


Bard of Ely profile image

Bard of Ely 8 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal Author

Thanks for your comments, Tim, Chris and Pam!

Chris, I am going to put all my Big Issue stories up but means I have to type each one up because I don't have them on my PC! BTW, Mike Neary went there too and they also failed miserably with him so I wasn't alone!

Pam, I didn't escape totally - I had City Temple people calling round where I lived after that and hassling me on the street to say they hadn't seen me at the congregation again! No, and they never would!


Bard of Ely profile image

Bard of Ely 8 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal Author

Thanks too, Cindy!


Lady Guinevere profile image

Lady Guinevere 8 years ago from West Virginia

I loved it! I got a good laugh out of it. All thrugh the reading I was waiting to see if you had really met Jesus and was sitting on the edge of my seat...then came the ending....Oh I got something coming....How Great Thou Art! lol


Bard of Ely profile image

Bard of Ely 8 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal Author

Thanks for posting, Lady Guinevere!


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 8 years ago from UK

Very funny! I've seen some of the God Squad in action in my own family, and also felt suitably unmoved. My niece has told me on numerous occassions that she has a relationship with Jesus. Well that's fantastic. I'm delighted for her, but every time she says it I want to ask, well, how does that work then?


Bard of Ely profile image

Bard of Ely 8 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal Author

Thanks for your comments, Amanda!


qlcoach profile image

qlcoach 8 years ago from Cave Junction, Oregon

I think spirituality is inside of us. And we have the power to choose to control our negative side or to dance with it. Let us continue to seek positive solutions to all problems. Also, please see how I try to help others in new ways. Sincerely: Gary Eby, author and therapist.


Bard of Ely profile image

Bard of Ely 8 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal Author

I would agree with you, Gary! Thanks for posting!


quicksand profile image

quicksand 8 years ago

LOL! Your spirit was willing ... and the bottle came in handy!


Bard of Ely profile image

Bard of Ely 8 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal Author

Thanks, Quicksand!


coxistence profile image

coxistence 8 years ago from Ohio

Haha, this was such a good read. The ending was great.


Bard of Ely profile image

Bard of Ely 8 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal Author

Thank you, Coxistence!


Ananta65 8 years ago

For some reason I suddenly feel the urge to play a certain Rolling Stones song, after watching that video ;) Great hub, Steve!


Bard of Ely profile image

Bard of Ely 8 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal Author

I think I know the song you mean! lol Thanks for posting!


Brie Hoffman profile image

Brie Hoffman 7 years ago from Manhattan

The Word of God says seek ME and you shall find ME and Let God be true and every man a liar.


Bard of Ely profile image

Bard of Ely 7 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal Author

Well, I believe in God and did then, but no longer do I believe in the Bible or in organised religions which I consider to be the works of men!


aslanlight profile image

aslanlight 7 years ago from England

JC was probably the bar man in the pub! Thanks for this glimpse into your life.

Peace Georgia


Bard of Ely profile image

Bard of Ely 7 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal Author

Thank you for posting, Georgia!


stars439 profile image

stars439 7 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

Dear Ely: What happened to you was not good. God should have taken a moment from his busy schedule to come and personally see you, And I am not joking.

For many years I wondered if God really existed, and I felt that if God did exist, he, it, was not so nice because of great hunger and wars in our world.

To get to the point I experienced something that I believed was God that changed my life forever.

If God existed I hated God because my child can never walk.

Funny thing. When I held my dead mother in my arms and asked for God , God came to me. God also gave my mother her life back.

I never experienced such a great amount of profound love in my life. It was as if God really cared about me. I felt like God cared about me.

And the greatest thing of all was that, If only the world could have been in my mind it would have changed it's ways. There was enough love that came to me from God to change the world into peace forever.

Naturally many people think I may have imagined what I experienced, but I know in my heart that what I expeienced was real.

I am no more special than anyone else. If you ever want God to visit you, just talk to God. Prayers are not necessary. Holy books are not necessary. A church is not necessary. Whatever God is will find a time and place to visit you.

There are too many things without answers in our universe. Don't create a simple answer for something that cannot easily be explained.

I could easily be called a fanatic for drawing 200 pictures of the Blessed Mother. I was convinced in me that God visited me. God Bles You. I like your articles.


Bard of Ely profile image

Bard of Ely 7 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal Author

Thank you for sharing your comments! I believe in God and did when the incident described happened. I agree with you 100% that churches,books, prayers etc are not necessary!


stars439 profile image

stars439 7 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

Sometime I think I talk too fast and impulsively. I think churches are beautiful and I do think highly of the Bible and often I pray quite frequently, but I truly believe that God can be reached just as easily by love or faith and a great desire to have God's presence in one's heart. God Bless You.


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

Sorry Bard - I couldn't pass this one up! One up - my faith has been tested many times - I have studied a little. It and been to many different denominations - I just can't help feeling like Jesus would not be proud of the commercialism that church has become. Do I believe that Jesus loves me just because I don't attend church regularly? Yes I do! I contribute to the community - don't cause harm to others (not on purpose ever) and I do follow the ten commandments:-). I have to admit though - Catholic was pretty good - you can drink, dance and sing all ya want:-)


Bard of Ely profile image

Bard of Ely 5 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal Author

Thanks again for posting, RealHousewife!


iantoPF profile image

iantoPF 4 years ago from Sunny California

I picked this up from Facebook. Loved it. Never was much of a Christian myself though my parents would send me and my brother off to Sunday School. It wasn't till many years later I found out it was just so they could have some afternoon delight.

Personally I never did find Jesus, no one told me he was lost.

Great Hub though, really enjoyed the read.


Bard of Ely profile image

Bard of Ely 4 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal Author

Thank you, Ianto!

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