A life turned right side up

“I am a natural scientist and a convinced atheist—so what am I doing here? Why is it that I never miss a divine service? How does all of this fit together?”—Katja Krumm from Steinen, Southern Germany tells us about her journey to faith.

“My eyes fail from searching Your word, saying, ‘When will You comfort me?’” (Psalm 119: 82)—it was in a divine service captioned by this passage that I was baptised and sealed in June 2009 at the age of 44. It all began a year before that, when I experienced my first New Apostolic divine service in May 2008 as a convinced atheist. That single year turned my life right side up.

Despite resistance from my intellect…

The reason for attending a divine service was a dark, sad, and seemingly hopeless time. The sudden death of a person who was very close to me changed absolutely everything. Two days after the funeral I followed an inexplicable impulse in my search for comfort, and looked up the three letters “NAC”, which I had heard about from a work colleague shortly before.

And so it was that I attended a divine service. As it happened, it was conducted by an Apostle. The lively sermon and a fantastic choir moved me. And there was something more: the people around me came up to me, spoke to me very warmly, and invited me to come back. Happily and without prejudice they shared with me what was important to them—this was love for one’s neighbour in its most beautiful form.

Since them I have practically never missed a divine service. However, the first few divine services were certainly filled with many question marks. With scepticism I learned a completely new vocabulary which included terms such as “preparing the bride”, “the departed”, “blessing bearers”, “intercession”, and so on. Already in the music and hymns alone, I quietly felt one or the other possible answer. It felt right, even though my intellect resisted.

Singing—a sigh of relief and understanding

The former rector and his wife invited me over to their place in order to address my many questions. Some of these were quite provocative, rebellious, and filled with doubt—however each of them was met with a loving answer that led me further and deeper. I began to involve myself in congregational life—choir practices, birthdays, the cleaning team, New Year’s Eve—I was given space for my questions and began collecting answers.

It was a very persuasive thing for me to note that the sincerity of the members—which had made me smile at the start—was not limited to the divine services: I witnessed how these brethren in faith engaged their conviction in order to master situations of daily life.

Singing was and remains a kind of liberation, a sigh of relief, for me. This was the element my heavenly Father employed to find me and captivate me—and speak to me directly to this day. It was through singing that I felt the meaning of the words, long before I was able to comprehend them in faith.

Hitting home: the puzzle comes together

A quiet change began to occur within me—peaceful calm, happiness, acceptance. “Hitting home”—that is how I would caption the first month I spent in the congregation. But I kept wondering, “Should I really accept this faith?” After all, up until that point I had managed to master my life completely without God, had denied His existence actively for many years, and had merely tolerated (but silently derided) the Christians I knew.

And even to these thoughts God had a response within our congregation: the widow of the District Elder, a spirited, loving, and clever lady with strong faith and a deep understanding of Holy Scripture. It was through her that the abstract term ‘faith’ slowly but surely transitioned to something of meaning on a personal level.

It was as though all the colourful puzzle pieces of experiences, memories, and values of my old life were being put into the right place in order to finally result in a clear and simple image. This inquiry into, and sorting of, my inner being was nothing short of a quest for my own personal identity. My earlier feelings of being unworthy, incomplete, and out of balance slowly began to make way for a feeling of inner consolidation.

Becoming a child of God

My decision to finally accept the gift of faith occurred in a divine service on Sunday, 19 April 2009. It was as though the veil had been lifted: suddenly I saw everything that was new, and yet somehow familiar, in many dimensions—clearly and distinctly, deeply and broadly—in a manner that connected past, present, and future. At that moment I knew: “Yes, I want to be part of that!”

So what has changed in my life as a result? In a nutshell: everything. This new form of profession weaves its way through daily life like a golden thread, whether at work or in my personal surroundings. I now understand affliction and trials as work being done on my soul. I lay all things at the feet of God in prayer, and endeavour to pursue my path of faith in a purposeful manner. With gratitude I consider the beautiful and enriching things in life as gifts of grace that God grants me out of love.

The way in which my family would respond to this completely unexpected change in me was also a very serious concern to me over this period of time. I found—and still find—the response of my daughter to be a special gift. Although she often smiled at the idea, she nevertheless felt the sincerity—as well as the goodness and strength—that radiated from my faith, with all her heart. For this reason she considered it very important for her to be with me on the occasion of my baptism and sealing on 3 June 2009.

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Katja Krumm, Dinara Ganzer
Germany, Congregational life, People/Personalities