Maarten Westera, 54, was born in Holland but has lived in Colchester for most of his life and is married to Sarah. Together they lead Bethel Church in Stanway. In this article Maarten talks about visiting a large church in London and Freddie Mercury.

The other day I found myself standing in the third row of a large church in London.

On stage is my son, debuting as the new bass player in the band leading us all in worship.

As I look around, less than one day after my own birthday, 364 days before my mid-fifties, I struggle to find a single person my age or older.

I stare in wonder at these amazing young people, full of energy, passionate and hungry for a church that wants to be authentic and make a real difference in the world.

It’s been an incredibly emotional day, earlier we saw the story of Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody at the Imax.

It took me back to my own youth, as a young man in my home church.

Freddie had more or less entirely passed me by.

As churchgoers we didn’t approve of his rock music, much less his lifestyle.

The church had also completely ignored one amazing event of the Eighties. Bob Geldof’s Live Aid.

I remember a schoolmate invited me round to listen to his music.

I remember clearly wrestling, with thoughts of disapproval listening to this simply indescribable music from Queen coming from his Hi-Fi.

How could something so beautiful, so powerfully creative, be wrong?

Here I am, almost 40 years later listening to my son playing in a church, and as his bass guitar is vibrating through my ribcage, I thank God that this new generation of churchgoers have left behind many of the old prejudices and judgemental attitudes that the Church has been known for, for so many years.

These guys genuinely want to make the world a better place.

I cried all the way through Bohemian Rhapsody partly because I’d learned that if you look hard enough at people, all people, anyone, you’ll likely see something of the divine, something infinitely beautiful in us all.

We don’t need to make judgments on people’s lifestyle.

That’s replacing God with another God created in our own image.

A God who is judgemental and disapproving of sinners. We reverse roles and create a God who looks more like us.

In the first chapter of the bible there is a great story.

We often miss who God really is and how he feels about us: “On the sixth day God created man and woman and God looked at everything he had made and He saw that it was very good.”

The first thing God says over you is: “You are very good”. Before you were born, before you open your eyes God says: “You are good”. Not evil, full of sin or wickedness but VERY GOOD.

Why? The reason is simple - you are made in his image, you look like him. You have his characteristics. You have His talent, His creativity, His power to make something beautiful.

It’s God’s first words. Its universal, not exclusive nor unobtainable.

I look at Freddie and I see a divine gift, I see a beauty, I see a divine power to create something everlasting, it will remain for many years to come.

I wept because encountering the divine, even through the medium of this screen in Imax, is powerfully moving and awe inspiring.

I wept because despite this divine beauty I see the ever-present human fallibility, pain and heartache.

I also wept because as a young man when Freddie was still alive, I was too proud and too arrogant to see through my own prejudice.

I missed the God given creativity and divine beauty personified in one man.

You see I believe in a church that loves and serves. I believe in a church that isn’t continually drawing circles round itself to define, where evil ends and good begins.

I believe in a church that is inclusive, sees the good in people, and has hope for everyone, a church that looks for God in people.

I wept because I found God in Freddie Mercury 40 years too late!

You’re right Freddie, you were born to perform. It was your calling; I wish you could have known earlier that God said: “You are very good”.

This new generation of young believers have a unique opportunity to do church better, to learn from past mistakes.

To be authentic, genuine and honest.

The future of Christianity in the UK is indeed very bright.