In the Dark

This past Wednesday night, we arrived at our church building for our usual midweek service. It seemed like a normal enough day. The sun had just gone down, and the skies out were clear. We actually got there a little earlier than usual, but other people began arriving soon after we did.

We were in the auditorium waiting for the service to begin. And then about five minutes before we were supposed to start, the lights went out.

Complete darkness.

Well, not quite total darkness, because the emergency lights, which are designed to come on when the power goes out, did come on. At least most of them did. Even with those, it was rather dark compared with how it had been a few moments earlier.

We did what any group of people would do in such a situation. We started screaming because the lights were off. Oh wait, that wasn’t us. That is what would happen in an elementary school. Fortunately, everyone remained calm and orderly.

Some of us set out to see what the problem might be. We went out to look at the houses around our church property, and they were all dark, too. The people that were still arriving were reporting on how far down the street the lights were out. So we knew it wasn’t just us.

And because it wasn’t just us, there really wasn’t anything we could do to get the lights back on. We waited around for a while. Someone started leading some songs for those who were still in the auditorium, singing from memory because they couldn’t see the song books.

I keep a small flashlight with me for occasions such as that, and it came in handy. But it was also interesting to see how many people used their cell phones for light, either by turning on the screen or with an app that uses the camera flash as a flashlight. So we weren’t totally in the dark.

One older man said, “We used to have church in the dark all the time. Of course, we did have lanterns that we could light at night.” Maybe we should look at those, just in case power outages become more common.

After we waited through the dark for a while, with plenty of jokes about not paying the electricity bill, the decision was made to call it a night. With a system-wide power outage, you never know how long it might take for the power to be restored. If you were separated from your family, it wasn’t all that easy to get back together, but we all managed to do it, and then everyone went home.

As it turns out, the power was off for just over an hour. I never did hear what the cause of it was. On the plus side, we did get home earlier than we usually do, so that was nice.

It is interesting to see just how much we rely on something like electricity and to see just how much not having it affects everything and everyone.

Because, after all, it was really dark.

World Bible School

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Burnsland is Steve Burns, with generous help from his lovely wife Laura. Steve is a husband, father, photographer, webmaster, writer, podcaster, artist, Christian. Steve enjoys sharing his photography, art, and stories through, from the Burnsland World Headquarters in Tennessee.