During the deep-freeze of Dallas, hundreds of area churches were CLOSED! You read right - CLOSED. As my Pastor explained the following Sunday, the decision was reached on Saturday when Church Staff members assessed the grounds and realized the parking lots looked more suitable to be skating rinks, not to mention the hazard they posed to parishioners. The Second Sunday of Advent was silent in the sanctuary, but during the Third Advent Sunday, churches were operational and "Open for Business."
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him, and without Him was not any thing made that was made. In Him was life; and the life was the LIGHT of men." John 1:1-4
Hearing that familiar passage, just days after power (and light) had been restored to the city, renewed not just a sense of the season, but also an awareness of the role of the Church as the "power" company!
When the electricity is out for more than a few hours during the winter, the need is "felt" as a person begins to get cold. Without light, to see in the dark takes flashlights or candles; and what about the economic impact of all the food stored in refrigerators and freezers rotting without the power on? And last but not least Christmas consumers - this weather event DID cut down the number of shopping days!
From the comfort of my warm and illuminated Sanctuary of Solace, I prayed for the thousands of workers I knew had to get out "in" the weather. I prayed for law enforcement, for health care workers, for postal employees, but mostly I prayed for the Electric Company, especially when the news reported technicians being brought in to assist North Texas from SEVEN other states.
"Jesus, once again addressed them: "I am the world's Light. No one who follows Me stumbles around in the darkness. I provide plenty of light to live in." John 8:21 The Message
What impact would the Church have on the world if we reacted to "those living in darkness," as committed as we respond to neighbors and friends when the power fails?
Joseph Stalin is quoted as saying, "A single death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic." You might wonder what's a notorious and nefarious Communist dictator, and an historic weather event doing in a communique seven days before Christmas?
Numbers, my friend. It's all about the numbers.
When I read the "statistic" of 3 BILLION non-Christians in the world, with 1.6 BILLION of those living in East Asia, well I confess I'm not that motivated. It is after all just a statistic with a number too big to wrap my head around, much less my heart. Has the statistic of the "lost" in the world shut down the Church as the Power Company? After all, "those" people are pretty far away from me, not to mention they probably don't even look like me, speak the same language or have the same issues.
When the power fails in a metropolitan city, some of their "issues" like water, food, warmth and electricity, become my problems as well. I can "feel" that. But as a Church how often do we "feel" for those living in "spiritual" darkness?
The workers of electric companies during a weather- related outage, brave the elements to get people "back on line" as soon as possible. They're dealing with life-threatening situations because they appreciate the "need" for electricity and how the crisis is magnified every hour without power. "That's their job," you might respond; and you would be right. But what is OUR job as the Church?
"Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave His charge: "God authorized and commanded Me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you." Matthew 28:18-19 The Message
How much more should we (the Church) work as tirelessly (16-hour shifts during an outage) to see the "reason for the season" shared with those in the dark? What has caused THIS "power outage?" The Holy One of Israel (the reason for the season) has chosen us for the job.
"God also says, 'when the time's ripe, I answer you. When the victory's due, I help you. I form you and USE YOU to reconnect the people with Me.'" Isaiah 49:8 The Message
There are seven more shopping days until we exchange tokens of remembrance (or at least that is what they are supposed to be) of the One who is given, the Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6) There are two weeks left in this "Year of Our Lord 2013."
Your generous year-end contribution will assist the ministry of Sunshine After Rain in sharing the Light of the Gospel to a world living without the Power.
"Do this and the lights will turn on, and your lives will turn around at once. Your righteousness will pave your way. The God of Glory will secure your passage. Then when you pray, God will answer. You'll call out for help and I'll say, 'Here I am.'" Isaiah 58:8 The Message
Standing by the Light switch
Smiling in His Power,
DONATE TODAY by visiting the website: www.sunshineafterrain.org
Or by post:
Sunshine After Rain Ministries
10024 Regal Park Lane #217
Dallas TX 75230
Sunshine After Rain Ministries is a 501 (c)3 organization. All donations are considered tax deductible by the IRS.
*official statement released from Oncor Power Company