Suddenly they were just sitting in the dark! The projected song on the front screen was gone; song books were of no value! They couldn’t even see the song leader. The singing stopped. But then a gentle voice in the back of the room began an old familiar hymn:
“Amazing grace, how sweet the sound…
I once was blind, but now I see.
Soon the room was ablaze with singing, while it was still black as night.
One verse; two verses; first and last verses; hymns; devotional songs; first verse only; new songs with only a very few singing, to be followed later with nearly everyone joining in. Who was leading? No one knew, yet everyone knew. Comments later could be heard about the presence of the Lord, the Spirit of God, the leading of the Spirit, and so on.
What happened? Well, one might say that the truck which spun out of control on the wet pavement hit a power pole and damaged the transformer, plunging a portion of the city into total darkness. That is what the news reporter said. Others might be heard saying that God was giving the church a chance to hear itself and “see” itself in a new light.
Why, that night, while folks sat in the dark for two and one-half hours, knowing they shouldn’t attempt to get up and go outside, there were many heart-felt, voluntary prayers by those who had not been “assigned” to pray; there were many spontaneous songs sung vigorously together; and, there were at least three sermons which were true exhortations given by who-knows-who, without a single note, and with not one bit of technology. It was like being back home when the power failed and the family gathered in the living room or the bedroom and snuggled up together, enjoying the dark and the solace together.
One thing was missing that night: no one, not even one person, mentioned their fear of the dark or their need to get home! Oh, yes, there was some movement from one seat to another to be closer to another warm, vibrant body! There was some sliding on the pews to be assured that someone was near. But there was no complaining or crying. There were expressions of joy and someone even commented that maybe we should always meet without any lights. Someone else quoted scripture: “…the city has no need of the sun, nor of the moon, to shine upon it: for the glory of God did light it, and the lamp of it is the Lamb.”
In the dark, someone was even so bold as to ask, “Why do we need to depend on artificial lights and artificial leadership and artificial structure to be what we were designed to be…family?
Could it be we are “hamstrung”? Could it be that we are dying because of it? Could it be we truly are in the dark?
Hamstrung – To disable by cutting the great tendon at the back of the hock; cripple; to render powerless or useless; thwart.