Worshipping God in the Dark
Sunday, June 15, 2008
I thought I'd seen it all in 20 years of pastoral ministry. All kinds of things can go wrong in a worship service. I've seen every manner of technical or musical difficulty, a medical emergency during the service, an interruption by a drunk guy, a heckler, a testifier who wouldn't stop testifying, and sanctuary construction that necessitated all kinds of flexiblility on the part of those who lead worship.
Today, however, a simple problem led to a whole new concept in worship. A lightning strike on a nearby transformer led to a lengthy power outage 10 minutes into the first service. Imagine 200 people sitting in a very dark room with only 1 emergency light faintly shining and a little natural light from the open doorways.
Some men jumped up to try to fix the problem, but the worship leaders (electronic instruments mostly silenced, pianist unable to see her music) kept right on going with one acoustic guitar for accompaniment. Singing in the dark took away all distractions. Singing by memory made me concentrate on the words. In the dark, my mind focused completely on God. It gave me shivers to hear our people singing the song "Blessed Be Your Name" when they got to the part where it says "Every blessing you pour out I'll turn back with praise. When the DARKNESS closes in Lord, still I will say, Blessed be the name of the Lord, Blessed be Your name."
Sometimes the darkness isn't an outside darkness, like at my church today, but an inner darkness, the darkness of discouragement or even depression. May I continue to worship and praise God in the dark then too!
By the way, in case you are wondering, my DH still preached a shorter sermon by flashlight. It was kind of like that eerie campfire face you make with a flashlight under the chin.