They say, “The show must go on.” But what about the sermon?
As someone who has been sermonizing nearly every Sunday for the last 16 years, I like to practice a lesson I learned from a little animated fish named Dory: “Just keep preaching, just keep preaching.”
When the best man fainted during a wedding I was officiating? Just keep preaching — after he was conscious, of course.
During a sermon when I opened my mouth and a fly buzzed down my throat, I swallowed hard and just kept preaching.
There was that one time when a cell phone rang in the third row and a man answered the call, loudly whispering, “I’m in church, can I call you back?” Slightly distracting? Yes. I kept preaching, though.
But in 16 years of sermonizing, I’ve never preached during a power outage. Until last Sunday, that is.
A few minutes into the message, I heard the soft, familiar, “click” that signals loss of power. Once we realized everything was safe, I decided to … yeah, just keep preaching.
The room was darkened, every little sound was amplified, and I felt like I was yelling. But for a few minutes, we were all reminded what it feels like to be powerless.
There was nothing we could do. When the power is out, there’s no app to download. No YouTube video to follow. You can call the power company and wait. Electrically speaking, I leave that job to the professionals on power poles. It might take them a while but I know they’re working hard to turn our toasters on again.
Electrical outages pull the plug on our human comforts. They give us a temporary taste of what it’s like to be without all the power of our modern world.
What happens when it’s a spiritual outage? When something unexpected and unstoppable clicks off the power in your life. Those times when you have no answers. Times when you have no instructions to follow. Times when there is nothing you can do but wait for someone to fix the problem.
We’re all going to face a spiritual outage sooner or later. Nobody knows when the power will go out in their neighborhood, just as nobody knows when the power will go out in their life. All we know for sure is that one day, it’s “Turn out the lights, the party’s over.”
What happens when that happens?
Just like we have to rely on experts to restore power, we can rely on an expert to restore our souls.
I know a professional who was up on a pole during the worst power outage in history — a three-hour darkness that shocked the world. (Matthew 27:45)
Jesus is the consummate professional; He knew exactly what He was doing. During the hours of His sufferings, Christ allowed Himself to be powerless. He willingly gave up His power so that those who plug in to Him by faith wouldn’t have to walk in darkness.
God restored things when He raised Jesus three days later. Talk about power.
When we are at our most powerless, God is at His most powerful. When we call to Him, we can trust His answer that “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:8)
The way to keep moving forward isn’t in ourselves, it’s in God. Through His strength, you can press on when the power goes out.
— Gregg Madsen is the Lead Pastor of Steadfast Gretna.