Godspotted: when the power went out right when our worship service was about to start today.
FIRST, A LONG-ISH BACK STORY:
Sunday mornings are usually busy times for me. Being part of the media ministry, our team works behind the scenes before and during the service (with very visible results–good or bad). Our system hasn’t been exactly all that smooth yet, but we’re getting there. The majority of our job for Sundays had to do with the projector (yes, we’re the projector geeks)– praise and worship lyrics, announcements and the sermon slides. Pretty simple, but an (we’d like to think so) important part of our church’s worship service.
Anyway… this morning had so many delays for me on my way to church–more than usual. I didn’t worry so much since I had prepared everything that we needed for the morning (except for the notes for the sermon slides, because there was a mixup with our guest pastor) the night before, all I needed was to plug in the laptop, fix the last minutes stuff and we were good to go.
I made it to church 20 minutes before the service (when I should’ve been there at least an hour before), but there was still no word from our speaker if the notes he had sent us were the right ones. Five minutes before the time, I got call from our pastor confirming that yes, the notes he had sent us in the email where indeed the ones that were supposed to be on the slides.
Again, no panic. I had fixed the template the night before (this series’ slide templates take extra work because we would plug in different pictures of families from our congregation on the slides– yep, our sermon series this month is about the family), all I had to do was copy and paste the text, tweak the fonts and we should be good. But I couldn’t finish it in 5 minutes. The notes were on a Word document format and they were as confusing as the first time I had read through them. I had no idea how to fix them on the slides. Still, I did my best, and panic started to build when the pastor began the service and I was still not done! Once the singing started, I wouldn’t be able to work on the slides anymore since I would have to project the lyrics to the songs. My team at the tech booth were laughing nervously while I was pleading, “Not yet! Not yet!”
That’s when the power went out in the entire movie theater.
“Did you do this?!” I demanded, half-jokingly, to my team.
“Ate, I think God answered your prayer!” one of them retorted. “The prayers of the righteous are powerful, diba?” And we all had a good laugh.
I kept on working by my laptop’s battery until the presentation was done before I went down to the cinema to find out what happened. Again, I shared to the pastor that I was rather thankful that the power went out because it gave me time to finish the slides. Then I introduced myself to the guest speaker and, out of curiosity, asked him something that I couldn’t understand on the notes he sent us.
“What? I took them out already,” he replied. “Anyway, those are my personal notes… these are the slides.” Then he showed me the presentation he made.
Uh oh. He didn’t send us that.
So I got the file of his presentation, kicked off the 5-inch high heels I was wearing and ran back to the tech booth to reformat his presentation to fit our screen and our template. Downstairs, I heard our pastor call out to everyone that even with the lights out, it’s not going to stop us from worshipping the Lord. And everyone started singing.
I worked on the slides, knowing that we were given this time to finish this, and my gut told me that the power will go back on at the perfect moment. We had to be ready for it. I told my team to go downstairs and join the singing (because they looked like they wanted to go), and as I feverishly worked, I sang along at the top of my lungs, not worrying at all.
And what do you know? The lights turned on just as I was putting the finishing touches on the last slide. And there was a different charge in the air, a bit of breathlessness at witnessing something that we know came from God, but couldn’t recognize it at that time when we were in the middle of it. And it was pretty awesome.
Our pastor posted something on the ministry heads’ page on Facebook just now, asking our takeaway from this experience, and they are good questions that I shall answer here (don’t want to waste a blogging opportunity. hehe)
WHAT DID GOD TEACH YOU IN THE MIDDLE OF TODAY’S POWER OUTAGE?
He taught me not to panic, but not to slack off at the same time. To see even detours/delays/brownouts (both literal and metaphorical) as opportunities to seize to keep on going– to finish or bring to closure things that need to be perfected. Being taken out of our comfort zones–even for just a few minutes– can be an opportunity to witness God’s extraordinary ways of meeting us and our needs.
That every moment is an opportunity for worship. Even without the microphones, the electric guitars, the speakers, the lights, the lyrics, the electricity that we use every Sunday, we can still worship God to our hearts’ limits–even beyond. We just needed reminding that we don’t need all those to come to Him, to enjoy His presence as a church.
HOW DOES SUCH CIRCUMSTANCE STRENGTHEN YOUR FAITH AND CALLING?
I think it was in the aftermath that I saw my faith strengthened, when I saw that everything worked out just right in the end. When it was happening, my strength was the last thing on my mind as I just did what I know what I was supposed to do and assumed that this was God’s doing. It wasn’t my strength or wisdom that carried me through the task, it was God’s–no matter how simple or brainless the task seemed. This has always been the case in my life and work anyway– it’s when everything was over that I finally had the time to look back and see how much God has done with what little I had. That’s when my faith and calling is strengthened.
WHO IS GOD TO OUR CHURCH?
God is God. He does as He pleases with us. Blessed be the name of our Lord.