12th September 2021

Plugged in

The worst power outage in US history happened on August 14, 2003. It was called the Northeast Blackout of 2003, and it affected 45 million people in eight states from Ohio to Connecticut. Though it lasted just a little over a day, much of the affected area was in the middle of a heatwave, which meant no air conditioning or fans. For people stuck in New York subways when the power went out, it took two hours to safely evacuate them. The same was true for people who were stranded mid-ride on roller coasters at amusement parks. Water service was also affected because the water pumps were electric.

It’s when we experience a power outage that we realize how much we rely on electricity to live and work; how much we need a strong connection to have a consistent flow. Otherwise, we experience what people in the Northeast Blackout faced: discomfort, delays, and loss.

When we think about our connection with God, we might see some similarities. We need a strong connection with God to experience the reality of how deeply we are loved, and how that love – like electricity­­ – flows through us to others. The apostle John writes in 1 John 4 that God is love and that the love we have for others comes from God. Here’s what else he says:

Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; [but] if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us…We love because he first loved us. 1 John 4:11-12, 19 (NRSV)

His love – like electricity – flows from him, through us, and to others. It’s his love that we share with others. That’s why the connection to God is so important. John also talks about when that connection feels weak, or when we choose to prioritize other connections over our connection with God. That’s when fear creeps in, and we doubt God’s love for us:

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love. 1 John 4:18 (NRSV)

God loves us and doesn’t stop loving us. We experience blackouts when we doubt God’s love for us, we start to look for connections elsewhere, weakening our experience of our connection with him. When we don’t feel loved, we don’t have love to pass on to others. Just like the Northeast Blackout, there’s discomfort, delay, and loss.

Power outages can happen due to weather events and human error. But our connection to God is never in jeopardy. Fear in our hearts can weaken our ability to let God’s love flow through us, but the connection will never let go. His lavish love is readily available to us, whenever we turn toward him. May you know and abide in the understanding that you are held and deeply loved by the Father, Son, and Spirit.

Presented by Michelle Fleming

 

About the presenter:
The Word of Life each Sunday is taken from ‘Speaking of Life’, (https://www.gci.org/videos/media-speaking-of-life/), a public resource video on the USA website of Grace Communion International.  Michelle Fleming is an elder in Grace Communion International and works in the International Home Office in Charlotte, North Carolina, USA as Media Director.

Local congregation:
You are welcome to attend one of our local Church congregations located throughout the UK and Ireland. For details of your nearest local congregation, check on our website, http://www.gracecom.church under the ‘Churches’ tab, or ring +44 (0)1858 437099.

Word of Life contact:
wordoflife@gracecom.church