Many years ago a friend of mine brought a solar powered Walkman with him on a submarine trip. For those of you not familiar with submarines, it’s a window-free environment. The sleeping areas are dark 24 hours a day. Other parts of the sub are dark during night-time hours. None of the light was full spectrum, and it didn’t seem very strong – it didn’t need to be for our purposes.
To say that we abused our friend over his choice of electronic devices would be an understatement. That thing was meant to be used on the beach with lots of bright sunshine, and that would only power the radio – not the tape. Submarines have an appalling lack of radio reception within the hull. After a few days Art had to cave in and admit he’d made a poor choice.
For the last two years I’ve used a solar powered watch. That little gem is the product of the current technology, not the 30 year old stuff that Sony used for the Walkman. It has kept going with fairly minimal exposure to the lights on my desk and the sun during my forays into the outside world (rare in Minnesota from October to May that your bare wrist sees the sun.)
In January I did a photo shoot where the watch didn’t fit the wardrobe. It went into my wardrobe bag and didn’t come out for over a month. Dead. Very dead. I’ve tried charging it but it fails after a few hours under my sleeve and in the darkness of my bedroom. Max two days before it clonks out and the hands quit moving.
I think our spiritual lives closely resemble that watch. We’ve become such creatures of modern technology that we think our iPad Bible study, our video of Joel Osteen, and the twice daily scripture verse of the day that is texted to our phone does the same thing as the brilliant sunshine of going to church and spending time in His house. It doesn’t.
It has been my observation that many of us are not attending services because we’re spiritual, not religious. I just want to scream when I hear that one. The other one is that “I’m doing a heavy Bible study on my own, I don’t need to go to the church once a week with everyone else.”
Uh-huh. You’re like that watch that sits under the sleeve and spends the daylight hours in a bedroom blocked from the sun. You don’t even come out unless it’s in the darkness, and that battery isn’t getting any sunshine. You might function for a while, but eventually you’ll run down. Once you hit low voltage of the soul, depression and despair set in as the second hand quits ticking every second and instead shows a beat every two seconds.
We were not meant to worship God in solitude. The Bible’s pretty specific about gathering together to do that task. No matter how loud Toby Mac or Jamie Grace are playing in my headphones, it’s a different experience than standing in the Target center with 20,000 other worship crazed fans and singing out for God.
Are you alone in the darkness hoping that the lamp you turned on equals the sun?