A relay was tripped at the Sir Adam Back Power Station on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls. The stage had been set when the relay was inadvertently set too low a few days before; it tripped at 5:16 pm. on November 9, 1965. It was this incident that inspired the 1968 film, “Where Were You, When the Lights Went Out?”

By 5:27 pm., New York went down. An estimated 80,000 people were trapped in the subways, traffic lights went out and brought the streets to a screeching halt. Two hundred and fifty flights into JFK Airport were diverted. The entire Northeast Power Grid had gone down, the blackout covered 80,000 square miles and over 25 million people were without power — all because of a relay! We call it “The Ripple Effect.”

As I was growing up, my grandfather had a pond behind his house. When we would visit on Sunday afternoon, we would go fishing. Inevitably, someone would pick up a dirt clod and toss it in just to see how long it would take for the ripples to hit the bank on all sides. The clay dirt even produced clods that would skip across the pond like a smooth rock — but you have to be in the hills to have rocks, and this pond was in flat farm land.

Paul wrote, “For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone” (Romans 14:7). John Donne is famous for his version, “No Man Is An Island”. We affect one another as we interact in daily life; no one lives in isolation, no one lives truly to himself alone. We all cause a ripple effect of our own each day, with most every move we make on some days. We would be amazed if we knew how far out the ripples of our own life go.

There has never been, nor will there ever be a ripple effect like the one caused by the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. The ripples of His blood, shed for forgiveness of our sins, sent waves into the past as well as the future. His life and sacrifice has touched each one of us in a significant and eternal way. We are what we are because of who He was and is. – Steve Norris; Robinson & Center church of Christ; Conway, AR

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