Since I first heard of it, I have been fascinated with solar power.  It was the space program’s use of solar panels that first piqued my interest; then in school I saw a small blue-black panel that ran a small electrical motor when placed in direct sunlight; then I learned that Einstein received his Nobel Prize because of his research into photoelectric effects (which forms the basis for photo-voltaic solar panels), and I was hooked.  Wow!  You can make electricity from sunlight!

I have long wanted to get solar panels for my home.  But until eight years ago when I moved here I never owned my own home, and besides, the panels were too expensive.  But now, I own my own home, and while the panels are still very expensive, they will pay for themselves in about six years, more or less.  So…I bought them, enough to produce all the electricity that Susan and I use and then some.  In my back yard (not on my roof), there are 28 panels bundled together, that over the year, will generate all the electricity I need.

True power to run my life comes – not from the Sun but from the Son

But why am I telling you all about my solar panels?  It’s because of a fortunate mixing of words in the English Language.  The power to run my house now comes from the “Sun.”  The power to run my life comes from the “Son.”  Those sun-powered panels in my back yard are proving to be a good reminder of where the true power to run my life comes from – not from the Sun but from the Son.  I’m reminded that it’s not by my power that I run my life (when I try to do that I run it into the ground!), but by the power of Jesus in me.  Check out 2 Corinthians 12:9,10 for Paul’s take on that.

Often when I look out at those panels I am reminded of Jesus.  Those solar panels don’t only provide power for me, they funnel power back into the electrical grid so that the sunlight falling on my solar panels generates electricity that you might be using too.  Jesus pours his power into my life and yours not just for our benefits but so we can serve others, loving them in the ways that Jesus calls us to love.  In fact, if my solar panels aren’t connected to the grid, they don’t generate any electricity for me.  

I’m reminded that if I’m not connected to others, passing on the blessings I’ve received from the Son, then I can’t expect Jesus will be doing much in my own life.

When the Sun shines on and those panels power flows.  When it’s dark or when snow covers them, that’s happened lately, though it soon slides off no power comes into my house.  You can see the correlation here, I’m sure.  Unlike the Sun, the Son always is shining his light into our lives, always calling us to the upward way.  His power is always available to use in the callings that God gives to us.  Unfortunately, while the Son is always there, sometimes we let things block his power in our lives.  My solar panels are tilted towards the sun in just the correct angle for maximum power generation.  For the Son to power my life I should be facing directly towards him.  Unfortunately, I (and I’m not alone in this), tend to wander here and there, turning away from Jesus as it seems to suit me (never a bright idea).  Turning away from Jesus, for any reason, is what the Bible calls sin, and sin shadows my life so that I can’t receive the power of the Son (see Isaiah 59:1,2 for an olde-time example).  Sin is like the snow that covers my solar panels after a storm.

A reminder of grace

But just as the Sun shines and causes the snow to slide off, so too the Son, who is always shining, causes the sin in my life to slough off so I can see him face-to-face and receive his power.  That’s grace, and for that I am very thankful.  I hope that you are too.    

There are other ways that my sun-powered panels remind me of our relationships with the Son, but I’ll let you imagine what some of them are.  May you be fascinated by the Son and be filled with his Son-power so that we might glorify God together.

p.s.:  If you’re interested, more information about the company that provided my solar power array can be found at  I highly recommend them to you.

About Rev. Michael Burkley

Michael has been a pastor for almost 34 years (unbelievably to him) and for over 12 of those years he has had the privilege of serving in Albany Presbytery as the pastor of the Rockwell Falls Presbyterian Church. He is currently serving as the 2020 Moderator of Albany Presbytery and is very glad to be serving God here with us.

The purpose of the Albany Presbytery Blog is to share information, tell stories, and promote the mission and ministry of the presbytery, synod and beyond. While the breadth of this medium is intentionally broad, it is not a platform for opinion pieces related to business coming before the presbytery unless designed as part of an initiative to provide a diversity of viewpoints at the direction of the presbytery. Exceptions to this policy may be brought to the presbytery officers who will determine appropriateness of submissions.