I was looking in a drawer this morning and came across an old ‘ARP’ (Air Raid Patrol) whistle, which brought back memories of the ‘Blackout’, which was in place during the last world war. It was a time of German bombings, when we all had air raid shelters to run to when the sirens went off. There were no streetlights then either, and all windows had to have blinds and curtains so that not a chink of light could be seen from the outside. I can still hear the ‘’ARP’ man’s whistle, and his shouts to one of our neighbours, ‘get that light out’. Everyone was happy to comply, as no one wanted to give the enemy any help or advantage. My other childhood memory of the blackout was walking in the dark at night from Shawlands to our church in Pollokshaws. We were allowed a torch as long as it was only pointed to the ground. I remember there was often an ‘ARP man’ at the top of Hector Road who would say to my Dad, ‘make sure the children keep the torch pointing down’.
I never hear anyone talking about the ‘ARP men’ now, but most of them were volunteers, who worked during the day to help the war effort and patrolled at night trying to keep everyone as safe as possible. We knew their job was important because a stray bomb had exploded at the other end of Deanston Drive in Glasgow where we lived, demolishing the building. But as children no one would talk to us much about that.
Wow the Lights are on!
Sometime after the war had ended I remember my mum taking us out at night to walk along to the tram depot to see all the lights – WOW we were amazed, what a transformation light brings! The entrance to the tram depot then was adjacent to the Pollok Football Club ground on the space now occupied by ‘Morrisons Supermarket’ on Riverford Road. Lights have been coming on all over the place ever since!
There are not many people in the UK today who will remember the ‘blackout’, but last night I watched the new TV series on the Mediterranean, and viewed with horror the report from Libya showing the absolute devastation there, due to the fighting and bombing of that on-going conflict. Not to mention the horrors of Yemen, Assyria etc. etc. Blackouts in modern warfare I guess are a thing of the past, but I’m sure you will agree that there is still a lot of darkness around, darkness in the human heart and mind and in his actions! The Psalmist said many years ago ‘’Your Word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path’(Psalm 119.105) and Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8.12) As an octogenarian now, I can say that I’ve found both these statements to be true in my life, and I would commend the Bible to you and the JESUS of whom it speaks.
Today for many people around the world the light is coming on in their hearts and minds as they come to know Jesus as their Saviour and Lord! We are all invited to follow Him.