03 Jan God on Caller I.D.
Isn’t Caller ID one of the great inventions of contemporary life? I absolutely love it. Despite the fact that my home and cell phone numbers are registered with the national “Do Not Call” list, I still get an annoying number of unsolicited and unwanted calls nearly every day. Back in the “old days,” I answered those calls because I didn’t want to miss the important ones, like those from friends or parishioners—or my mother. But now I cheerfully let calls from unknown numbers go to voicemail, and I enjoy the added convenience of knowing who will be on the other end of the line when I do choose to answer.
Wouldn’t it be marvelous if God’s name and number popped up on our screen every time God was speaking to us? Wouldn’t that be a call we’d be sure to take? The truth of the matter is that we talk a lot in the church about God speaking to us and calling us, but then we live as if God is silent and absent. We go through our daily routines without any expectation that God is present, much less engaged and involved, and still less aware that God might have something to say to us about what we are doing and how we are doing it.
It’s easy to understand why. We are certainly swimming upstream, against the current of the culture, by claiming that God is an active participant in our lives and in our world. And the busyness and demands of modern life often mean that we move from one task to the next, focused on completing what must be done and surviving the relentless barrage of responsibility. Time for quiet or solitude where listening, reflection and prayer thrive? Get real.
We do have more say about this than we want to admit. Addiction to technology is now a thing. It takes discipline and courage to turn the phone off. Maintain eye contact with the person you’re talking to, rather than constantly diverting your attention to check every text and email ping. Leave it in the next room during meals. Create un-plugged times throughout the day or week for creative or physical endeavors. Learn again to be present without being “on.” Rather than being a tool that makes our lives less stressful, far too often technology has come to drive us, to dictate how we live. The phone buzzes, and we instantly respond, as reliably as Pavlov’s dog. Perhaps saddest of all, we unquestioningly accept this behavior as normal and okay. We don’t stop to ask about the cost to our souls and relationships for all this “convenience.”
Gathering as part of a faith community for worship each week, we are reminded that God is speaking. God is calling. To us. Today. Can we hear it? Do we want to? God is keenly interested in teaching us how to live the most fulfilling, abundant, authentic human life possible—to express our gifts and talents in meaningful ways, to have real purpose, the kind that will outlast our earthly existence, to experience the joy of community, of loving and being loved.
Friends, this is one call you really don’t want to miss.
Yours for the Kingdom,