My sweet fourteen-year-old friend leaned back against the wall of the fellowship hall at church as a group of us chatted. Her shoulder hit something and she spun around.
“’What is this?” She asked holding out the cord of a wall phone as if it the most bizarre thing she had ever seen.
“Is it a telephone?” She giggled. “A telephone with a . . . cord?”
More laughter from her.
I am not making this up. By this time, the rest of us were holding ourselves as we cracked up with her.
She picked up the receiver and studied it a moment, then put it to her ear. “It works,” she almost shouted her eyes lighting up with delight. She punched in numbers and someone answered on the other end. “I’m calling you on a telephone and . . .” she cackled again and waited for affect, “it has a cord.”
I don’t know if I’ve ever felt as dated as I did witnessing someone who had never seen a landline phone.
Once while on a prison ministry weekend, I was sitting at the piano about to help lead praise and worship when a telephone behind me rang interrupting the person who was speaking. Somehow, I still don’t know how, singers and we musicians simultaneously launched into a chorus of that old rhythm and blues song, “Jesus on the Mainline, tell him what you want.” The song, maybe written early in the twentieth century, brought in a little of the current technology to communicate a spiritual truth. In any event, it was a big hit that day in the meeting.
As I’ve thought of my young friend discovering the novelty of the landline phone and that she could actually make a call on it, as well as the "Jesus on the Mainline" song, I was reminded that we should have the same delight as our girl did over how we can call on the God of the Universe.
No cords required.
Shouts and laughter entirely appropriate.
Recently, while I awaited a medical procedure in the hospital, I once more marveled at how comforted I was that others were praying for me, and that I too, could call on the Lord as I faced uncertain results. “Tell him what you want,” the song says. And I did. However, I knew that no matter the results, God would still be there.
So there you go. Call him up. No matter what’s going on. And you don’t have to worry about that pesky cord.
I’m pretty sure it’s going the way of the dinosaurs anyway.
Wonder what my friend would do if she saw a telephone booth?
“In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears”(Psalm 18:6).