The Rev. Janice C. Ford
Pastor, the Church of the Reconciliation, Webster
Have you ever wondered how we survived before we had cell phones? Is it possible there was a time when we did not talk with another person at the same time we drove, shopped, watched TV, ate, or used our computer? Did we actually miss calls because there was no call forwarding, voice messaging service, or multiple extensions of (archaic) land lines? Indeed, how did we manage?
Despite my somewhat tongue-in-cheek attitude about the matter, I am certainly not foolish enough to think that communication technology is without merit. It has made our lives easier and safer in many ways. In some cases it has actually saved lives. However, we may have gone a bit overboard on all of this. Why is it that otherwise rational folks would stand in line for hours in the freezing cold in the middle of the night so that they can be among the first to get “the best,” “the most,” “the ultimate” phone-- which literally changes every month?
Our societal obsession with material things aside, I am still prone to ask why we are so drawn to phones, and other means to communicate? Do we really have that much to say?
My observations tell me that, technological bells and whistles notwithstanding, people really do want to talk to one another. Our fast-paced, jam packed lives have left us with little time to just talk to someone with whom we really connect (pun intended). I remember as a child growing up in a row house in Albany, New York, nearly every day my Mom would talk with the lady next door—Mrs. Ciccolela leaning out her kitchen window, and Mom leaning out over the back porch railing. I don’t recall what they talked about. All I know is that there was something really valuable to both of them in being able to just share whatever was on their minds at the time.
All of this leads me to wonder how much time we spend talking to the One with whom we have the best connection—the connection that never drops our call, is never riddled with static, and whose technology never changes. How much time do we spend talking to God?
I have had many people tell me, “Pastor, I just can’t seem to pray on my own.” My usual response is, “Prayer is just connecting with God, so if you can think, you can pray.” Folks who have a hard time articulating what they consider “appropriate” prayer are missing the point. God does not care how we pray. All God wants is to hear from us. True prayer involves using whatever means available to us to simply communicate with God. Sometimes that involves reading or reciting a prayer written by someone else. Sometimes it involves “thinking” a message to God. Sometimes it involves just listening so that God can do the talking.
Typically, when we reach for the phone or Facebook or Twitter, our goal is to share something with someone whom we are fairly certain will be glad to hear from us. It may or may not be about something of earth-shattering importance, but we find great comfort in being able to “reach out and touch someone.” It seems to me we should be doing more of that with God. The next time you are thinking of picking up the phone and telling a friend about the best and worst thing that happened that day, take a minute and tell God first. You won’t get a busy signal, and the “call clarity” is perfect.
- Sunday, 29 January 2012
- Posted in Categories: : Religion