Yesterday in church, as the pastor came to the conclusion of a very good sermon, he said, “God will speak to you.”
Bing bong. The sound of someone’s phone ringing.
“God calls you.”
“Make sure you answer. ”
“Don’t make Him go to voice mail.”
Of course by then the congregation was laughing — and feeling a lot of empathy for both Brother Russell and the owner of the offending phone.
There being no more bing-bongs, the pastor went on. Before he had said two words another phone went off. Or the same one, maybe, with an alarm or bothersome noise letting the owner know about the missed call. It went on and on; no one in the congregation made a move to silence it. Russell paused, giving someone a chance to fix the problem. When that didn’t happen, he made some light comment about no one being willing to claim ownership, closed off the sermon thoughts quickly and began the invitation to the Lords Supper, raising his voice to talk above the racket.
Fortunately, as he began the prayer, the phone stopped. Maybe God struck it dead, which was certainly my fervent petition by then.
The rest of the service of Holy Communion went unaccompanied by cell noise, two people came forward at the invitation and just before the benediction, the pastor made the forgiving gesture of down-playing the interruption with, “These things happen.”
So, this is not intended as one more cell phone story, but one of a community of believers coming together to worship, to love each other, to laugh together, to share in the sacrament of Holy Communion, to welcome new members into our church family and to excuse mistakes with humor and understanding.