Sweetwater Presbyterian

Small in size, Big in Faith and Love

Devotion for February 3, 2016

I don’t know what made me think about it, but as I was driving today I started thinking about when I was a young girl - older elementary, junior high - and the most important thing in my life was talking to my friends, the other girls in my class. We would talk all day at school and then as soon as I got home from school I would head for the phone and we would talk as long as I could get by with it….

I was on cloud nine when I think my parents were tired of my sitting under the kitchen table talking using the wall phone with the long cord and they gave me a phone in my room. That was like the height of the greatest thing that could happen to a junior high school age girl - her own phone. (Remember this was 40 years before the advent of cell phones or any kind of mobile phone!)

I admit as an adult I don’t really remember what we talked about all that time - I would assume that what consumed our conversation was the main topic of all adolescent girl - boys! Maybe with a few teacher complaints or some comment about what some of the ‘other’ girls were wearing that day but pretty much what dominated our chatting was that favorite topic of boys. Wayne looked at me today; Ted didn’t look at me today; Nick asked Susan out and what could he possibly see in her; I think Brad is really cute; All you girls probably understand this way to spend the pre-teen years and you guys are shaking your heads at the silliness of young girls.

But anyway back to the story. Back in those days of my young girl phone use was another ‘long ago’ anomaly - the existence of party lines. Now if you are not familiar with party lines - imagine having a ‘land line’ and when someone dialed your number it not only rang in your house but in someone else’s house in your town, someone you may or may not know. So both of you would answer and the caller had to sort out who they wanted to talk to!

Or, you picked up the phone to call someone and your ‘party line’ was already on the phone talking to someone else and you would have to wait until they were done to place your call…

Or, if you - or your party line - were feeling particularly devious you could pick up the phone and listen in to the other’s phone conversation. Needless to say in a small town there are few secrets since information travels pretty quickly when one overhears something on their party line! I have to admit that one became a little careful about what was said knowing that perhaps someone may overhear….

Have you ever thought of the church like an old time party line? Sometimes we worry about what we say around our brothers and sisters in Christ. Now I realize that our brothers and sisters in Christ are just people, but there is a relationship within our congregations that goes way beyond our casual knowledge of one another.

Because we are a people of God; because God has gathered us together in our churches, we come to realize that he has done so in order for us to have others who can be like a caring, understanding party line. God has given us one another as children of God so that we can have others who hear our needs, who listen to our struggles, who will pray with us and for us, who will help us with our problems and our needs.

But sometimes we forget the power of having a loving, concerned group of people whom God has given us so that we could be there for one another.
Don’t treat your brothers and sisters in the church like a party line you are worried might find something out about you. Don’t think that you are ‘bothering’ the church members with your needs. Celebrate the gift God has given you in those around you in the church who you can share your needs with and know that in Christ, they will be there for you!