Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Luke 18:1-8 and the touch tone phone...

this is a revamp of an old talk I did back in 2012. Hopefully well worth the rewrite and repost.

How many people here do not like dealing with electronic operators. I’d much rather deal with a real person on the phone than a taped message telling me which button to push and to hurry up and wait. That really pushes my buttons.

One time I called a spark and got through their electronic operator to the long queue and the recorded music was something like pinks ‘please don’t leave me’ as if the company knew how frustrating it was, waiting for a real customer services representative after being bounced round the machines options and directories.

A while back I wondered what it would be like if God Installed an electronic operator to deal with prayer in a more efficient way...

EO: Hi you’ve reached prayer central

If you are praying a prayer of Adoration Press 1
If you are praying a set/read or liturgical prayer Press 2
If you are praying a prayer of confession Press 3
If you are saying grace please Press 4 and depending on the time of day expect a delay
If you are praying a prayer of intersession Press 5
If you are praying a prayer of thanksgiving Press 6
If you this is your first time praying Press 7
If you are praying “the sinner Prayer” Press 8

Person: Oh OK I’d better press 5

EO: You have chosen ‘Intercessory prayer’

If you are praying for the World Press 1
If you are Praying for a specific country Press 2 And access our Continents directory.
If you are Praying for your city Press 3 And access our city directory.
If you are Praying for your church Press 4 And access our Denominational directory.
If you are Praying about your heath Press 5 and Access our Medical directory.
If you are praying for family members then Press 6
If you are praying an emergency prayer Press 7
If you are Praying for the Lost Press 8
Press 9 if you wish to hear these options again and 0 if you wish to be returned to the operator.

Person: Oh I’ll Press 7 this is a real emergency.

EO: You’ve selected Emergency prayer Hold the line please RINNG RINNG RINNG Click.

You’ve reached the voice mail for “God”. ‘Hi I’m Not in at the moment Please leave your name, phone number, church affiliation and a brief message after the beep and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible. BEEP.

Person: Oh ah It’s Heinrich Morse, 347 0002, St Emma’s at the mall here, Umm I’m Just praying to you about my mum’s health. She’s Ah really sick, the doctors say she doesn’t have that long to live and that it’s only a miracle that can save her now. I tried to get you this morning but well I just got your answer machine again. I really would appreciate an answer”.

EO: Thank you. You are important to us…
Press 1 to end this call.
Press 2 if you want to hear your message played back.
Press 3 to delete your message
Press 4 if you would like to re-record your message.
Press 5 for the soothing music of the heavenly choir
Press 6 If you are going to continue praying and would like to access another department.

Sometimes we pray and the only answer we fell we get is the mocking echo of our voices off the walls and ceiling , or deafening silence as we shout our prayers into the void.
We pray and we feel we are not heard let alone that any answer comes.

That somehow God is otherwise occupied, to busy with world affairs to hear our prayers.

He’s left the phone off the hook or we get his voice mail. It can be easy to get despondent and give up.

It’s as if the gates of heaven we’re closed tightly to us and we are left pounding on the on the doors hoping someone will hear us.

But God Jesus says is not like that at all. He tells us a story of an unjust judge who even though he does not fear God or human makes sure a persistent widow receives Justice, as encouragement for us to pray in all circumstances.

God says Jesus is not like the unjust judge, he is quick to answer, He doesn’t fob us off . He hears our prayers and he answers.

God doesn’t have an Electronic Operator, or voice mail nor an answer machine.
God’s open twenty four hours a day, and you don’t need a touch tone phone to get through.
God’s schedule is never to full that he will tell us to go away and come back another day.
God doesn’t have a guard dog secretary to keep people away. But rather ‘God will see his chosen Get Justice quickly’ (Luke 18)

It is not often that a widow, in Jesus day, totally dependent on either their male children or the charity of others, is the hero of the story. But here Jesus offers her as the model for faith. She is persistent never giving up, willing to hold on and hope and have faith that her call for justice will be answered.   That heavens doors are not closed that God is not distant and disinterested, rather God loves us and hears our prayer and answers.

This is the faith that Jesus is looking for that he hopes to find when he comes again…

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