Would you like a burp with that hiccup?

Looking at the alarm clock by my bedside, it clearly read 2:37 a.m. The loud buzzing sound was not in my head after all. Who in the world could be calling me at this hour of the night?

I grumbled to myself, sat straight up in bed and gasped. An emergency! Someone’s in the hospital! Someone has died!

All kinds of such thoughts danced through my sluggish brain as I reached for the telephone.

Pastors are on call 24/7 and never know when an emergency will summon to duty. It may be in the middle of the day, or in this case, in the middle of the night.

Many telephone calls I’m not so anxious to get.

Mr. Alexander Graham Bell has a lot of answering to do for this contraption of his.

Among telephone calls I’m not too thrilled about are those infernal automatic political calls advising me to vote for some candidate – them in particular. Like most politicians, these calls never give me an opportunity to answer them.

They unleash their spiel and then hang up, probably to go to the next phone number.

What I want to know is, why don’t these aspiring politicians ever call me when they’re not running for some office? Why don’t they call me on my birthday and sing happy birthday to me?

Why don’t they give me their home phone number so I can call them and give them a piece of my mind?

I would like to get my hands on the person who taught these politicians how to dial phone numbers.

Another category of phone calls I am not too enthralled with are telemarketers. I have a difficult time hanging up on people. As long as they want to talk I don’t have the heart to hang up on them.

I know they are just people doing their job. I know much of what is sold via the telephone is excellent and useful, but I do not like anyone telling me what I should be buying, especially when I have just put on the feedbag.

The only thing I have been able to do is take the conversation in hand from the very beginning. As soon as the person on the other end of the phone begins talking, I start engaging them in chitchat.

I ask about their family, about the kind of day they are having and what they plan to do on the weekend. I ask for their home phone number so I can call them back.

It has become a sport for me and I am anxious for the next phone call to come so I can tell them about my day and my plans for the weekend. After all, they called me, it is my turf.

This telephone call at 2:37 a.m. was not from a politician or a telemarketer.

When I answered the telephone, I heard a raspy voice on the other end say, “Is the reverend home? I need to ask him a question ‘bout the Bible.”

By this time, every fiber of my being stood at attention, ready to serve. Someone needed me, which was all I had to know to fly full-speed into action.

“Yes, this is the reverend” I responded, “how may I help you?”

“I have a biblical question for ‘ya, and I need to know right away. It’s something that has been a-bothering me and I was a-wondering if you could help me?”

“Sure,” I said, trying to figure out what the emergency could possibly be at 2:37 in the morning. What could be so important that a person could not wait a few more hours to call?

To read the entire “Out to Pastor” column, see the March 23 edition of The Central Virginian.

Recommended for you