In person

A few years ago we refinanced our mortgage. A few months later, we got a notice from the county that our property taxes hadn’t been paid. Now the mortgage company is supposed to pay the tax out of an escrow account we pay into every month. This had been working fine for the previous four years, but since we had refinanced, I figured things just got out of sync.

So I called the 800 number for the mortgage company. Do you think I got a person?

No. I got a voicemail menu, but none of the choices matched the problem I had. I kept pressings buttons until I got a person. He said I needed the “mortgage service line,” and gave me that 800 number in case I got disconnected when he transferred me. 

When I was disconnected, I called the mortgage service number. Do you think I got a person? Not at first. But when I finally did, she said she could see the problem, but she couldn’t help me. I needed to talk to the tax department and she would connect me.

You know where this is headed.

When I got to the tax person, she said yes, the tax wasn’t paid, but it wasn’t their fault. The problem was the company which handled the closing when we refinanced the note. So she gave me their number.

You know I could go on.

We’re still in the house. 

There are many organizations downtown that offer help to hurting people, but nearly every one of them sends you to voicemail first. If you’re homeless, living on the edge, it can be endlessly frustrating and discouraging.

Sometimes, when hurting people come to the church, all they want is to connect to a real person.

Jesus knew he was about to be betrayed, so he was telling the disciples what they most needed to hear: “If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well.  From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” (John 14)

Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”

Jesus said, “Don’t you know me, Philip? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? I am in the Father, and the Father is in me.”

Don’t you see, Philip? I’m offering you a personal relationship with the living God! 

I’m not a helper along the way in life, I am the way.

I’m not a source of truth; I am the truth.  

I’m not a guide to better living, I am life.

It seems to me that the great hidden tragedy of the pandemic is the untold suffering of people denied human contact in the interest of keeping them safe.

Jesus could have saved himself a lot of trouble by beaming faith into our brains.

He could have waited a couple millennia and made robocalls.

Instead he came in person.

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