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“This is the new covenant I will make with my people on that day, says the LORD: I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.” (Hebrews 10:16)

Over a century ago on January 25, 1915, Alexander Graham Bell spoke on a telephone call from New York City to his former assistant Thomas Watson in San Francisco. Bell echoed those now famous words, “Mr. Watson, come here I need you” which he had similarly first stated in 1876  – now hearing each other with much greater clarity than nearly four decades before.  This time, however, rather than running into Bell’s room saying he could understand the message, Watson replied – “It would take me a week to get to you this time.” It was the first public demonstration of a transcontinental phone call for AT&T who had purchased Bell’s company in 1899 and constructed the lines for initiating the new service. The long-distance call of 3400 miles was being celebrated at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition. Then President Woodrow Wilson, who witnessed the call, remarked: “It appeals to the imagination to speak across the continent.”

Less than half a century later, phone calls were being made across the world. John F. Kennedy became the first U.S. president to have a direct phone line to the Kremlin in Moscow established on August 30, 1963. The “hotline” was designed to facilitate communication between the President and Soviet Premier. The establishment of the direct line came in the wake of the October 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis in which the U.S. and U.S.S.R had come dangerously close to all-out nuclear war. The technology utilized was considered revolutionary, being much more reliable and less prone to interception than a regular trans-Atlantic phone call which had to be bounced between several countries before reaching the Kremlin. Although a far cry from the instantaneous communication made possible by today’s cell phones and email, it was the first direct linkage of its kind. No call waiting, no busy signals, no answering machines – just an instant hook up designed to avert threat and prevent miscommunication.

While talking by telephone across a vast stretch of geography was possible, the early days of the telephone could be limiting. Throughout much of the 1900’s, it was not uncommon for many customers to have a ‘party line’ – a local telephone loop shared by more than one customer. There was no privacy on a party line. If you were talking with a friend, anyone on your party line could pick up their telephone and listen to the intimate details of your conversation. If someone on your party line was using their phone, no one else could make a call.  I have often wondered if God doesn’t feel like He is listening on one big party line with all of us trying to talk to Him at once. Thankfully His ability to ‘listen in’ defies all mortal explanation, somehow providing a private line and individual access for each believer. In Jesus time, there was a veil in the inner sanctuary of the temple that separated man from God, who resided in the Holy of Holies. Only priests could go behind that veil once a year. The Bible says that when Jesus died on the cross – God ripped that veil from top to bottom, symbolizing that there was no longer a barrier, thereby opening a more direct line of communication (Matthew 27:51; Mark 15:38).

Through His sacrificial death, Jesus established a new covenant allowing us to inherit a permanent, unbroken relationship with God. Paul said: “He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household …” (Ephesians 2:17-19). Under this new covenant, our bodies are a temple for God’s Holy Spirit who lives in us. We have immediate contact, anywhere at any time. When we feel like God is far away and wonder if our prayers are being heard, we must remember that He is not dwelling in some distant place. Author Wesley L. Duewel wrote: “God waits for you to communicate with Him. You have instant, direct access to God. God loves mankind so much, and in a very special sense His children, that He has made Himself available to you at all times.”  So as we journey with the Lord, we will never need to say, “Lord, come here, I need you.” We have a direct line . . . He’s already there.

REFLECTION: How do you take full advantage of your unrestricted access to God? How might we use our direct line to examine our communication through self-expression, body language and social media?


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