Hello? Yes, this is Mr. Schmidt. Fine, thank you. No, and don’t even start in on me. I’m not interested in changing my long distance carrier or giving to the Sheriff’s Benevolent Whatever. And it’s not that I don’t care about needy children, either. It’s just that…
What did you say? I didn’t catch that. You’re cracking up on me. Where are you calling from? Where? Who is this? Who? Oh sure! And I’m Moses! Look, I’m not in the mood for a crank phone call. Moreover, I don’t appreciate having my dinner interrupted, and…
What? Do you expect me to take you seriously? Since when did you start calling people on the phone? Don’t you usually communicate through burning bushes, voices in the middle of the night, blinding lights by the side of the road, and that sort of thing? No, it’s not that you can’t use the phone. If you’re who you say you are, you can communicate however you like. I mean, everything belongs to you. The whole universe was all created through you, so you own it all, don’t you? Verizon and T-Mobile and Sprint, the whole shebang. Right? If you’re who you say you are.
I tell you what. Let me give you a test. There’s a little enigma that has confounded me but should be a piece of cake for you: What happens to the bread and wine on the altar when the priest prays over it? You said, “This is my body; this is my blood.” You said it, so I believe it, but your followers have argued for centuries about what you meant, and it baffles me. So explain it to me…
Wow! That’s ‘s an impressive explanation! You seem to know what you’re talking about. So I guess you must be who you say you are---Lord! Good God! I mean that, uh, literally, not just as a figure of speech---Good God, gracious Lord, precious Jesus! Uh, Sir! Listen, I apologize for not believing you at first. It’s just that, well, you never phoned before, and I guess I thought you wouldn’t need a telephone in heaven. Is that where you’re calling from?
I see. So what can I do for you? Oh! That’s thrilling! So you’ll be coming to Alabama! Please allow me to handle your accommodations. You might enjoy the Hampton Inn in lovely downtown Fairhope---you should see the Christmas lights on the trees! Or we could put you up at the Grand Hotel at Point Clear---very elegant. That’s the premier hotel in our area. Don’t worry about the expense. I’m sure lots of people would consider it a privilege to pick up your tab. Or you might prefer a place in Mobile, maybe near the airport? That would make it convenient when you’re ready to, uh---ascend, if you get my drift.
I have the perfect idea! Why don’t you stay at our church? It’s your house, after all. We built it for you and we feel so close to you when we’re there. Would you like us to bring in a king-size bed---King of kings size? Anything you want! We’ll provide for your every desire, every amenity. Your stay with us will be the very definition of elegance and good taste. With all the holiday merrymaking, we’ll be in a festive mood, dressed in our best, and we’ll bring out our finest silver and linen for you. And our wassail punch! The church is already decorated for your coming, anyway---you’ll love the greenery and the poinsettias and the festive tree. In fact, we’ve been having parties and shopping at the Wal-Mart and getting ready for your arrival all during Advent. You’ll feel right at home with us!
What’s that? Oh, no, Lord! That won’t do, not at all. Even with lots of padding, you wouldn’t sleep well under an Interstate bridge. It would be noisy and chilly. You can’t be sure of your safety down there---those people are mostly drunks or into drugs or something. They’re losers. And most of them wouldn’t know how to behave in the presence of royalty. It wouldn’t be appropriate. People wouldn’t understand. We won’t hear of it.
Hello? Jesus? Are you still there? Am I still connected to you?
The author is a retired priest living in Fairhope.