When I was a child, my mother and aunt would go Christmas shopping together. At the end of the day, I would beg them to take me to the park near the shopping district. There, nestled in a dark grove of trees, we’d find a life-size nativity, carefully illumined with spotlights from within the stable.
After meeting Jesus, an excited Philip seeks out Nathanael to tell him they have found the one “about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.” But Nathanael’s response is not very promising. “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” he responds skeptically.
I don’t carry a beeper or a cell phone. The services of professional biblical scholars rarely require that level of immediate access. No emergency calls to interpret an obscure passage. No rushing to the scene of a textual corruption. Yet it could happen. We are rapidly becoming a society “on call.” Technology provides us with a constant flow of information.
I was watching a PBS series on the Book of Genesis with a dozen older women at a retirement home. The segment dealt with Abram, and how he responded promptly when the Lord said to him, "Go." We listened as Lewis Smedes wondered aloud whether a tape recorder would have picked up a real "voice" of the Lord back then.
Support the Christian Century
The Century's work relies primarily on subscriptions and donations. Thank you for supporting nonprofit journalism.