When someone has an appointment with me, I meet them in the parlor at the church instead of my office, so I can't hear the phone ring. When someone comes into my office unscheduled, which is often and which is wonderful, when the phone rings I ignore it. The telephone is not allowed to interrupt people's time with me or mine with them.
So what's with the perpetual presence of the phone in the ear? Some of my fellow clergy, and I'm sorry if some of you are reading this but not sorry about what I'm about to write, some of my fellow clergy are never without that tiny phone hanging from their ear. The mere presence of it tells me that while having a conversation with them, I could be interrupted at any time in mid sentence by the much more important call coming into their ear.
Why is that call so much more important than the person in front of us?
I'm out of touch, I know. And I don't care if I'm marching to a different drummer. If you are talking with me, you will have my full attention, to the best of my ability to give it to you. If you are phoning me while I'm in the middle of having a conversation with someone who is in front of me, it is true that you will have to wait. In this day of instantaneous response, and lack of ability to delay gratification, this sounds harsh. When I do not answer the phone, then, imagine you are the person in front of me.
And may the Peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in the love of God and of the Child of God, Jesus Christ, our Lord.