It happened on June 25, 1876. Among the 22,742 exhibits at the World’s Fair in Philadelphia, an unknown inventor named Alexander Graham Bell featured his new contraption called the telephone to be judged as an entrant for Electrical Awards. Root beer was also introduced in that exhibition. An unusual judge for the contest was significant in embracing the device that would change the world. President Grant had invited Pedro II, Emperor of Brazil, to be his distinguished guest and then to judge the electrical categories. The extremely hot weather frustrated the various judges who wanted to end discussion, but Pedro insisted that they examine Bell’s exhibit. After all, he just happened to have met Bell two weeks earlier in Boston.
When Pedro put the inventor’s “telephone receiver” to his ear, Bell spoke to him through a mouthpiece at a distance. With amazement, the Emperor declared, “This thing speaks.” Needless to say, Alexander won the contest. The New York Herald called it, “Almost supernatural.”
Alexander had been experimenting with ways to help the deaf and then began to wonder whether electric currents could simulate sound waves and transmit voices. He had envisioned a day when telegraph wires would interconnect homes and people around the world. Doing his many experiments, he had recently spilled battery acid on himself. But the gain was worth the pain.
This story reminds me of the old Christian farmer who countered an atheist’s criticism, “I don’t know how, but this Book speaks to me.” We have the wonderful privilege of daily experiencing God’s miracle of revelation, inspiration, illumination and preservation as we read and listen to His Word. It will be our great privilege to teach our children in the largest attendance ever of Vacation Bible School; God’s Word is more relevant than any telephone. Just as the Lord used a seemingly chance encounter between Pedro and Alex, the Lord will bless invitations for children and families to be introduced to the Gospel and to our church. The Good Shepherd will call out to His little lambs. May we all “have ears to hear.”
We will probably have some bumps on the road pointing people to The Way. Many challenges can be met by choices of service, so please volunteer to help in VBS.
As we are now in our new summer Worship home in the Chapel and the Commons, we will not let the changed environment disconnect us from hearing the Lord and sharing with His people. Though relocations can be stressful, they have helped our family prioritize possessions and ask hard questions about what really matters. I thank God for the tremendous teamwork which has already been exhibited this week by our staff and the contractors. Considering Memorial Day, we are supremely grateful for those who have paid the price for our freedom to gather for worship.