Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Commentary: Ripples on the water



By Jerry Wolgemuth, Director or Communications

Several years ago I spoke for worship at a local church. I needed to illustrate the impact of a certain life-altering phone call I had received. So I delivered the line, “And then the phone rang,” followed by a dramatic pause. As soon as I paused I noticed several people look at each other in shock and begin to laugh. I continued with my presentation, but in the back of my mind was this frantic search for what I needed to cover with some kind of retraction. I could think of nothing. So I concluded my talk with this horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach about my delivery.

As I greeted the worshipers leaving the sanctuary, a woman came to me apologetically and asked, “Do you know what we were laughing about this morning?” I said I didn’t, so she explained. “A split second after you said, ‘And then the phone rang,’ the phone in the open office beside the sanctuary began to ring!”

I was relieved that I hadn’t committed some gargantuan blunder.

I remember when I was producing multi-image programs for my church and the ministerial association of my home town. For Easter I produced a program with a resurrection theme - “A Promise in Fowler Woods.” Fowler Woods was a nature preserve nearby. I recorded the narration in the back of the woods on my property to capture the outdoor ambient sound. Part of the narration was, “A bird calls, and the day begins in Fowler Woods.” Those were the days of quarter-inch audiotape, so my plan was to get out the splicing tape and insert a pre-recorded bird call into the space after the words “a bird calls.” In preparation for the edit I listened to my audio track. To my astonishment I discovered, perfectly timed at a perfect audio level, the beautiful call of some kind of bird in my woods on Rome South Road.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, ‘I’ve never seen the waters part like Moses did, but I’ve sure seen plenty of ripples on the water!’ When I was a young guy, full of vinegar, I could talk myself out of those “coincidences” rather quickly. I’m older; I can’t do that anymore. God is an omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent God who is not beyond revealing the mystery of a personal presence in a bird call or a phone ring.

Glad we could get together.

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