When I was growing up in Columbus, Georgia, we didn’t have air conditioning, and neither did most of our neighbors. Moms could hear their kids playing in the neighborhood yards, without having to keep an eye on them constantly. And if someone needed correction, mothers could yell out the window, “Stop pulling your sister’s hair!” or other words of encouragement like that.
When I got older and got a bike, I was allowed to go down the street and eventually around the block to my friends’ houses. But, about 5:30 or 6 PM each night, my Dad would step out on either the front porch or back porch, depending on which way they had seen me go last, and call me to dinner.
Some of the parents on our street had special ways to call their kids home. One father had a ear-piercing whistle, my friend’s mother had a bell she rang, but mostly parents just yelled for their kids.
So, between 5 and 6 PM each night, the same ritual occurred on our block — kids got called home for supper. My Dad would usually just step out on the front porch and yell, “Chuck — supper!” My job, as an 11-year old boy, was not to go so far from home that I couldn’t hear my father call.
Maybe that’s still our job today, as followers of God — not to go so far from home that we can’t hear our Father call.