Wednesday, June 23, 2010

For whom the bell tolls......

Our little carpenter gothic church includes a church bell and a cross at the top. Perhaps I could think of the bell as a single bell carillon, but that might be a bit grandiose in thinking and misleading.

Every church service, the bell rings out to call her people to worship. Perhaps years back, it was a clock for the people, to let them know to come to church, but in these days where people mostly drive to church, it symbolizes to get ready for church, as most are in the pews preparing for worship.

Over the years, it is interesting how the tone of the bell has take on the mood of the type of service in my ears. For weddings, the bell takes on a joyous mood of celebration as the bell ringer (or toller) pulls the rope which is attached to the wheel connected to the bell. For Holy Week, the bell takes on a more somber tone, as we journey through the week  experiencing the story of Christ's triumphant journey through Jerusalem, Last Supper, and crucifixion.

It rings as our loved ones pass through this life into the Church triumphant. For some, the bell will be signal an ending before a funeral. But we know that the ending is just a beginning for those that leave us as we celebrate and mourn.

Our bell calls us for our service to be a part of God's people. It calls us to be a part of community of believers, to worship together for about an hour of our time in the week. And, once our worship ends, we go through those doors, prepared for when our real service begins in the world.

For John Donne, Anglican priest, preacher and poet wrote "for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee1".  And the "thee" is me, you, and the ones we are called to bring into our fold.

When you hear the church bell, what do you hear and what does it mean to you?

1 John Donne, Mediation XVII, No Man Is An Island

1 comment:

Beth Mithen said...

Such a wonderful posting. I really have not given much thought to that bell before. I will now always hear it through new ears.