Clear As a Bell
When Christian lands fell to Muslim armies, the believers in Christ were not all killed, but they did become second-class citizens called dhimmis. They were allowed to gather in their churches but were forbidden to ring their bells, so powerful was the influence of that ringing perceived by the new masters. Still today church bells call the faithful to worship and announce the passage of time. I hope you can hear some wherever you may live.
If you would climb up to the bell tower of my church, you would find three bells. Those many hundreds of pounds of solid bronze send a beautiful musical message before every worship service. In raised letters on the middle-sized bell is the legend, “O land, land, land, hear the word of the Lord!” (Jeremiah 22:29). That bell announces to our community that it is of first importance that you listen to what God says so that he can tell you what he has done.
The music of church bells makes some important promises: here you will find a community of people washed in the cleansing of Holy Baptism, nourished by the Word of God, and strengthened by the sacred Supper. Here is a safe place to bring your brokenness and needs; here is a training school to help you develop your talents and gifts.
Bells, ring your invitation: “Come and be blessed. Go and serve.”