I hear church bells ringing from a distance.
(Click here to check if you hear the bells, too)
This is connected in some way to the social distancing that has been our way of life for over a month. So as we see the restrictions of the pandemic subsiding we are looking forward to the day when we can practice our faith openly and freely without fear. It is possible to recognize God’s providence in having this happen at Easter Time when Christ comes to us and removes all fear.
Idea for naming this series of articles came to me when I was standing in an empty church building and the bells in the tower starred to peal. The bells are still ringing at their regular times and at the beginning of Sunday Mass. As you drive by the church during these days and are greeted with the sound of bells take that way in which God is promising us that the call of the bells willo be hard again and that he expects a response to his call to gather together.
So let’s take a few moments to reflect on the role of bells in our faith life.
Bells are not limited to church use. Our nation has a Liberty Bell calling our people together and uniting them with a single purpose which is included in its name, i.e. freedom. So to name our bells Church Bells indicates their purpose in calling us to be Church, assembled in Christ’s name for the worship of the one God and the holiness of men and women, old and young, whose hearts are set on the Father of Jesus. So by knowing the location of the ringing bells we know that they are a call from God himself to make us Church. So the ringing of our church bells puts us into action to journey to the gathering place but also to prepare our hearts to live up to our calling.
We would not need church bells if it were God’s plan that we worship him solely by ourselves individually. In there were no church community we would not need bells. Awe would worship whenever we felt like it. This was a danger during the height of the pandemic when we turned to virtual prayer, even to picking and choosing what prayer we wanted and at what time we wanted. Gathering at the sound of the bell makes us join others in worship and the extension of that is, when assembled, we have to follow the order of service of the group.
Lastly today, the church bells are a sign and promoter of joy. Even the tolling at funerals reveals the joy of God’s promise of eternal life and the joy of coming together to show our love of God and neighbor. Church bells are a sign of the body of Christ and our communion with him. What a joy it is to share in that gift of God.
So in the future days I will offer some more specific resolutions to come back to church with faith and love renewed.
Listen for the bells. The sound is coming closer.