I have fond memories of my home town and in particular of the Sunday morning bells as they tolled from the Anglican church and its very separate bell tower (photo on right above). The bells were also chimed at 9pm each evening – once upon a time this chime would signal the closing of the towns gates! Although I did not attend the Anglican church, choosing instead the family tradition of being Presbyterian. The two churches were as you might imagine, next to one another! The Presbyterians had a bell tower but only one bell which was pealed for fifteen minutes before the beginning of worship, but its sound was drowned out by the melodic peal of the its neighbor. However as a teenager, being asked occasionally to ring the bell, I gave it my best in competition with the Anglicans! I never really was into “campanology! My memory of those bells is captured well in the following you tube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-0Z1l0BABa8
If Sunday morning was a show stopper for the Anglicans then Sunday afternoon was left to the ice cream van as it toured our neighborhood bringing children running from all corners to enjoy its treats! Luci Shaw, now in her 94th year has published some 14 volumes of poetry and I share one with you today. Enjoy her words and enjoy the holy dance of life as best you can.
Dancing in the Cathedral
The bell-ringers rise and
fall with the weight of their bells,
holding on for dear life to the pulls,
the ropes rough in their hands,
the young ones lifted up, up
from the belfry floor like
adolescent angels treading air,
as if so caught up in those
peals of sound–each of them in turn
answering the plea of ponderous metal–
they feel like feathers in a wind.
Consecrated, cassocked, gathered
for this task of intricate rhythm-ing,
they learn to weave their way through
the ring-patterns like pigeons to
the dovecote over the cadences
of distance. Even a mile away we
ourselves sway like bells, snared
by the tolling, its cords of holy dance. Luci Shaw
the bells ring out
calling us to worship.
Their sound strikes a chord
in our soul.
Their sound wakens us to
the majesty and mystery of another day.
Help us today to hear the sound of the Divine,
in the song of the bird, in the rustle of the trees,
the waves of the sea, and the rain upon our windows.
Open our ears to the baby’s cry, the cat’s meow
the dog’s bark and the horse’s nay.
Open our ears to the story being told by grandparent
and by grandchild, words which dance together in harmony.
Open our ears to the silence of the stars, the silence of
the rushing movement of the clouds, the silence of
the waxing and waning of the sun.
In sound and in silence we worship you
O Lord. Amen.