Ring Them Bells.

I was in Liverpool last weekend. I attended a church service in Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral at eleven o clock.  There were four bells swinging in the tower. They rang out their chimes over the city for all to hear.  After the service the bells peeled again as the people returned to their different homes over the city.  We were together for a special occasion.

The church bells were ringing as we made our way up the steps. I could see four bells of different sizes in the tower above the entrance. I stood for a while and looked up. I could see the clapper of the bell hitting one side and then the other, causing the bell to ring. All four bells were ringing and making a sound that stirred joy in me. I felt part of something special going on.

Clapper in the dictionary means someone or thing that claps. Don’t we clap to show appreciation or encouragement? The bells were encouraging us to come to meet together for prayer. Bells are rung at other times. They may ring for a special service, a wedding or a funeral and make different tones for each event.

I hear the words of a song going through my mind. It was sang by Judy Garland. You can check it out on U Tube.

Ding dong ding dong
Do you hear the bells go ding dong
Do you know
Do you know why they’re ringing
The bells are ringing for me and my gal,
The birds are singing for me and my gal,
They’re congregating for me and my gal,
The Parson’s waiting for me and my gal.
And sometime
We’re gonna build a little home for two,
Or three or four or more,
In Love-land for me and my gal

Bells rang out over London when Prince William and Kate got married.

I listen to the radio when I am driving in my car. I often hear snippets of information that are important. This week after my trip to Liverpool I listened to a programme about Russiian bells on BBC 4.

The sound of bells are very dear to the Russian Orthodox believers. Russian Composers in the twentieth century were inspired by the sound of bells ringing. The Russian bells are rang in a different way from those in the west. A cord is attached to the clapper. The bell ringer pulls on the clapper lightly and let’s it hit againt the wall of the bell. Not only did the people believe the bells ringing were a call to pray but they felt the bells sounded like the voice of God.

The Orthodox bells fell silent in 1931 when Stalin started his regime of Communism in Russia. Bells were cut down from towers, smashed and broken. The metal was used to make bullets for the Russian army. Not only were the bells broken. The people’s hearts were broken. They sensed the voice of God was silenced. The people mourned for many years.

Some large bells were rescued and brought to America where they were placed in Harvard university. In 1991 when communism fell some men in America arranged for the return of the bells to Russia. One man spent ten million dollars to help with the restoration work. People were crying in the streets on the return of the bells. They looked forward to hearing the bells ringing again. Someone commentated that it is the only lasting co operation between Russian and America.

Because of the communism regime the knowledge of how to make the bells was almost forgotten. After communism bells were again made and returned to Church towers to ring again.

The sound of the bell is likened to the sound of the trumpet or shofar in Israel. God commanded the people of Isreal to sound the trumpet for different events. One sound was given to move camp. Another sound was made to go to war. And another was a weapon of war. God moved on behalf of the people when the shofar was blown. He struck their enemies down when they sounded the trumpet. They walked round Jerico seven days and on the last day they blew the trumpets and the walls of Jerico fell down. Likewise the people of Russia believe God was with them when the bells were rung.

I discovered a bell outside my back door. I will ring it often. May God come to our aid when I ring it. May bells of joy ring throughout our land again.

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Sixteen Graduations in One Family

Brendan and I set off for Scotland from Belfast City Airport on Thurday. We arrived on good time for our Flybe flight. I was looking forward to spending the afternoon with our son who was picking us up from the Glasgow airport.

We checked our flight on the screen. It was rescheduled for a hour later. That was fine. We relaxed in the lounge. Our flight was called but we were told to wait in the lounge. Time passed. We missed our flight! A big shock! Brendan comforted me but I was shaken. An attendant arranged for us to get the next flight at six thirty without any further expense. That eased the pain. We missed seeing our son. More waiting.

Today, Friday, 7/7/17, our daughter Angela graduated from Edinburgh university. We were with her to see her receive her award along with over a hundred other students. It was a colourful and jubilant occasion.

Angela is the last of our fourteen children. All sixteen of us have received a degree from university. It is forty five years since I graduated from university. Today’s celebration was worth the waiting.

I have lived to see all my children graduate after having cancer in 2010. God is good. He is faithful to keep his promise that he will bless my children. Exodus 20. Brendan was at each birth of our children and at each graduation. That must be a record. He is a great husband, dad and grand dad.

God and his angels rejoice when we were born on the earth. God and his angels are rejoicing over us today.

When God gives a promise nothing can stop it coming about. Our own mistakes, difficulties, even missing a flight will not stop what God plans to bring about.

What Happened When My Second Son Left Home to go to Canada

It is a month now since a second son left home to work in Canada.
Isaac, my twelfth child and seventh son, graduated from University of Ulster with a degree in Public Relations.  The twelfth child to get a university degree in our family.
He worked hard and was diligent in his studies.
His graduation ceremony was in the morning and he started his journey to Vancouver that night.
Isaac desired to go to Canada again but he was not sure when to leave.
He had secured the important two year visa.
He had been given a token for 500 dollars towards a flight to Canada after he helped an unruly passenger on his last trip.
He looked at flight prices at the end of June.
After the third of July the prices to Canada went up.
He was able to book a flight on the third of July, the day of his graduation, and the price was covered by the token.
We had a great day celebrating with family but all too soon he was away.
I returned home that evening with the celebration balloons, which are a bit deflated now.
A bit like the way my heart was feeling.
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Over the next few days I was very tearful when I remembered Isaac.
The car mats were all that was left of his car.
His football gear was left in his room.
Would he wear the Downpatrick shirt again?
The towels on the floor of the bathroom and the empty bottle of aftershave were other memories.
Isaac had lived at home for the past year and was a great support to my husband and I.
Isaac means laughter.  He brought joy and comfort to us.  He helped us both with IT skills.
He helped with the house move.  He got on well with other family members.
He helped keep the home fires burning over the winter.
He helped kept our home warm as well as our hearts.
After Isaac left we both were a bit down.
We both suffer silently our pain of two sons leaving home to work in Canada within a month of each other.

In Genesis 3 v 16

Because of disobedience, God said to Eve, “I will greatly increase thy labour pain and thy child bearing.  And in pain will you bring forth sons.”

I believe this scripture means one will have pain not only in having children but also in rearing children.  Hence the heartache of separation after rearing children.
My husband spent some time making a photo album of the graduation day.
We remembered Isaac as we looked at the photos.
God comforted our hearts and the pain has gone.
It is now their time to make their way in live.  Like the young birds they have to leave the nest.
It is the way of life.  We lay down our lives as parents to give life to our children.
I know God has good plans for Isaac.
I am proud of him.
He will prosper whatever he puts his hand to.

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. (‭Jeremiah‬ ‭29‬:‭11-13‬ NLT)