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Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

"What Church Bells Say"

October 13, 2005

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Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker. Psalm 95:6

In this writer's boyhood in rural Nebraska it was customary to ring the church bell when a member died. The number of strokes would then give the person's age. On the day of the interment the bell was solemnly tolled as the horse-drawn hearse approached the church. The appropriate words of poet John Donne are often quoted, "Never send to ask for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee."

At other times church bells announce glad tidings. Henry W. Longfellow states this in the song "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day." He said this about the belfries of Christendom as if to say to unbelievers: "Then pealed the bells more loud and deep: God is not dead, nor doth He sleep; The wrong shall fail, the right prevail, With peace on earth; good will to men." The poet does not expressly say so, but the hoped-for-peace--the peace with God--comes only to those who believe that "God made Him [Christ] who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God" (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Church bells invite us to come to the house of God and to worship Him there. They recite, as it were, the words of the Psalter: "Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker; for He is our God and we are the people of His pasture, the flock under His care" (Psalm 95:6-7). Again: "Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise" (Psalm 100:4). When we carry out what the church bells invite us to do, we will receive the blessings of God in rich measure. Then the hymn verse will come to us on our homeward way: "From Your house when I return, May my heart within me burn, And at evening let me say, 'I have walked with God today.'"

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, I am glad that I can attend Your house so that I may walk with You and learn from You. Amen.

(Devotions from "With Jesus Every Day" copyright 1997, CPH. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be printed, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of Concordia Publishing House. Permission is granted for one-time emailing of this link to a friend. For information on other devotional material, please contact CPH at 800-325-3040 or visit CPH at

Today's Bible Readings: Micah 6-7    Acts 22

Change Their World. Change Yours. This changes everything.

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