June 16 Inspiration

From the Desk of Pastor Becky Hart

The Signs of Liberty
One of the great traditions at Liberty is the ringing of the Chapel bell.

In fact, when John got here 14 years ago, he liked the bell so much that he added bell ringing at the close of the service!

Installed in 1902, our bell is the result of a $200 bequest from Miss Mary Carpenter, a descendant of Nathan Carpenter — founding settler of Liberty Township and early member of Liberty Church.

From the sound of the ram’s horn in ancient cultures to the silver trumpets at the temple in Jerusalem, sounding a joyful noise has always been associated with worship.

The story has been passed down that the Bishop of Campania in Italy in the 5th century decreed that bells should be rung to announce the hours of worship. By the 11th century, the very large church bells found in church towers and steeples were an integral part of church design. Ever since then, bells and churches have gone together — like scarlet and gray!

When I sifted through the history of bell ringing, it all came back to one critical truth: a church bell exists to call us to our Lord. In medieval literature the church bell is literally referred to as the voice of God, with the clapper as the tongue of the mouth, calling to us to come and worship, to come and gather together to praise the One who made us. As one church historian notes: “High in the towers, suspended between heaven and earth, bells and especially their clappers, represent communication and suspension between heaven and earth, humans and God.”

Originally, in a time when there were no clocks, the bells were rung to give warning of the time of the service. But even today, with our watches and cell phones, the bell still calls us to worship. It’s not just a time prompt, but also a reminder in a world of secular values that something spiritual, something of God, is about to take place in the midst of the community. The bells are a witness: God is calling us. Here and now. Drop everything else that you are doing — now is the time to worship. With the peal of the bells, a community is reminded that God is here, and for a moment everything else stops and all that matters is that call.

With All Blessings,

P.S. Thank you to everyone who rang Liberty’s bell over the years, including: the late Jack Harrison, the Buchers, Brad Carleton, Carlos Lima, Kristopher Steel, and the Willets.