I was sad to hear of the passing of a longtime member from the community church where I have recently been attending. Sweet determined woman the one time I met her. I remember her NOT wanting to use the elevator but climb the stairs herself. She did! Thank you for prayers for her family.
There are 2 or 3 ladies who are similarly named, all seasoned seniors, and many church folks have to double check which person we are speaking of. Me too. So, God got a WHOLE conviction writing out of me before I had the sense to double check. So, what I wrote below, yesterday morning, is pure emotion and Jesus giving pure GRACE and second chances. I wrote out a conviction thinking this passing was of a woman who I once met as the bell-ringer, but it was not her. But I won’t change the writing except to just call the bell-ringer “Bell”. The conviction of me is paired with relief of guilt, thanks Lord, GRACE is not issuing condemnation – that IS the WAY of the Lord. Jesus, thank You for both!
Here is the premature writing as this as “Bell” did not pass, but I thought she did. The conviction is still the same. The GRACE is never different. God gives grace and reminders.
“Bell” always appears to be a sweet woman and I only met her maybe three times maybe only twice. I knew and know EVERYONE loves her.
It really was an excitement of re-opening the warm church after a summer of services outside in the park, it was a very good place to be worshiping the Lord, together. The first time I got to meet Bell, she rode the elevator and then was being escorted by Greeter D to go ring the church bell – PROMPTLY at 10:03am. What a perfect way to ring out that the church was OPEN and the HOLY SPIRIT inside was ALIVE wanting to be shared OUTSIDE. Isn’t hearing the bell awesome? Isn’t that the great commission in mini-miniature? GO TELL – GO ring out praises – for the Lord is GOOD and His LOVE endures forever. Ring out the truth for if they can hear the bell, they know something is going on. If they can hear the Word, they have an opportunity to hear from the Lord directly, to hear Jesus Himself say: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” If Jesus told Nicodemus that, the Great teacher to another, we need to tell it too, one saved sinner to another.
The church bell – Greeter D explained to me that Bell was an expert and she certainly was strong enough, for sure. Bell rang the bell PERFECTLY. I mean really perfectly and made it look SO EASY. I watched in EAGER anticipation because I was slated to be the church Greeter the following week and WOW I pretty much bubbled over in excitement all week. I kept checking in with the Lord because I KNEW that I should not be SO excited over earthly things and SO greedy to want to ring it. Yes I KNEW this of myself and yet I just couldn’t wait! I also knew in the Word of the advice of Jesus written down by James: we need to ask if it’s the Lord’s Will not ours. We church servants need to check our will at the door and humbly pick up His Service as easily or as hard as picking up the rope to ring the bell. Yes, as servants IN a church service- in any church job – we are to serve humbly for HIM rather than us.
Well, the church bell, I DID get to ring it EXCITEDLY and I did TERRIBLY TERRIBLE. Yes I had the enthusiasm but I lacked and still lack technique. I tried again another week and I was TERRIBLE again. And I lost count too. The neighbors in earshot surely were trying to count 10 double rings but got like 17 and a half. But truly I rang it excitedly in JOY and I had a little child helper too, to match my child exuberance. We were both excited. Lord, forgive me for my form, but MORE IMPORTANTLY, please forgive me for my greedy sinful pride in wanting so much to be ringing the bell that first time when I KNEW Bell was in the pews. I KNEW I should have asked her but I didn’t. Bell please forgive me.
It is in tears now that I know Bell, as a true follower of Jesus, would have forgiven me on the spot. CRAZY bell ringing or not, I feel and I pray she in her Spirit would have understood the excitement in my Spirit. I simply wanted and want those people OUT THERE, outside the church walls, to know God LOVES them. To know that if a church bell rings, it tugs at their hearts because God tugs at their hearts to soften them if just a little. God rings in our hearts until we HEAR Him
I can say now, that I should and would apologize to Bell, but I did not have the opportunity that day, nor did I see her the next week. I can only ask the Lord for the forgiveness request to be spirited up to Heaven. [REMEMBER THIS IS BEFORE I REALIZED I HAD THEM MIXED UP] Surely, I can hear the Lord’s Comfort to me in what I imagine Bell would say back to me now: ‘Don’t worry about my hands not holding the bell rope because what I am NOW holding in my hands are the actual HANDS OF JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF!!! And what is ringing in my ears now is the comfort of His Voice. What is ringing in my freed soul is His Love. What’s in front of me is ETERNAL LOVE. There are no tears in Heaven. NONE.’
TRUE. And thank you Bell for walking the walk with Jesus. There is no condemnation of us in Jesus. We who walk in the flesh, like me, will try harder to walk in the Spirit. Jesus says, just walk WITH me.
We shed our tears now for many reasons. Remember God collects and saves all our tears. Jesus had tears on earth too. Jesus now has a Home for us in Heaven by His Sacrifice – He came to collect and save us too.
Bell has Jesus. And Jesus has Bell. What more could any of us ask for. JESUS HAS EACH OF US FOREVER, when we call Him Lord, look to Him as our Shephard.
I will pray, Lord willing, to become MORE humble and faithful. And so, until we meet again Bell, I will ring out how faithful Jesus has rescued and redeemed you. Thank you for the tutorial.
Amen and from such tears yesterday, to joy that I pray I may get to watch this Bell once again ring the bell. I can be a student of life, both bell-ringing, and humble walking. Maybe that’s why we slow down with aches and pains as we age, so others can watch us APPRECIATE each step as Jesus walks with us, tells us where to travel, even if slow. Let others catch a glimpse of your Jesus walk…
Let the outside hear the Jesus Bell ring out of us.
Amen again and prayers of peace for the family of the stairs walker servant who did pass away after winding down, slowing her walk, the good faithful servant she was. Thank You Jesus for collecting and saving her.