“I Call the Living - I Mourn the Dead - I Break the Lightning”*
by John M. Joyce (January 2013)
“How soft the music of those village bells,
Falling at interval upon the ear
In cadence sweet; now dying all away,
Now pealing loud again, and louder still,
Clear and sonorous, as the gale comes on!
With easy force it opens all the cells Where Memory slept.”
'The Task' (Book VI, Line 6 onwards).
One would think that I, as a Church of England priest, would be able to say the words of the Mass without having recourse to my missal, but memory is a strange thing and despite having said the words every day for more years than I care to remember I, in common with every priest that I know, would not care to celebrate without the book reposing on the missal stand on one side of the altar, for the very familiarity that one has with the words sometimes encourages one to stray off in one's thoughts to some prayer that they have prompted, unbidden, into one's mind. I must confess that my mind wandered in just such a fashion at the midnight Eucharist on Christmas Eve a year ago, in 2011.
The gleam of my church's simple and lovely thirteenth century silver-gilt flagon, chalice, paten and ciborium1 (a matching set made sometime in the latter half of that century by the Norwich goldsmith John de Attleburgh) sparkling in the candlelight almost hypnotised me and as I elevated the Host after speaking the Words of Institution2 I saw, out of the corner of my eye, the flame of the tall Sanctus candle flicker into life and I heard the service bell toll3 and suddenly I was unaware that I was standing at the altar with the Host raised above my head, for in my mind I heard the Bishop's voice as he consecrated our re-cast ninth bell just a few weeks before on Saint Nicholas' day4.
"May this signal, Lord, be sanctified and consecrated in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost", he intoned, "May it ring out over this village and parish and its homes, its fields and its waters to Your glory and to the edification of Your faithful."
Just the glimmer of the altar-ware and the tolling of the service bell was sufficient to put me in mind of a different consecration from that in which I was engaged and to remind me that our Steeple Keeper, Ardon Turry, was far away in Australia on a mission of mercy to donate a kidney to his very ill son. I offered up a prayer for both of them then realised where I was. I don't know how long I'd stood with the Host elevated; probably not long, but long enough to fluster me and to put the words that I should have spoken next completely out of my mind. However, G-d rescued his servant and as I stood with the Host held high I uttered the first words that came to me: "Behold the Lamb of God. Behold Him who takes away the sins of the world"5. This gave me time to glance at my missal and to collect my thoughts and finish the Words of Consecration, elevate the chalice, finish the entire prayer and move on to the doxology.
I remember that I was so shaken by my lapse that I used the ancient doxology6 ("Through Him, and with Him, and in Him, O God, almighty Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, all glory and honor is Yours, forever and ever. Amen."7) rather than that in my English missal ("By Whom and with Whom, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, all honour and glory be unto Thee, O Father almighty, world without end. Amen."8) It's funny the way memory works - I was saying the correct prayer but using a version that I didn't usually use.
Anyway, I finished that Christmas Eve Eucharist over a year ago with the memory of Ardon Turry fresh in my mind. With him and his wife away our tower was two expert ringers down and would be hard-pressed to ring out the old year and ring in the new. Most years a long, sonorous but complicated peal was rung on our ten bells. Change ringing in the English way requires ringers who know what they're doing and although there were a goodly number of ringers in our tower there were only a dozen or so who could ring the changes for four or five hours or more and get everything correct, and Ardon Turry and his wife were two of these. Still, I hoped something could be managed and after I'd said the prayers in the vestry as we divested ouselves I offered up yet another prayer for Ardon and all our ringers.
Then, to bed and on to Christmas Day.
*** *** ***
"For bells are the voice of the church;
They have tones that touch and search
The hearts of young and old;
One sound to all, yet each
Lends a meaning to their speech,
And the meaning is manifold."
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow,
'Bells of San Blas'.
(March 12, 1882.)
That Christmas Day in 2011 saw just a sprinkling of snow lying on the ground like dust and accompanied by a hard frost, as I observed from my dressing room as I prepared to go across to the church and celebrate that day's Eucharist (a little earlier than usual in order to allow time for my parishioners to prepare their Christmas feasts without rushing). Just as I was putting on my jacket and noting that I still had half-an-hour before the service I heard the bells swing into life. I listened carefully and perceived that only six were being rung - already Ardon's, and his wife's, absence was being felt. However, everybody, including his fellow ringers, knew that Ardon had had no choice but to go out to Australia (and any one of us would have done the same had the circumstances cast us into such a role) for without a kidney transplant his son would be doomed to a slow death and Ardon was the best match. Once again I said a prayer for both of them.
As I crossed to the church with the thought of Ardon in my head and with the bells ringing out joyously from their tower a recollection of the recent St. Nicholas' day's service was sparked in mind again. The Bishop, himself a keen ringer when he gets the chance, conducted the consecration of our re-cast ninth bell - it had suddenly cracked from lip to waist whilst being rung in a Bristol Surprise Royal9 about eleven months previously and had had to be taken down and sent away for re-casting. The Order of Service for the consecration of bells is ancient and dates back to at least the eighth century, and maybe even earlier than that, and it was the first time that I had ever assisted at this Rite; indeed, it was the first time that any of our ringers had attended at such a service and it was regrettable that Ardon Turry and his wife had already left for Australia a few days before the service.
Nathan Neal Altus is our Bishop and I remembered Bishop Nathan and I standing by the base of the tower resplendent in our violet10 chasubles and gold copes - the Bishop with mitre and crozier - as the bell was pulled on a handcart towards us from the point in the bell-field11, appropriately, just west of the church where the lorry had offloaded it (the closest that such a conveyance could get to the tower). The sun was shining but there was a little breeze that knew its business and it occasionally whipped the cross of St. George flag at the top of the tower into life.
As the re-cast bell was set down in front of the tower and under the hoist which would lift it up and through the open louvred doors on the west side of the tower and into the bell chamber we all sang that lovely hymn 'Let bells peal forth the universal fame'12. The Service of Consecration is quite short: a welcome, a lesson is read13, the bell is ritually washed by sprinkling with holy water (a symbolic reminder of the purity and cleanliness needed in the service of G-d), some prayers, the Bishop makes a cross on the waist of the bell with the Oil of Catechumens (signifying the preparation for 'baptism' or consecration to the service of G-d) then another cross with the Oil of Chrism on the other side of the bell (which is the actual 'baptism' or consecration), the bell is censed (to remind us that we are in the presence of G-d breathing the very air of heaven with the rising smoke symbolising the direction of our prayers) then the still smoking thurible is placed inside the bell, in the very bellmouth, (symbolising the air the bell will ring in and to), a Gospel reading (always Luke 10:38-4214), a short prayer, and finally a blessing and a dismissal.
The bell was introduced to the Bishop at the beginning of the service by Clyde Restis15, our tower captain, and at that point I think that we all felt the absence of the Turrys most keenly. Ardon had been the prime mover in getting the bell re-cast and his energy and enthusiasm for the project had ensured its success. At the end of the Consecration we all stood and watched as the bell was slowly winched up towards the top of the tower; in many towers the bells can be got up to the ringing chamber by raising them inside the tower but our tower had been built in such a way as to make that impossible so the original builders, way back in AD1351, were most ingenious and incorporated a winch mechanism very similar to those that you can find atop the old, narrow, canal-side houses in Amsterdam. The sturdy, thick oak beam of the winch didn't even creak under the load as the bell ascended.
Obviously, it took some considerable time to lift the bell and swing it through the open louvred doors into the bell cage where it was secured to the frame, in its place in the circle, by its headstock and gudgeons, then attached to its wheel. Whilst all that was being done Bishop Nathan and I adjourned to my rectory for tea and sundry comestibles and a good long chat about my parish and other business. Just after six o'clock we were told that the bell was ready to ring and shortly thereafter Clyde and all the ringers joined us for an early dinner.
After our meal we all trooped across to the church and gathered in the ringing chamber. Clyde offered Bishop Nathan the treble which he willingly accepted and with that the ringers took their places, with Clyde taking the great tenor bell. I am an indifferent ringer so I merely watched as they started.
"Look to!" the Bishop called in the time honoured way, "Treble going. She's gone."
With that the sweet G of the treble sounded, followed in timeous order by the F, Eb, D, C, Bb, Ab, G, the crystal clear F of the re-cast ninth, and the Eb of our glorious tenor that weighs in at a fairly massive 16cwt-3qr-12lb (1,888lbs) and has a mouth diameter just a smidgen under 4ft-1inch16. They rang for some fifty minutes or so - a quarter peal on ten bells consisting of 1,282 changes of Cambridge Surprise Royal17, which was pretty good considering that two of the best ringers were absent.
I sat in a corner of the ringing chamber and listened enthralled as the bells gave a voice to the stones of my church. The precise ordered changes of a peal are a symphony of joyful praise and prayer scattered across a parish for all to hear and respond to. 'G-d is peace and he is hope and love, Amen', the bells seemed to say; the Christian message made audible - no wonder the devil and his worshippers (those ghastly Mohammedans) dislike them so, for the bells give the lie to their disgusting practices.
Ah, the memory of that sunny day and that lovely quarter peal flashed through my head as I made my way to the vestry to prepare for that Christmas Day's Mass. Minutes later, as I and the choir and my servers processed to the chancel, the six ringing bells fell silent. An hour later as we all processed back to the vestry their joyous brazen celebration of the birth of Our Lord rang out again - and it continued to do so for another hour and a half. Obviously our ringers had decided that even if they could only field six bells that wasn't going to stop them doing a thorough job.
*** *** ***
"The bells themselves are the best of preachers
Their brazen lips are learned teachers,
From their pulpits of stone, in the upper air,
Sounding aloft, without crack or flaw,
Shriller than trumpets under the Law,
Now a sermon and now a prayer."
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow,
'Christus - The Golden Legend' (Part III).
For the rest of that period between Christmas and New Year's Eve, 2011, we had six bells and sometimes eight. We celebrated St. Stephens day (Boxing Day), St. John the Apostle's day, the Holy Innocents; we even celebrated for St. Thomas Becket on the twenty-ninth and for John Wycliffe on the thirty-first (the thirtieth was, and is, feria) and always the bells rang out - but always just six or eight.
I remember that after the Eucharist for John Wycliffe - not a popular one, that, in my part of the world - I walked back to my rectory with the bells still announcing the good news above me. I had no sooner stepped into my hallway than my housekeeper, Mrs. Promus (without whom I would be lost), directed me to pick up the 'phone. I did so and I immediately heard the voice of Mary Turry wishing me all the joys of the season.
"How are Ardon and Mark-Calchas doing?" I asked.
"Extremely well," Mary replied, "They operated on the twenty-eighth and so far everything looks good and there don't seem to be any complications. Can you let everyone know and tell them that we thank them all for the cards and the flowers. If everything goes according to plan we should be back by the end of January."
"I will, I will," I said happily, "You are sorely missed and we've all been praying for you. Tell Ardon that the re-cast has been successfully re-hung and well and truly rang in."
We talked for a minute or two more then I let Mary close the conversation before the cost became prohibitive. As soon as we had disconnected I picked up the 'phone again and called everyone I could think of to let them know the good news. It really was a lovely ending to 2011.
After talking to Mary I remember that I broke my fast and then set out to visit some of my parishioners who were not going to be able to attend that night's midnight Mass for the Feast of the Circumcision. Though we had had a threatening sky for days the snow hadn't come to much, although there had been a few further flurries since that Christmas morning. I enjoy visiting my parishioners, especially the housebound, and we always seem to have a good time together - hardly surprising, I suppose, since I've known them for years and we country folk, even if we're not directly employed on the land, have a lot in common with each other. Living in the country isn't always easy and winning food and a living from the land can be an uncertain affair even now.
As I recollect I returned home in good time to have a sandwich and some tea before evening set in. Technically the new day begins at sunset and a priest should always celebrate the Eucharist fasting - even if only technically. I spent the early part of the evening snoozing in front of the fire in my study. Around about half-past-seven I became aware of a profound silence and I walked across to a window, drew back the curtains and looked out. The world had gone white! Snow lay thickly on every surface and it was coming down in great big flakes as if it were never going to stop. It was already at least eight inches deep and getting deeper by the minute.
I realised that my congregation for the midnight Mass would be restricted to a few hardy souls, and at that to those who lived near enough to walk to church. Just as that dawned upon me so did the realisation that the tower would also be denuded of people - very, very few of the ringers would be able to get to the church in such conditions. Obviously, ringing out the old year and ringing in the new would probably not take place. I chided myself on being so disappointed - like a child being told there would be no second helpings of pudding - after all, I had celebrated with bells almost every year's end that I had been here and I would, beyond doubt, do so again. Anyway, I remember saying to myself, the important thing is to celebrate the Mass, everything else is just a bonus, nice, but just a bonus; G-d doesn't need bells to know how sincere and happy we are, He just wants our prayers. I squashed the feeling of disappointment but deep down within me a little bit still remained and I felt ashamed about that. My attempts at bell ringing should have taught me, if nothing else, patience and concentration.
Mrs. Promus interrupted my introspection at that moment by showing Clyde Restis into the study.
"Evening Rector. It's fair a foul one outside."
"I know it," I replied, indicating the undrawn curtains, "How many do you think you'll get to ring?"
"Just six of us if old Tom comes across the road as he said he would."
"Old Tom!" I exclaimed, "But he's pushing eighty-five and he's always complaining about his feet."
"Oh aye, I'll grant you that he's a curmudgeonly old devil but he can still ring with the best of us - when he can be bothered turning out, that is."
"So you'll ring six but not, surely, for long?"
"Never you fear, Rector, we'll still be able to do a decent peal on six," he said, "It'll be a good one."
It wasn't ten bells as I would have selfishly liked but I offered up a silent prayer of thanks that I was at least going to have six.
"Still," Clyde said quietly and a little wistfully, "Now we have our ninth back it would have been nice to have rung all ten tonight."
We talked of this and that for a few minutes and then Clyde made to leave. He was going to go to the tower and check that everything was prepared. I decided that, early though it was, I would accompany him to the church. We donned our outside clothes and stepped out through the front door for the snow was already too deep to take the shortcut across the garden and through G-d's acre to the vestry door.
Gingerly, taking care not to slip, we walked down the rectory carriageway and turned right onto the street and headed slowly towards the lychgate and the south porch. Just as we did so we heard the revving of engines and two 'buses came into view heading up the incline towards the church and the main road out of the village. Quite suddenly the lead 'bus seemed to falter then it began to slide backwards down the hill. Memory, as I've said before, is a strange beast and I can recall every detail of what happened next.
The following 'bus, the driver of which was obviously aware that the lead vehicle was going to hit his vehicle, tried to take easive action but in the snow he only succeeded in presenting his nearside front wing to the sliding behemoth bearing down on him. The two vehicles collided - one going quite rapidly backwards and the other still possessed of considerable forward momentum. The shriek of metal ripping open metal and the sound of windows shattering as the two 'buses slid past one another was horrendous. The yells of the passengers in each 'bus were distressing in the extreme, but there was nothing that Clyde and I could do except watch as the accident developed.
Eventually the 'buses came to rest wedged between a street lamp-post and the wall of the churchyard. Clyde already had his mobile 'phone to his ear and I could hear him explaining the situation to our village doctor as we both hurried towards the shattered 'buses in order to see what help we could give.
*** *** ***
“Bells call others, but themselves enter not into the Church.”
Miraculously, no-one was seriously hurt in the accident. some sixty young men all dressed in army fatigues clambered out of the vehicles through any opening wide enough to take them. There were cuts, some quite deep, and bruises, but nothing beyond the skills of our good doctor, Alexis Conterant, who attended to them in the dining room of the rectory which was the nearest warm dry place that I could think of to put everybody.
Old Tom had come out of his house at the bottom of Church Row just to see what all the fuss and noise was about and Clyde had promptly pointed out to him that since he was already out he may as well stay out and make himself useful and help with the ringing so Tom had wandered up to the rectory and was busy helping Mrs. Promus to make tea and food for all the hungry young mouths. I must admit that I was very worried about feeding such a multitude when such bad road conditions made it impossible to replenish stocks.
As I was worrying about that in my study Clyde came in accompanied by seven of the young army men. He was smiling broadly,
"They're ringers," he said with his grin spreading and threatening to engulf him just like the Cheshire cat's, "and they're going to ring with us tonight."
I was flabberghasted.
"Are you sure that you want to do this?" I asked them.
"Oh yes," the one with the corporal rank stripes on his arm said, "we've been on winter combat training over in the woods on the Bellator18 estate, Padre, and we've heard your bells everyday this week. It'd be great to ring 'em all."
The others all nodded their agreement. There is something just a little starnge about ringers, I remember thinking at that point. You could see that these tired young men were all fired up by enthusiasm just at the thought of getting their hands on a bell-rope. Odd, I thought, very, very odd. Still, who was I to stop them if they really wanted to do it. Clyde took them away and I made ready to set out once again for the church. I stepped out of the door just as half-past-ten struck on my grandfather clock in the hallway. It was still snowing hard but as I stepped into it the bells began to peal - all ten of them. Despite the snow the sound was magnificent and it took me but a second or two to realise that they were ringing a Bristol Surprise Royal9. I hurried on into the Church, as fast as I could in the treacherous conditions.
I started the Mass with the bells still ringing out the old year. As I got to the Words of Institution at midnight, or thereabouts, the bells fell silent. I Elevated the Host. I elevated the Chalice. The service bell rang out to let the whole parish know. The bells restarted their joyful progression and rang in 2012. I communicated a congregation that was somewhat larger than I had expected. It seems that the bells being rung right royally had peaked the curiosity of many of my parishioners in the village and they had turned out in those difficult conditions in order to find out what was going on. The ringers communicated three at a time as they were relieved. Many of the young soldiers had also come across from the rectory and a lot of them took communion, also.
I was glad that I had, in some strange mood, set the final hymn to be 'The Sacred Bells of England'19.
Afterwards, my wonderful parishioners rallied round and took the young soldiers off to their own homes to feed them and give them beds. I was left with just the seven ringers to accomodate in the rectory - a more than manageable number.
The bells rang on for another three hours. Flawlessly and perfectly executing the peal and spreading the good message of G-d's wonderful New Year over the whole parish. Seven very tired but elated young men eventually made it back to the rectory, swallowed the supper prepared for them and fell into their beds. I didn't wake them in the morning - after all, they had done far more than their duty and they deserved to be allowed to sleep on.
The weather eased after two more days of snow and the army sent more 'buses to collect our young soldiers. They left us, but I have noticed that a goodly number of them visit us from time to time - and I am being called upon to celebrate a marriage between a soldier and a village girl considerably more often than one would normally expect.
“Dear bells! how sweet the sound of village bells
When on the undulating air they swim!”
'Ode to Rae Wilson'
* The title of this tale is also inscribed on the Great Bell of the Minster of Schaffhausen. The author is unknown.
1) The flagon holds the stock of communion wine and the chalice is the communion cup. The paten is a small plate for the communion wafers and the ciborium is a large cup shaped vessel with a lid that holds the stock of wafers.
2) The Words of Consecration: "For in the night in which He was betrayed, He took bread; and when He had given thanks, He brake it, and gave it to His disciples, saying, "Take, eat, this is My Body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of Me." Likewise, after supper, He took the cup; and when He had given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, "Drink ye all of this; for this is My Blood of the New Testament, which is shed for you, and for many, for the remission of sins. Do this, as oft as ye shall drink it, in remembrance of Me." (From the Anglican Book of Common Prayer.)
3) The purpose of elevating the Host and the Chalice after the Words of Institution have been spoken is to show both of them to the people as a visible sign that consecration has been done. The priest, who worships with his people for he, too, is but a supplicant and sinner and therefore has his back to them when at the altar (standing behind the altar and facing the congegation is simply canonically wrong and puts a canonically wrong emphasis on the role of the priest), must elevate the consecrated Elements above his head so that the people can see them. The Sanctus candle is lit on the Epistle (south) side of the altar (which almost invariably is against the east end of the church) and it was lit originally to aid sight of the consecrated Species in darker churches but it is now just a custom. The service bell is tolled at each Elevation in order to let the faithful of the parish who cannot attend know that the consecrations have taken place and that they should pray privately. The purpose of the Elevations is to permit the Adoration of Christ's body (in particular in the Host) and originally the service bell served to summon those who were not going to take communion into the church for a few moments of prayer and Adoration for in early times much superstition surrounded the glimpse one got of the Host at the Elevation - many believed that the sight of the Host would preserve them from sudden death, or fire, or pestilence, or even from hunger.
4) December 6th.
5) Ecce Agnus Dei. Ecce qui tollit peccata mundi, which echoes the words of John the Baptist in John 1:29, This always used to be said by the priest at the Elevation of the Host but usually no longer is.
6) A doxology (from the Greek [doxa-] "glory" + [-logia], "saying") is a short hymn of praises to God often added to the end of canticles, psalms, hymns and prayers. This tradition comes from from a similar practice in the synagogue, where some version of the Kaddish serves to terminate each section of the service. The most well known doxology is the Trinitarian Doxology: "Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost; as it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen." (Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto. Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in sæcula sæculorum. Amen.)
7) Per ipsum, et cum ipso, et in ipso, est tibi Deo Patri omnipotenti in unitate Spiritus Sancti, omnis honor et gloria per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.
8) From the Book of Common Prayer (1549) of the Church of England.
9) A Surprise Royal is a Surprise peal, one called Bristol in this case, in a treble bob method (when the treble bell hunts forward four and back two, such as, just for example, 12123434565678788787656543432121) and is Royal because it is rung on ten bells.
10) Violet is the colour of penitence and therefore of Advent - see New English Review at http://www.newenglishreview.org/blog_display.cfm/blog_id/39638 .
11) Up until the early fifteenth century bells used to be cast on site and there are many, many churches throughout England that have a field known to locals as the bell-field beside, or very near to, the church. Often there are distinctive mounds and dips still visible in such a field and these are the remains of the pits that were dug in which the moulds were secured and the bells cast and sometimes one can still find traces in the soil of the fires that were lit to melt the bronze so that it could be poured into the moulds. By the end of that century permanent foundries had been established such as the famous Whitechapel Foundry (http://www.whitechapelbellfoundry.co.uk/) as well as many others. By AD1420 one Robert Chamberlain, master founder, was working from a permanent workshop at Whitechapel and there is some evidence to indicate that he may have set up the foundry that became established as the Whitechapel Bell Foundry in AD1570, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I.
12) Usually this hymn is sung to the tune called 'Woodlands' which was composed by Walter Greatorex (1877-1949). The words are by Peter Baelz:
Let bells peal forth the universal fame
Creator Lord, of thy mysterious name;
Conscience within, the boundless heavens above,
Disclose to faith the hidden name of Love.
Loudly proclaim with each insistant chime
How thine eternity redeems our time;
Past sins forgiven, and future hopes restored,
Reveal thy presence with us, gracious Lord.
Spirit divine, re-cast our faulty ways,
Make them ring true and echo to thy praise;
Through every change of circumstance and choice
May we confess thee with a single voice.
Call us to worship, call us to obey,
Call us to pilgrimage along life's way;
Rouse us from sleep; renewed in mind and heart,
Call us to love thee, Lord, since Love though art.
(New English Hymnal, 395)
13) Usually 1 Kings 8:22-30:
(Verse 22) And Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in the presence of all the congregation of Israel, and spread forth his hands toward heaven: (23) And he said, Lord God of Israel, there is no God like Thee, in heaven above, or on earth beneath, who keepest covenant and mercy with Thy servants that walk before Thee with all their heart: (24) Who hast kept with Thy servant David my father that Thou promisedst him: thou spakest also with Thy mouth, and hast fulfilled it with Thine hand, as it is this day. (25) Therefore now, Lord God of Israel, keep with Thy servant David my father that Thou promisedst him, saying, There shall not fail thee a man in My sight to sit on the throne of Israel; so that thy children take heed to their way, that they walk before Me as thou hast walked before Me. (26) And now, O God of Israel, let Thy word, I pray Thee, be verified, which Thou spakest unto Thy servant David my father. (27) But will God indeed dwell on the earth? behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain Thee; how much less this house that I have builded? (28) Yet have Thou respect unto the prayer of Thy servant, and to his supplication, O Lord my God, to hearken unto the cry and to the prayer, which Thy servant prayeth before Thee today: (29) That Thine eyes may be open toward this house night and day, even toward the place of which Thou hast said, My name shall be there: that Thou mayest hearken unto the prayer which Thy servant shall make toward this place. (30) And hearken Thou to the supplication of Thy servant, and of Thy people Israel, when they shall pray toward this place: and hear Thou in heaven Thy dwelling place: and when Thou hearest, forgive.
(King James Version)
14) From the Gospel according to Saint Luke the Apostle, Chapter 10:
(Verse 38) Now it came to pass, as they went, that He entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received Him into her house. (39) And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word. (40) But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to Him, and said, Lord, dost Thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. (41) And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: (42) But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.
(King James Version)
15) Introduced in my story for New English Review here at http://www.newenglishreview.org/custpage.cfm/frm/122546/sec_id/122546 .
16) The ring listed here is based on the bells of St. Andrew's Cathedral, Inverness, Scotland, UK, which is the most northerly change ringing tower in the world. Details at: http://dove.cccbr.org.uk/detail.php?searchString=Inverness+Cath&Submit=+Go+&DoveID=INVERNESS ,
and also at : http://www.cccbr.org.uk/felstead//tbid.php?tid=2660 .
17) Actually, the ringers in the tower of St. Peter and St. Paul Church in Olney in Buckingham-shire, England did this on the 16th of August in 2009; see here at: http://www.olneybells.co.uk/newsitem.php?id=6 .
18) I introduced the Bellator family in my New English Review story here at http://www.newenglishreview.org/custpage.cfm/frm/111793/sec_id/111793 .
19) Usually this hymn is sung to the tune 'Thornbury':
The sacred bells of England
How gloriously they ring
From ancient tower and steeple,
For cottager, for king.
We love to hear their voices
While o’er the fields we roam,
How sweet to think the echo
May reach our heavenly home!
Church bells of happy England,
Your songs of olden time
Are chanted down the ages,
For vespers and for prime;
On merry Christmas morning,
On holy Easter Day,
Fulfil your festal calling,
Bid churchfolk up and pray.
Church bells of Christian England,
Ring out your message wide,
Whene’er our Lord is blessing
The bridegroom and the bride,
Or when the tenor tolling,
With passing-knoll we hear,
May one and all remember
A soul to God is near.
Ringers of happy England,
Who peal the earthly fanes
For Christ our Lord and Master
(He all your homage claims);
Complete your sacred office
While pilgrims on this strand,
That ye may swell the praises
In that eternal land.
(Hymns Ancient and Modern [Revised], 256)
To comment on this story please click here.
To help New English Review continue to publish engaging short stories like this one, please click here.
If you liked this article by John M. Joyce and want to read more, please click here.
John Joyce is also a regular contributor to The Iconoclast, our community blog, click here to see all his entries.