One of the primary functions of our 100 plus foot Bell Tower is to signal our Community that it is time to gather together and worship the Lord. We are part of a centuries-old stream of Church tradition, calling the people of God to worship with the tolling of bells.
This tradition began in Monastic houses in the early centuries of Christianity. Saint Martin of Tours, whom we honor today, is credited as the first to build a (4th-century) tower with large bells like our own.
Pagan turned Christian, soldier, monk, hermit, missionary, miracle worker and beloved Bishop of Tours, Martin was one of the first non-martyrs venerated as a saint. The key elements of Saint Martin’s spirituality are prayer, solitude, and sacrifice. Through numerous acts of kindness and charity, one being the sharing of half his cloak with a cold beggar dressed in rags, Saint Martin became the embodiment of Matthew 25:36,40:
I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me. Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?”
The King will reply, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
When next you hear church bells toll, think of Saint Martin, who remained a kind and loving soldier for Christ to his life’s end.