“Beauty turns the heart towards God” the preacher proclaimed this weekend, and I thought of a phrase I’d heard before…, “like a flower to the sun”. For this young bell ringer, well struck, ordered ringing is a sound which has this beautiful character and the capacity to turn the ears to His voice. On Sunday following Pentecost service, we rang haltingly, bumping into each other rhythmically, I missed my spot more than a few times. The service beforehand had advocated for the Holy Spirit to burn away all the nonsense in our hearts. This is really great news! Consequently a small bonfire was lighting up my heart as we rang, each untimely stroke giving the Holy Spirit a bit more fuel. Meanwhile, a coffee hour reception was being held on the common… with cake!
Interestingly, it wasn’t the well struck, ordered ringing, or lack thereof, which brought a smile between the ringers in the tower Sunday. Instead, we spontaneously rung down (were we hungry for cake?). Ringing down means the bells swing lower and lower, faster and faster until each bell hangs, and eventually rests, downward. Typically the bells rest upside down so that a ringer can use the momentum and weight of the bell to control the clapper striking and sounding of the bell. And at the moment, what’s wonderful about the way we ring down is that; we’re not skilled enough yet to keep everything in time, which means the bells begin to overlap and wash over each other as they get faster and faster. It’s one of my favorite sounds, and it sounds as if the tower is glowing.
Here’s an animation of well struck, ordered ringing with the bells pausing in the upwards position.