Saturday, November 26, 2011

Church Steeples and Church Bells

There it was.  Out in the middle of nowhere, tucked in the hillside trees.......a white church humble and so sacred.

Once upon a time everything revolved around the church.  Church steeples were built to remind people how important the church was in their lives.  A lot of them were clock towers with bells that were rung for spiritual and non-spiritual functions.  The ringing of bells let clergy know when to perform ceremonies, when to pray, and when to fast.  They also alerted people to nearby danger, like a fire or an approaching army.

In the 1950s, my family out on the farm could hear the "death bell" ring a mile away in town.  When a member of our small Catholic parish passed away, the church bells let the rest of us know by ringing one clang, a pause, another clang, another pause, another clang, another pause, until the sad message was decoded.  We farmers didn't go to town on a whim back then, so we may not otherwise have gotten the news.  The main reasons for our Chevy Fleetline coming to town were Sunday Mass, needing groceries, selling eggs and buying hog feed from the elevator.    

Ahhhhhh, that seems like more than one lifetime ago.  Sometimes I'm blown away by how things have changed since I was that little farm girl. 

Wouldn't it have to be absolutely breathtaking to sit on a big puffy cloud and behold a panoramic view of all the church steeples pointing heavenward across the nation....each one trying ever so desperately to touch the Divine Place we hope and pray is there.