Evening Bells

Years ago, I was changing the beds in my little boys’ room. I was alone in the house that summer evening. The windows at the duplex where I lived were open and the sun was setting. My mind was occupied with the task at hand and many other things that weighed me down.

Suddenly through the air came the most beautiful sound. The carillon bells from Mount Olive Lutheran church two blocks away were ringing out a melody. I knew the hymn immediately and stood still to listen.

How sweet the Name of Jesus sounds
In a believer’s ear!
It soothes his sorrows, heals his wounds,
And drives away his fear.

It makes the wounded spirit whole,
And calms the troubled breast;
’Tis manna to the hungry soul,
And to the weary, rest.

I went to the window as the bells continued, the sounds carrying over the houses on the soft night air. For those moments, the cares and concerns of life dropped away, and peace descended.

All these years later, I was with our adult daughter Mary today, and she said, “There’s a church near us. The bells were playing a hymn the other night, and I knew all the words, Mom. I recognized it. It was very peaceful.”

I smiled as she said that. I knew just what she meant.  But I thought of something else. Knowledge of these hymns is a precious thing. Knowing an entire stanza is great, and knowing the whole thing is gold.

I remember making dinner one night when Will was in first grade. He was building something with his Legos around the corner. His clear voice sang out suddenly  and startled me. This is what he was singing.

Glory be to God the Father,
Glory be to God the Son,
Glory be to God the Spirit:
Great Jehovah, Three in One!
Glory, glory
While eternal ages run!

Glory be to him who loved us,
Washed us from each spot and stain;
Glory be to him who bought us,
Made us kings with him to reign!
Glory, glory
To the Lamb that once was slain!

He had learned that hymn at his school. As the child played with his Legos, a bit of eternity broke into sound with those sacred words in praise of the Lord.

Emily began our day today by asking to sing to me, something she often does. She learns songs in choir and in chapel, and wants to sing them. She started to sing.

The King of love my Shepherd is,
Whose goodness faileth never,
I nothing lack if I am His
And He is mine forever.

She doesn’t know it now, but she will someday be so glad that treasure is in her memory bank. These words put to melody are a great comfort no matter what life brings.  They give you songs in the night.

I heard the bells at twilight all those years ago, and I recognized the hymn.  These grand old tunes and words lift our hearts and heads, unite us with those who have gone on before us and point us to our faithful Lord.  This is true treasure we can pass on to our children.

5 thoughts on “Evening Bells

  1. Bethany L. says:

    What beautiful memories. I grew up in church and went to a Christian grade school where we had to memorize hymns, and I remember so many to this day. They come to mind often. It’s amazing how the words stay in one’s memory.

  2. Denise says:

    Sometimes when folding laundry, doing dishes or rocking a little one, a long-ago hymn comes to mind, and I’m singing those lovely words that quiet my soul. What a treasure.

  3. Carolyn says:

    I love carillon bells!!! I also love “The King of Love My Shepherd Is”. In fact, when I read this post, I just started singing it. 🙂 That, and I have “And Can It Be” stuck in my head.

  4. Beverley says:

    I didn’t grow up with hymns and when the Lord saved me hymns were often replaced with modern choruses.
    I always appreciate when Ingrid provides links to many special hymns and offerings of musical praise to our great and glorious Saviour, Jesus Christ.
    Thank you everyone for sharing your memories.

  5. Kris says:

    I don’t have those memories of church bells chiming a beloved tune, but what an awesome
    way to begin or end one’s day.

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