Big Ben

"God leads us step by step, from event to event. Only afterwards, as we look back over the way we have come and reconsider certain important moments in our lives in the light of all that has followed them, or when we survey the whole progress of our lives, do we experience the feeling of having been led without knowing it, the feeling that God has mysteriously guided us." (Paul Tournier 1898–1986)

Our Word for the Week deals with the chimes of Big Ben in London and it would seem that there must be a million doorbells with those same Westminster chimes - even car horns - what a witness if only they knew the words. Last month and for the first time in ages the sounds of Big Ben have fallen silent for essential repairs. Big Ben has been silenced for repairs before, most recently in 2007, but this stretch of about 4 years is by far the longest. The chimes have been turned off because they would deafen the workers close by.

Do you ever listen to the BBC world news from London? If you do, you will have heard the sound of Big Ben striking the hour. Greenwich in London is where all world time is recorded from - world time is measured as plus or minus from longitude zero which passes through Greenwich*.

Before Big Ben, situated next to the Houses of Parliament at Westminster, strikes the hour it plays a tune. Then there is a long pause, and then that quivering Doooonnnnngggg that goes right over London and by radio to the ends of the earth.

I read of a man who had been up in the tower of Big Ben when it struck. He said there were five bells - four smaller ones which weigh altogether eight tons, and Big Ben himself, who weighs thirteen and a half tons! And at the first stroke, DONG, it was if a battering-ram had hit the bell. DONG, and it sounded as if a shell had burst! DONG, and the man thought the Houses of Parliament had fallen! DONG, and the whole of London must be getting worried! He was very glad it was only four o’clock and not twelve.

The chimes are set to these words taken from Handel's Messiah.: "All through this hour, Lord be my guide, And by thy power, No foot shall slide."

Big Ben is reminding us, and all the world, that God is our guide through every hour of the day. It tells us about the guidance of God. It says: Remember always that God is with you; trust in him and you will not fall. What a wonderful world it would be at this time of political and military threats and counter threats if everyone who heard those strokes lived and worked in the spirit of the hourly prayer of Big Ben.

If you turn to your Bible you will find a wonderful Psalm, number 31, verses 1 to 5. These verses speak of God being our guide, our fortress and our rock.

Have a good week, Pastor Ron

Ron Clarke JP An e-mail from Kingborough, near Hobart, Tasmania, Australia http://word4week.com

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