Preaching that rings true

I was struck as I was praying this morning by the difference between the dull “thunk” of striking a block of metal and the clear ring of striking that metal when it has been molten, poured, cast,tuned and hung as a bell.  Before God can get a true note out of the preacher there is a major process of change, tuning and clarifying which has to go on. In the days of traditional bell manufacture a higher note was achieved by a craftsman shaving away metal from the  lower rim of the bell. To get a lower note he had to get right up inside and shave some of the metal from the bell’s inner surface.

In the Orthodox church the dedication of a new bell is a solemn moment in the church’s life.  As I head out like others to preach today, I leave you with these words from a Russian consecration service for a new bell:

That He will bless this bell to the glory of His holy name with His heavenly blessing, let us pray to the Lord.

That He will grant it the grace that all who hear its sound, whether by day or by night, shall be roused to the glorification of His holy name, let us pray to the Lord.

That by the voice of its ringing all destructive winds, storms, thunder and lightning, and all harmful weather and destructive things of the air may be appeased, calmed and cease to be, let us pray to the Lord.

That it may drive away every power, craft and slander of invisible enemies from all His own faithful people who shall have heard the voice of its ringing, and arouse them to the observance of His commandments, let us pray to the Lord.

That Thy faithful servants, having heard the voice of its peal, may be strengthened in piety and faith, and with courage, may oppose all the slanders of the devil, and overcome them by prayer and by the everlasting glorification of Thee, the True God.

May it be so.

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