Beautiful, historic churches tower over villages and grace city corners in Switzerland, where I’ve been visiting Middle Daughter and her family. The old buildings have lovely stained glass windows, intricate stonework and impressive construction.
However, though the country celebrates numerous Christian holidays, many traditional churches attract only a handful of regular attendees.
Church bells toll throughout the day, calling the faithful, but life goes on as if no one hears.
Here’s a video clip I took on a hill, looking down into the valleys.
(Turn up your volume to hear the bells from two different villages. Click on the arrow to start the video. It’s pretty wobbly, but it gives you a sense of the way the bells dominate the countryside. If you can’t see it on your phone or tablet, you may have to change a setting.)
The next day, walking through an alpine village, I stopped to listen to the peal of the bells. Busy shoppers hustled by me, school children giggled on the way home from school, and skiers stomped from the shuttle bus.
As often happens, a song began to play in my mind, this one about how Jesus sings all around us, and we never hear a sound. (Click on the arrow.)
How often do we rush through our day, disregarding the call of the Holy Spirit, the yearning of our God to engage us?
While we strive, he sings to us in the beauty of creation.
“God’s glory is on tour in the skies, God-craft on exhibit across the horizon. Madame Day holds classes every morning, Professor Night lectures each evening.” Psalm 19:1-2 The Message
While we struggle with loneliness, he speaks through the warmth of friendship.
And while we scheme and work to make life conform to what we desire, he whispers to our hearts.
What compels us to push on, ignoring that voice, avoiding that face?
Are we trying to do it right? Make it right? Get everything under control so we can bring our to-do list, all checked and fulfilled, to gain rights to his presence?
Do we hide from his gaze, like Adam and Eve in the garden when they became aware of what their choice cost them, unable to bear those penetrating eyes?
Are we turning away out of anger, shaking our fist at a God who would allow evil and pain such as we, or a loved one, have suffered?
Or are we so competent, so intent on doing it our way that this Creator God I speak of is irrelevant?
Whatever the source of our discontent, he continues to pursue us, dancing over us, singing to our hearts, seeking us,
offering the only gift we truly yearn for, though we often mistake our need for something far less.
With open arms and eyes full of love, he calls our name.
He offers all-encompassing forgiveness that we do not deserve and cannot earn, which cost him everything.
And with that forgiveness, comes hope. And with that hope, comes faith to trust that he is great and he is good.
To trust his love.
If we stop.
“Are your ears awake? Listen. Listen to the Wind Words, the Spirit blowing through the churches.” Revelation 2:29 The Message