Now that Coronavirus restrictions are easing we have just returned from our first holiday since restrictions were introduced last year. It was strange being somewhere south of the border in England with plenty of church towers but no bell ringing. It is good that people can now travel and go on holiday, and visitors to Argyll in Scotland are rapidly increasing.
One of the issues with holiday visitors is those who cause problems by ignoring the rules. We live beside a lovely beach and regardless of signs which prohibit overnight occupation of camper vans, the road is turned into a campsite every
night, which shows no respect for local residents. Some people think that rules are there to be broken, but rules are normally made for a good reason, usually for everyone’s benefit or even for everyone’s safety.
When I first walked into the ringing room of a church tower I was immediately given some basic rules. Keep both feet on the floor and don’t touch the ropes. Failure to obey these rules would put myself and others in danger. Then there are certain rules which are unique to change ringing. You have to learn and apply these rules if you want to be a good ringer and be successful in ringing particular methods. While some rules are more important than others it is surely sensible that rules should never be ignored.
The most important rules of all are those given by God. They are found in the Bible, which is the word of God, and are intended to keep us safe from danger as we travel through life. Paul writes to Timothy, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the people of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17) While we are not saved by keeping the rules, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”, (Romans 3:23) we ignore God’s rules at our peril. It is in keeping his rules, or obeying his commands, that we will find blessing ourselves and bring blessing to others. His command is that we should repent of our sin and believe in Jesus Christ for salvation. Having been saved by the grace of God in Christ, we can by that same grace obey the rules and give glory to God.
If you are able to go on holiday this summer I hope you will have a safe and happy time, and that you might even be able to ring some bells.
Revd GEORGE G CRINGLES
A retired minister of the Church of Scotland and a member of the Guild of Clerical Ringers