Each Sunday at the beginning of worship, I offer a welcome. Here’s the welcome from last Sunday.
I had a moving experience at radiation this week. Attached to a wall in the waiting room is a bell–the kind they have at Arby’s to “ring if you had good service.” Painted on the wall beside the bell at radiation is this poem: “Ring this bell 3 times well, its toll to clearly say, My treatment’s done, this course is run, and I am on my way.”
Tuesday, someone rang the bell. The waiting room was full. Everyone clapped and cheered. I’d heard about this ritual, but hadn’t thought much of it. The bell just looks so much like the one at Arby’s, you know?
But all of us there knew what ringing that bell meant to that woman. As we waited for our own next treatments, together we rejoiced with this woman that her treatments were over.
Will everyone in that room get to ring the bell someday? I hope so, but it’s not guaranteed. A friend responded to my Facebook post by saying that his husband Bill never got to ring the bell. Even so, Mike rejoices with everyone who is able to ring the bell.
Church feels a lot like that waiting room on Tuesday. All of us are here, together, sharing many of the same struggles, doing what we can to get from one day to the next…we’re also ready to celebrate with anyone the joys of life when they come.
Our own bell will ring three times in a minute. When it does, may it remind us of all we have in common with everyone else in this room…that each of us struggles…and that each of us every so often needs people to clap and cheer for us when things go well.
As we contemplate the good gift of community, we breathe in God’s love…