“Awake, my soul! Awake, harp and lyre! I will awaken the dawn” (Psalm 57:8).
The bells of the abbey on Mt. Zion are ringing out their glory this morning. They are calling all who have ears to hear to stop and remember the Lord of all creation. I used to despise the sounds of religion — that is of any other belief than mine. I used to think the sound of the bells was a call to become Catholic or Orthodox or Episcopal or some belief unfamiliar to me. And maybe to some they are.
But as I have stretched my faith upward and my heart has enlarged to embrace ideas beyond my narrow experiences, I now hear the call of such bells as a beckoning sound to arouse the soul of anyone listening that God is alive and well and is always speaking to humankind, always drawing us to Himself. Maybe to the brokenhearted the bells are ringing the sound of comfort, and to the lost, the bells are showing the way back home.
In my younger years when I heard church bells, I tuned them out completely because I thought they didn’t apply to me. I wasn’t on my way to church or even thinking about the people or building of worship at the moment. And you will agree with me on this one: If you are not in the mood, the bells can be down right irritating.
Now I hear the chiming, and it is sweet music. Something switched in me as I traveled to different countries and heard the “call” from various steeples in big cities like Buenos Aires, Argentina, to little obscure villages in the mountains of Cyprus. I have met so many people and heard so many stories. I have seen the poor and the rich — the mighty and the strong. At some point, we are all the same. At some point we all need what the bells offer… What I hear now is that help is available if you will come. The doors are open. Come.
Jesus says that He is the door. He is the way. Not religion. Although you will find Him in religious places and byways off the beaten trail.
As you can see by the photo that the sun had been up for a time when I aroused myself to snap a remembrance of the morning.. Scripture speaks of awakening the sunrise and using instruments to stir the light to rise over the darkness. I found one commentary entry very interesting about the stringed instruments that David used when he was but a shepherd in the fields and later as king, placed in the City of David, very close to where my husband and I are staying in Israel now for a few weeks.
From Clarke’s commentary:
Rabbi Solomon Jarchi tells us that David had a harp at his bed’s head, which played of itself when the north wind blew on it; and then David arose to give praise to God. This account has been treated as a ridiculous fable by grave Christian writers. I would however hesitate, and ask one question: Does not the account itself point out an instrument then well known, similar to the comparatively lately discovered Aeolian harp? Was not this the instrument hung at David’s bed’s head, which, when the night breeze (which probably blew at a certain time) began to act upon the cords, sent forth those dulcet, those heavenly sounds, for which the Aeolian harp is remarkable? “Awake, my harp, at the due time: I will not wait for thee now, I have the strongest cause for gratitude; I will awake earlier than usual to sing the praises of my God.”
The Aeolian harp was known in the ancient world as a stringed instrument that could be played by the wind. It is also called a “wind harp.”
I like the idea of David having a wind harp that would play when the wind was stirred. The sound of it is meant to arouse the heart to praise the Creator. In so doing, the soul would be soothed; but it is meant to turn our hearts upward to Him who is above all.
The Jerusalem Chord’s Bridge or the Jerusalem Bridge of Strings is 118 meter high cable-type bridge that is used by Jerusalem’s Light Red Rail Service. It was designed by Spanish architect, Santiago Calatrava, which he created to carry both train and pedestrian traffic. It was made to look like David’s harp. It is awesome to behold because it does resemble a huge wind harp leaning over the Holy City. It seems prophetic somehow that the instrument David used would now stand as a beacon or lighthouse over the ancient city. “Time Magazine” dubbed it, “Jerusalem’s first shrine of modern design.” It may seem modern, but it is ancient in the root of its design. I believe the city of Jerusalem is meant to be a place of praise. It is the City of our God. May the Holy Spirit blow upon this place to arouse songs of deliverance for the hurting and lost who come to Jerusalem for protection or to find spiritual peace.
As I am starting my day here in Jerusalem in a short season of serving on the other side of the pond, I stir my soul as the wind stirs the strings of the harp to play music before the Lord Jesus, Redeemer of all the nations. I stir the chords of my heart to say, “He is worthy. He is holy. He is just. He is true. There is no other God before Him.”
May His fires burn from the altar of my heart today. I awaken praise in my spirit as the sun awakens my eyes. May I become a bell ringing out that the wells of salvation through Jesus are deep and wide and full. Come and drink. Come and be comforted. Come and rest. Come to Him, for this is His city. The city of our God and King.