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The bells, the bells . . . Well the wedding season is about to begin, and soon our towns and villages will be filled with the peal of bells as smiling couples walk out of church into the future together.

A lovely scene full of hope and joy. I know nothing about bell-ringing, but to hear the bells rung – in simple ways or in complicated patterns – is an uplifting experience!

I was just thinking about how the sound of a bell still seems to continue even when it must have stopped ringing – how it seems to resonate on in our brains – when a question occurred to me: Where does that sound go?

We know that everything that flows in waves flows on out and out . . . ripples on water, light across great distances . . . so where does sound go?

The poet John Masefield would have said that it becomes “the rhythm that the planets journey by.” What a wonderful thought!

I believe that Jesus tried to explain that all our thoughts and actions also spread out and influence all around us just like the sound of a bell.

If they are positive and loving then, like the pure sound of a well-tuned bell, our influence will be a blessing.

But if they are negative? Well, like a cracked bell the dull thunk, thunk of negativity is horrible to hear. It creates a dissonance – a chaotic jangling – in the hearts and minds of all who are touched by it.

So next time we open our mouths let’s just stop a moment and think: What sort of bell do I wish to be today?

The Rev Audrey Atkinson