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The bells speak

By Rev. Ron Barkhouse

  A few years ago I was in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. I was quite intrigued by the mix of traditional Arab culture, men wearing the dishdash with the keffiyeh headdress, women robed in black with full-veiled faces and primitive dwellings with ground-covered floors alongside McDonald's advertising the Big Mac, skyscrapers and some of the most luxurious and modern buildings in the world.

 But what stirred me the most was the zeal of their devotion to what they believe. Five times a day the call to prayer was heard all over the city via speakers strategically placed high on the buildings. Shops would close between the hours of noon and 3 p.m. so people could scurry off to the nearest mosque to pray. Even the shopping malls had prayer rooms in a central visible location.

 We are a long way from having chapels or prayer rooms set aside in our malls and places of public gatherings, but our Christian heritage exhorts us to stop our daily endeavours and acknowledge God our creator throughout the day.

 Psalm 55:17 tells us to come before God morning, noon and night. Daniel "continued kneeling on his knees three times a day, praying and giving thanks before his God."

 In many Christian churches bells are heard tolling popular gospel hymns at noon and sometimes early evening to remind us to stop and depart from the world, even if for a brief period of time, and pray, worship and give thanks to a loving, caring, awesome God through His son, Jesus Christ.

  August 29, 2007  
 
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