There was once a village where the people were accustomed to hearing the sound of a bell, but no one could place where it was from. One day a group of people decided to go into the woods to see if they could find the sound of the bell. They walked and walked and walked. Finally, they stopped walking and settled down. There was food and people generally had a good time.
One man said he had found the source of the bell sound. An owl would bang its head against an old tree. The man said the owl was the owl of knowledge, but no one could confirm that this was what really made the sound.
Time went on. On confirmation day, several children who had been confirmed wanted to figure out what the sound of the bell was. They walked and walked and walked. One boy stopped at a stream that tinkled to see if that was where the sound came from. Another boy stopped at a hut because there was a small bell there, but it was too small to make such a large sound.
A king’s son and another boy traveled on. They eventually climbed up and up and came to the ocean. There everything appeared to be as a church. The entire world was a chapel with an invisible bell which created the sound the villagers had heard.
Alright, I get this–if I heard some mysterious noise, I would want to know what was making it and where it came from. I might take off into the woods as well. I’m a curious person. The world is not without its strange noises. In New Mexico, there is a strange noise that people cannot explain. It’s more of a ringing noise. No one has ever been able to tell these people exactly where the noise comes from. People learn to tune it out, but the noise has driven some people away.
This one is fairly self-explanatory, nature is God or you can find God in nature. God created the world and you can worship in its wonder.
You don’t have to meet inside a church to worship God, or gods, or whomever. You can do your worshiping anywhere. Why not worship in the beauty that your god created?
I once got into an argument with my ex about artists like Michelangelo. It was quite common for Michelangelo to paint nude figures and sculpt nude figures. My ex considered these images pornographic while I did not. The idea Michelangelo and his other fellow artists were going after was that the human body is an amazing creation of God. They wanted to explore how the body worked. What muscles did what? What bones did what? How did all of this work? Wasn’t it so freaking amazing that our bodies are so complex and beautiful? The whole idea was about glorifying God’s creations, not being all dirty and lewd.
Getting back to the story, this wasn’t about being Pagan-esque in the worship of nature, it was about seeing the natural world as a creation of God just the same way Renaissance artists saw the body as a creation of God. God created this wonderful world, so why can’t the entire thing be a church?
I wonder if there has ever been a town where there really was a mysterious bell tolling.
Do you think worship can only be done in prescribed locations?
Is nature a wonderful creation to you?