We’ve got this treasure in our hands and we’re bringing it
A hidden church bell in this land, now we’re ringing it! God in Heaven, delirious?
I think of Loughborough, where we live, as ‘the hidden heart’ of England. There are many claimants to the ‘heart of England’ name, notably the city of Birmingham; I am not arguing with that at all. But having moved up from south of London to the middle of the country in March 2001, when the Lord planted me with my family ‘in the heart of the nation for the sake of the nation’, carrying a burden for England that has taken me deep in prayer, connecting right across the ‘middle lands’ with those seeking God’s heart for the Heartland… there is no doubt that here in Leicestershire, called ‘the heart of rural England’, I have been on a journey of the heart. Just looking at a map shows how central we are here – in a hidden way 😉
Hiddeness is so important. I wrote about Newport and Malvern last week (Bethlehem and Nazareth) – little towns with heavenly identities that punch above their weight. There are many such seemingly insignificant places, church congregations, people, who have an influence way beyond their size. Is there something in this about yeast in a loaf? It’s in the hidden place – when the grain of wheat falls into the ground, when conception occurs in the dark – that something can germinate and grow, producing new life and a plentiful harvest.
Places have identity just as people do. This was one of the major discoveries of the ‘sowing seeds’ journey, the characteristics of places being revealed, the 7 city types of Revelation 2 & 3 applied to our present day landscape and nations, their strengths, gifts, callings, weaknesses, strongholds – all a real key in knowing how to pray for and develop a town or city, just as with a person. Those who don’t know Loughborough must be forgiven for not realising what a strong DNA is carried here!
This is the caste for the Great Paul bell in St Paul’s cathedral: the largest bell ever hung in Britain at 17 tons. It was made in 1881 at Taylors bell foundry here in the town – one of the few remaining foundries in the country. This year, after restoration, the caste has gone on display in the market place, as a reminder of the town’s heritage.
We also have a distinctive war memorial in Queens Park, a carillion tower containing 47 bells cast in the foundry, paid for by public subscription, inscribed with the names of local schools, organisations and individuals who paid for them to be made after the first war. These bells play tunes on market days and Sundays as the carillonier bangs on the wooden keyboard with leather gloves – everything from Greensleeves to the Imperial March from Star Wars! It is a real mixture of death and life!
When the prophet Sharon Stone visitied Loughborough in 1999 and heard we made bells she prophesied that “this is a place that is able to make a sound that is heard a long way off, a place that can raise an alarm and a wake up call”. This word was one of the main reasons I held the Mercy Cry prayer gatherings for the nation here for 5 years from 2004-2008, seeking to make a sound that will reach way beyond the town, impacting the nation and nations…
Come on, Loughborough: you have a distinctive sound to make! I’ll write more about that sound in the next post… 🙂