” … their ringing would be heard… “
Gold bells were also around its hem, so that when he walked, their ringing would be heard in the Temple, and the Lord would remember his people. (Sirach 45:9) (An Apocryphal book of the Old Testament)

God has blessed and challenged our church with a wonderful new ministry called, “The Church Mouse.”  It’s a thrift store operated at a separate location from the church.  The store not only offers needed goods at reasonable prices, it also serves as another door to Jesus.  Folks stop by to talk and sometimes ask for prayer.  All the profits from the store go to various mission projects we support.  Once each month we receive donations from the store on what we call, “Sorting Saturday.”  One Saturday we went to a house to pick up several donations and were also blessed with a piano.  When we got the piano to our sorting area it was discovered that the piano was beyond salvaging.  Our youth were about to have a big bonfire beside the church so we hefted the piano on top of the pile.

The fire was so hot that the piano was reduced to a pile of ashes in almost no time – except for the very heavy cast iron sounding board that you see in the photo.  When the ashes cooled Patti, my wife, looked at the sounding board and said, “Oh wow, that would make a cool piece of art on the wall.”  I mumbled and grumbled something dismissive and walked away.  There was no room on the wall, and I wasn’t about to try to figure out how to mount some 100 lb object.  The next morning was Sunday, so after worship Patti and the head of our church trustees went over to the burn pile to check out the results of the fire.  When I returned home after church, the sounding board was resting against the side of our garage.  Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!

For several days I passed the object of scorn as I got in and out of my car.  “Grrrrrrrr, now what I’m I supposed to do with that?”  Patti just laughed and said, “Oh, it’s beautiful.  We’ll think of something.”  For several more days my response was still, “Grrrrrr, now what I’m I supposed to do?”  Then, something happened.  I walked by the crazy thing and noticed where the holes were that once held the pegs for the strings.  Then I started a conversation with Patti about maybe getting some knobs and using it for a hat rack.  Then the conversation turned to hanging something from the knobs and evolved until suddenly it was bells – bells that kids of all ages would have fun ringing.  The thing of scorn was now about to make music again!

We had a lot of fun collecting knobs for the top and the bells to hang from them.  Most of the bells came from antique stores we browsed on some trip here or there.  At one store I found so many bells that I sounded like my own herd of sheep as I made my way to the register.  I still wasn’t sure about how to get the sculpture mounted to the wall, or even how to lift it to get it on the wall.  (By this time I had injured my arm with the refrigerator and was awaiting surgery.)  Strangely enough, once I turned the corner from “Grrrrrrr” to “Hmmmmm” the ideas just kept coming, until finally I found the way to mount it and actually got it up on the wall by myself with one arm.

Folks who’ve visited since the mounting of the piano have really enjoyed playing with the bells.  So what’s your “Grrrrrrr” that God needs to transform into a “Hmmmm?”  We now have a wonderful toy on our wall that I frequently stop to play as I walk through the house, but that new toy really began it’s journey as a piece of trash and scorn.  When we open ourselves to God’s creative Spirit, it’s amazing how we can be transformed, and others benefit from the transformation.  There are many reasons that we hang onto our “Grrrrrrrr’s” but none of them will result in much more than hurt and loneliness.  Give God your “Grrrrrr’s” and see what happens.  Transformation is possible.

I pray that God will continue to help me offer up my “Grrrr’s” and allow God’s Spirit to guide me with “Hmmmm’s.”  How about you?

Blessings and Peace,


Pastor, Cross Lanes United Methodist Church

Cross Lanes, West Virginia

Help save lives! For more information on my book, “A Relentless Hope: Surviving the Storm of Teen Depression,” visit

My other book, “Wednesday Wonderings: Spiritual Journaling Through a Lens” is available at and

Check out my video, “Teens Surviving the Storm”


~ by revgenelson on February 3, 2016.

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