Notebook

Angelus

The impact of the Angelus bell, inculturated into Lutheran practice, is beautifully evoked in Selma Lagerlöf’s Jerusalem:

‘Everyone in the parish knew that no parishioner neglected to say the Our Father when the church bells tolled; and that every afternoon, at the sound of the bells, work ceased both indoors and out of doors while the men removed their caps and the women curtsied and everyone stood still for as long as it took to recite the Lord’s Prayer. Everyone who had ever lived in the parish would further affirm that they never thought God greater or more worthily praised than on those summer evenings when they saw the scythes motionless, the ploughs at a standstill in the furrow, and a cartload of grain left right in the middle of discharging just for the sake of a couple of tintinnabulations. It was as if people knew, that Our Lord just then hovered over their parish on an evening cloud, immense and great and good, sowing blessings across the entire county.’