Sunday, 23 February 2014

Gospel Bells

Last week, I was preaching from 1 Thessalonians chapter 1, and I quoted these verses – emphasising the need to let the Gospel ‘ring out’

Our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction … you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia.The Lord’s message RANG OUT from you … your faith in God has become known everywhere.

IMG_1523 On Thursday, I was poking around in a box of haberdashery on Fakenham Market – knowing full well I don’t actually need any more threads or pins – and I found this dirty little bell.  “How much?” I asked, and was told “Two quid” I paid up, quickly. I got quite excited and called Bob over to look.

“It’s a Gospel Bell” I said to the stallholder. He looked baffled. “The design is full of Christian symbolism” I showed him the wording round the top Agnus, Leo, Aquila, Pelicanus

  • Agnus = lamb. Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world
  • Leo = lion. This represents kingship, the lion being the King of the Beasts. The lion is the symbol of St Mark, the Gospel writer. Jesus is the Lion Of Judah
  • Aquila = eagle. The eagle soars high, representing divinity, and is the symbol of St John the Evangelist.  Jesus is the divine Son of God
  • Pelicanus = pelican. According to legend, the pelican pierces its own breast to feed its young, therefore giving its life blood to save its own. This represents the atonement – Jesus shed his blood for the remission of our sin.

Also round the bell, between these animals, there are lilies and ladders. The ladder represents the ladder used at the crucifixion, the former represents purity of Christ [or sometimes the Virgin Mary] and because the Easter lily springs from a seemingly lifeless bulb, it represents the resurrection. The Gospel story in a little brass bell barely 4” high. The stall holder was fascinated, and said he was a Christian, and he belongs to a church in Peterborough. “I almost wish I hadn’t sold it now I know its story” he said. I assured him it would be well used, probably when I am talking to children in church.

I brought it back to Cornerstones, and gave it a good polish. Look!

gospel bell

It has a lovely clear ring to it too. What a bargain!


  1. what would it be used for? would it have been rung before the Gospel reading? or is the name "Gospel bell" just because of the decoration?

    it is a lovely little thing, especially now you have lovingly polished it. How do you plan to use it?

  2. The bell is lovely, I have learned something new today - I'd never heard of a Gospel Bell before.

  3. What a wonderful find, and how lovely it looks in its newly polished state.

  4. I think the name is simply from the design. I suspect this little one is purely ornamental- but I have found much larger ones pictured on the internet which originally belonged to churches. Maybe they were used in Catholic masses, when a bell is rung during the service.
    I shall use mine when I go out preaching at different churches , and I'm asked to give a talk to the children. I think they would finds the symbolism of the different animals interesting, and it would be a fun object lesson.

  5. What an interesting item and yes, children would love it. I remember being utterly fascinated by the symbolism of the Christingle too and I've never forgotten it!x

  6. A bargain indeed. What a beautiful find.
    Love from Mum

  7. What a lucky find, maybe it was just waiting for you.

  8. It's quite amazing! Is it actually silver?

    1. no Floss- sadly just brass- but it has polished up so well it looks really good.

  9. What a great find. What a beautiful story it tells.


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