Hear Ye, Hear Ye
By Lois Parker Edstrom
Object suggested: A bell with handle, if available, and a scroll
Picture of a town crier
Can you imagine a world without newspapers, telephones, radios, television, or computers with email and internet connections? Many years ago, when none of these things existed, people received news from town criers. (Show picture of town crier.)
Town criers, also called bellmen, were men who knew how to read and write. (Many of the people at that time did not read or write.) When there was news the town crier would come into the town square, ring a bell to get everyone’s attention and then read the news in a very loud voice. (Unroll the scroll and demonstrate if you wish.) These town criers would bring the news from the king or queen or the mayor of the town.
Town criers dressed in fancy clothes, as you can see in the picture. They usually wore three-cornered hats, knee pants and leggings, shoes with big buckles, and a jacket decorated with braided trim.
After the town crier read the news he would nail the document on the wall of the village inn, next to the door where everyone could see it, even though most of the town’s people were unable to read it.
In the Bible Jesus talks about getting news to the people. There was a man who was very ill and had acted strangely for many years. Jesus healed the man and the man was able to have a normal life. The man was so grateful that he wanted to be near Jesus and he begged to follow him. Jesus said to the man,“Return to your house, and declare what great things God has done for you” (8:39).
Jesus wanted the man to go to his home and tell the people the good news. He wanted the man to share with the people how he had been healed so they would know about God’s goodness.
We all have an opportunity to be like town criers and tell others about the good news of God’s love. We don’t have to stand on the street corner or in the town square, but we, at any time, can tell our friends and family how much God has done for us.
Scripture quotations from the World English Bible
Copyright 2008, Richard Niell Donovan