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Circling the Square

Beating the Bounds 2019

Posted by Bill Lovell on

Several years ago, I was visiting London on Ascension Day when I had the chance to observe an ancient custom called "Beating the Bounds." I can't even remember which Anglican church I was visiting, but I'll never forget the Vicar saying that, for almost 800 years, Christians had marched around the church's parish boundary praying and witnessing to the Lordship of Christ. 

I was deeply impressed as maybe thirty people walked around the ancient landmarks of this one small corner of London. At each of a dozen stations, the Vicar would stop and talk about the history, and some of the modern significance, of the spot where we stood. We carried long, thin rods which we beat against the pavement. Bystanders listened and watched with interest. I enjoyed it very much. 

The idea has always stuck with me. Back in 2015, I floated the idea of doing our own simplified and reformed version of "Beating the Bounds" at Christ Church Carrollton. Several people expressed interest, and we've done it every year since! For me, it's become something I very much look forward to, not least as an opportunity to make myself think about the place where God has placed us. 

This year, on Thursday, May 30—just a few days from now—we will once again walk around our "parish," ie Old Downtown Carrollton, to pray for all those who live, work, play, pray, or do business here; we'll stop at several stations and reflect on what has happened here over the past 175 years and what is going on today; and we will think of how we at Christ Church can serve our neighbors as witnesses to Jesus Christ.

It's not for nothing that this ancient custom is observed on Ascension Day. It's on Ascension Day—forty days after Easter and ten days before Pentecost—that the resurrected Jesus ascended into heaven and was enthroned at his Father's right hand. We are reminded each year that this same Jesus reigns over all the earth—not in a merely symbolic way, but in a very concrete way—right here in our neighborhood! 

Please join us in the church on Thursday, May 30, at 6:30pm as we once again Beat the Bounds in Christ's name! May Jesus be glorified in all we do!