The melody is traditionally thought to have been taken from one of my favourite classical oratorios, Handel's Messiah. The lyrics that correspond with the melody are also inscribed on a plaque in the Big Ben clock room and are as follows:
All through this hour,
Lord, be my guide;
And by Thy power,
No foot shall slide.
I am enthralled by tradition; I love digging deeper into the significance of ceremonies, hence to me these lyrics are no coincidence but are purposeful. The Big Ben was part of a new design to reconstruct the ruins of the old Palace of Westminster after a fire. These words to me seem rather apt, pleading God for His power and guidance through the fire, to remain unharmed.
What a prayer! A good reminder that we need God's guidance in every area of our life, every hour. Not only to help us in times of trouble but also to equip us to steer clear of temptations. Today, the Big Ben chimes every day, every hour to the melody of those same words, but only to be ignored by the ears of the millions that hear it each day. I can imagine its frustrations as it desparately tries to get the message across to a generation and society that is in need of it. Sadly, they are also ignored by the Members of Parliament who have chosen to reject God's guidance in the laws, values and principles they enforce or advocate!
The next time we hear the desperate chimes of the old Big Ben, may we remember to seek God's guidance, the only One who can keep our feet from stumbling. May the Big Ben not chime in vain!