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When Christ Came to Town  

St La's Church St Ives Blog 2

When Christ came to town
Immanuel – God with us

When we are in St Ives and not worshiping with Methodist friends, we go to the parish church. It’s 15th century building gives a sense of continuity and peace, and its high church tradition provides a refreshing change from the worship environment we usually enjoy. One endearing feature is that during the communion service, instead of hearing the tinkle of the expected­ handbell, a nod is given to the bellringer ready at the back of the church, who responds with gusto by ringing the church bell to inform the town that Christ is present in St Ives! The sound of the bell merges and is lost in the roar of the sea and the legitimate business of the community and so appears to be unnoticed.
This theme is reflected in Pieter Bruegel’s delightful painting ‘The census at Bethlehem’ which imagines Mary and Joseph’s arrival to a 15 century Flemish village for Quirinius’ census with the Christ child. As a winter sunset draws in on the cold evening the townsfolk are busy with their daily tasks. A group gathered at a building are being registered and paying their taxes, a pig is being slaughtered, children play with toys on the ice and there is a nearby snowball fight. Lost in all this activity and business the holy family arrive unnoticed, moving into the town amongst them.
As we go about our necessary and legitimate daily activities it is so easy to forget the presence of God in our lives and community. Today’s work and responsibilities will make demands on our attention and energy but look out for God’s hand leading and protecting us through friends, colleagues and or circumstances
The Psalmist encourages us to:
                                Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him …..
                                Ps 37v5

To which we can respond:

                                Teach me your way O Lord
                                Ps 86v13

Robert Lucas, 26/01/2022