A fine elder British gentleman carried the silver Cross along the Nave, as white-robed choir members followed. Someone held the ball of incense, swinging it to and fro on its chain. The three children watched intently in hopes that the ball might do a full swing round, in a circle. Grandma had said that it might, but alas, it did not reach such lofty heights today. Still, it was pretty, made of polished silver and giving off lots of smoke along the way. Then, the Cross, the choir, and the incense disappeared through a door and was lost to sight.
It is a splendid moment at the Parish Church, one of the many St Ives moments I was eager to share. In the Anglican church, incense represents the 'Prayers of the Saints' - a lovely thought! In some churches, the incense ball is perfectly enormous and swings from high up in the rafters. One must have one's wits about them when that ball heads their way. I would love to see something as grand as that. But today's incense was no less significant for its smallness. No one's prayers are bigger or more important than anyone else's.
We were given a hymnal and service sheet as we entered, with a whispered, "There is a children's corner at the front, if you like.." The corner was situated just in front of the front side pew, wonderfully stocked with toys, books, and much more. It was a massive hit! and a sweet example of the welcome we found in that place.
At the end, we were plied with tea, biscuits, and questions as to where we live and what we do. Stories of trips to the States were shared ("It cost $1.3 million dollars to pay for my health care on our vacation to Florida! The Americans did a wonderful job keeping me alive.."), as well as the intriguing prospect of a 'Home Swap' with one parishioner. A HOME SWAP!? What do you think of that? A new approach!
The SconeLady can always use a new approach when it comes to St Ives. Oh boy - visions of sugar plums are already beginning to dance inside my head. Just the prospect of staying in a real Cornish home in the country, with a garden and a chair and a cup of tea!
Possibly, probably, Paradise.
See you along the way!