Today was a day abundant in answers to prayer!
Last night we realized that we’d forgotten to book a room for tonight, and the pension where we were staying was already full. Not only that, but an annual violin concert series was starting today, so every single room in all of Oettingen and probably in the surrounding area was full too. So it was either stealth camping… or pleading in church for refuge for pilgrims. We figured we’d try the latter, and started praying that God would prepare someone’s heart to help us out.
The five of us went to worship this morning in the aptly named Jakobskirche (it’s on the Jakobusweg, i.e. Santiago de Compostela) and on the way out laid our sad case before the pastor. He scouted around a bit and eventually in turn laid our case before one Herr Reichert. This good man offered to walk us over to his neighbor’s house since she rented out a vacation apartment from her home, but we were not optimistic, since we had been assured that the whole town was booked. So it was. Undeterred, Herr Reichert took us back to his own beautiful ivy-covered home, sat us on the terrace with about six different things to drink, and called for his Frau. She came out, they discussed the matter at hand, we assured them we were glad to sleep on the floor if they could just find us a roof over it, and finally they said, apologetically, that we could stay in their spare room, as long as we didn’t object to it not being a proper hotel. Oh my, did we ever NOT object! We were thrilled and said so. (And actually their house is much nicer than last night’s pension.) We had a good time talking and Frau Reichert told us that Lutherans and Catholics believe absolutely the same thing, the only trouble is not being able to take communion together. So clearly a good spot for ecumenists to land.
That arranged, we jogged back to the pension, packed up, and then went out to a park to celebrate our son’s 5th birthday–delighted that we were all able to be together on his big day. Lunch, cake and candles, presents (Playmobil pirates figured significantly), and then another goodbye. They are getting harder to take, fortunately this one is only for four days.
Back at the Reicherts’, after a few hours of being mainly inert, we wandered downstairs to enjoy more conversation with Frau Reichert, a spontaneous Bach toccata played by Herr Reichert (30 years as a church organist!), and a proper Bavarian Brotzeit with the two of them. I take it that this is something like English teatime, a late-in-the-day light meal, with bread and cheese and meat and perfectly fresh tomatoes and the local beer. Then they took off for the infamous violin concert that landed us in their home in the first place, but since we are back on the road again tomorrow we decided to make it an early night.
God answered our prayers far more abundantly than expected! Lutherans seem to be bred with a stoic bashfulness about asking too much of God. Perhaps we should learn to expect more.