I was so chuffed to be asked to be an Ehrengast at the harvest festival, and I was up and ready, Dirndl at the ready by 7.30 on a cold September morning. I’d been to this before as a member of the TrachtenFrauen, so what goes on is already recorded in the blog link below!
I envied those who had shawls that morning, rather than my thin jacket. We paraded from the Gemeinde up to the Church and piled in. We guests got left at the back, so we didn’t get a seat, so I was at the back standing on a cold floor that got me even colder!!! The service was full of all the bells and incense and ritual. The church was filled to capacity, as Linda said harvest is one thing that still has some meaning to the community today, we reckoned 75% of Ramingstein was there!
So is there a relevance for people today in this? Obviously in the people packing the church, and for those sweet Kindergarten kids singing at the front, it is part of their childhood , and maybe this is adulthood will be something firm and sure they can look back upon. I was bowled over by the sweetness of the harvest hymn as the gifts were carried up, something done this season all over Europe. The churches aren’t decorated here like in the UK, and they don’t do the flowers except for weddings, shame! The church does need to meet the new era, but at the same time give a firm foundation in culture, as I’ve said before how many people in the UK go to a harvest service? I don’t know what the solution is.
Then as the Servers were throwing the incense around, something caught my attention on the stone pillar in front of me. On it, was the fossil of a large worm, a bit like a grub and I could see other shapes in the dim light. You don’t often see them in the stone around here. Then I took in the craftsmanship on , delicate lines and crosshatching. Below this I noticed how soiled the pillar was, there must have been more than two hundred years of people leaning on it and there clothes over time rubbing off. How many people over the years had traced the worm and wondered? The church was then itself the pillar of the community, we’re just a blip in the longevity of it all. How do we keep it there?