So where's the snow?

Muddling through in Austria; God, life and a small black dog

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What a weekend! Sunday


Those happy, dancing, Samson feet!

So on to the last service for this year in the Catholic church at Mariapfarr.  It was here I came to realise how I enjoy the services here far more than in our usual chapel in the Old people’s home.  Maybe because it’s used mostly for funerals?  It was pouring with rain but it didn’t dampen spirits.  Heidi took the service and she repeated the reading from 1 Kings 19, v1 -18 that Tadek did earlier in the summer. He had concentrated on the need for a break and time to listen to God.  Heidi took the line of after the break you need to come out of your cave and do God’s bidding after you’ve  heard his word. She also used some songs that had familiar tunes but German words.  For the first time since I’ve been here, I felt fed and filled with the peace of the Holy Spirit after and during  a service.  I was ready to take the reins up again of this life. We all chatted and went home in the rain.  Dave and I were going to go to the horse fair in Mauterndorf, but apparently the parking was chaos, so we went and exercised the sofa for the afternoon. The phone rang in the evening and Dave’s Dad is in hospital with a chest infection.  Getting better though.  So I opened my big mouth and said have you considered that we’re a bit unfair on your family leaving them with all the responsibilty for him?  But if we were to move back, we could be just as far away travelling wise if we were in Wales for example, after all we can do door to door to the UK in eight hours.  Then he could just die and we’d  have burnt our boats. We managed to conclude we must talk to his brothers first. Kevin does seem to like the caring. As soon as we started discussing this, my stomach began to knot up, maybe I don’t want to go back as much as I thought!

Monday: So as it rains I am sat here, with the smelly dog peacefully sleeping at my feet –she’s in no hurry for a wet walk.  I’ve been writing this all out.   Dave and I must talk about  recommitment.  We’ve been asking for signs and instructions and we have been given them, just I was too dumb to read them the right way.

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An Austrian Chapel


As I’ve said, in the summer, we are allowed to use the Catholic Church in Mariapfarr each Sunday for a Protestant church service and I always enjoy the beautiful light.


This is especially with this heatwave.


I have a principle that I will not photo a church as an object of purely touristic record, but only when something moves me, or shows the wonder of his glory and works.


It was so last Sunday in the little St. George’s chapel.  I could have photo’d the medieval paintings on the wall, but the light through the windows just blew me away.


Jesus is the light of the world, this is all a touch of his hand.


Looking out of the chapel into the main church, my dear neighbour Lynda sitting in the pews!


Such a shame this table was covered with plastic!

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The World day of Prayer

Ich war fremd und ihr habt mich aufgenommen

I guess I was feeling a little sore from having just lost the job, it had in many ways suited me, my last day in the evening, it was the International day of Women’s prayer.  For some obscure reason it’s always held in the Crypt of the church in Mariapfarr.  No heating, underground and a bit grim.  It’s also the war memorial and there is this stunning crucifix, its draped with pieces of leather which are slowly drooping. Its atmospheric  and sad, just like the loss of war. The service was run by the local Catholic ladies and there were only three of us Protestants there!

The service did go on a bit long and the lady (Barbara) next to me, who had got the bad deal of being next to the damp wall was more than ready to go to the Agape meal. I had brought her and Linda over from home, quite a little gang, it felt like a little bit of serving God for me. There was another car of ladies from Ramingstein and we all sort of congregated together.  As we left the Crypt, a white haired lady who I’ve seen quite a lot around the village came up and grabbed my arm and said how pleased she was to meet me, having already met Dave loads of times in the Garden centre. She was so kind and interested.  So we all sat in a group and tucked into the bread and spreads, there was much excitement about the Quiche, seems no one makes them much here, now I know what to produce to impress folks!  It was a general chat, then we somehow got onto the subject of not sleeping well, someone said salt under the tongue went well. Another how she goes into the kitchen, and another suggested that the best cure was to go to Church, everyone dozed off there sooner or later. Much laughter. We talked about baking, various neighbours , my Wuhlmaus eating the garden.  It is difficult to pick up dialect when there’s so many people were chatting but I felt a part of them.  On the way out one of our group, a little like my Mum, also grabbed my arm for support.  The whole evening had me overwhelmed by the love of these ladies.  It was like being surrounded in a loving, Godly circle and I felt included and loved. Maybe this day of prayer takes many different forms.

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The Chalice

During the summer our local church runs special services  in Mariapfarr for holiday makers.  We get mostly Dutch and German people and they get anything from deeply traditional to new services.  It’s in the Catholic Church, which has plain glass windows and we sit right at the front by the altar.  I always find the light there wonderful and its a lovely altar when you ignore all the Mary pictures!  To the side is a St George’s chapel with real Medieval pictures.  I think its a bit disrespectful to take pictures of a church as a tourist would, but when there’s a thing of beauty that reflects his light I feel ok.  The trouble is my picture above just doesn’t catch the yellow and pink dappled  summer light trickling into the chapel, maybe will try again next week!

This week was the first service and our Pastor got late because he forgot the Communion Chalice.  When this was explained to the Caretaker, her response was, no worries, we’ve got plenty here.

I could feel the years of persecuted Protestants shouting yes, and jumping with joy.  Not so many centuries ago, this would have been a heresy, enough to have one arrested or drummed out the village. We are moving on, Praise God!

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Frohnleichnam or the Feast of Corpus Christi

Sometimes, I just don’t think things through properly. I’ve been so wanting to get to know people and mix in and thought the Trachtenfrauen was a good group to join.  They were great, even finding me a Dirndl that I can wear until September when there’s a big swop meet and I can get a traditional one.  All the week before the first outing, I guess I was freaking out a bit about wearing this thing in public – I am surgically attached to trousers, having fat legs and am life-long tom boy!   I even kept it secret from Dave so I didn’t have to put it on for him to see it beforehand, what a twit I am!!!!!

The day before, I thought, lets see what this festival is all about.  As I read, my heart sank.  It’s only about one of the main theological differences between Catholics and Protestants, what the dickens am I doing associating  myself with all this?  I’m on the local church PCC,  and I just cannot agree with this festival. It’s not even biblical, some saint wanted to celebrate the event of the first communion being made, and with all the fuss of Easter and Pentecost, asked the local Bishop who agreed to a Mass and Procession. When this Saint died, another asked for it to be extended to all the Catholic church and so it was.  It involves the Priest under a canopy trotting around the village to set points, holding a Monstrance with a host in front of his face.  I don’t think he can see where he’s going at all.  Being Austria, they also shoot the cannon as the priest prays.  Each station has a set reading from the gospels.  They also cart a statue of the Virgin Mary along, which is completely silly -she wasnt even there!  Linda told me earlier it had to be carried by Virgins who had to wear a special outfit…………

I was in a right state by the evening before, and went to Linda for advice.  Quite sanely, she said the group has helped you get the kit, you’ve said you’ll go and you must try it.  Test how you feel and what God is saying to you.  She is right, my neighbour in the group knows I’m Protestant. It was the right decision, so the next morning at 7.30, I was ready to go……….

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We went to church at Mariapfarr last Sunday, where the Protestant church has a holiday service during August for the holiday makers – and in the Catholic church too!  It was a lovely morning, the light in the sanctuary and the flowers are always beautiful.

I find the sermons difficult, but when we got to communion there were some new faces as we formed a circle at the altar.  A couple came up very slowly, he was being supported by his wife, as he had a walking stick and his hands were shaking.  As the pastor began, she burst into sobs and everyone just froze. I didn’t know what to do either and during the communion I prayed in tounges for their healing.  We then returned to our seats and at the end of the service the couple left and wandered to the back of the church.  I wanted too much to go and offer to pray with them, but oh, the flippin language.  No one went after them, then a lady who we’ve known since we were here said to me, I must talk to them. We shot off but it was difficult, the woman had her barriers up and we learnt they’d lived here for nine years and where and they know where the usual monthly service was, maybe they’d come and they left.

I was so annoyed with myself, that I hadn’t offered to pray because of the language.  But maybe it would have been too soon, this is another culture. I felt so sad that I could say so much but not in German.  I will sit down as soon as the Burg is finished and study harder.  Maybe it was too soon, and I feel we’ll see them again.

Then it dawned on me, God had sent me with one of the few people who were there who could have translated for me as as she speaks English.  Why does it take so long for the penny to drop?