Christian Faith and the COVID-19 Pandemic

Oberammergau

The Thirty Year’s War fought between German Protestant states and the Holy Roman Emperor from 1618-1648 forever altered the balance of power in Europe, but the more immediate impact to the small villages and citizens throughout the countryside was the outbreak of the Bubonic Plague. Especially hard hit was the Bavarian village of Oberammergau where one in four residents died from the “black death.”

Legend has it that the surviving citizens met within the parish church to petition God to spare them if they promised to perform the Passion Play, enacting Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, every 10th year in perpetuity. After the pledge it is said that no one else in the village died.

The first performance of the play occurred in 1634 and the villagers have steadfastly maintained their promise ever since. And while Passion Plays are performed regularly throughout the world, Oberammergau is the only place where the play is the result of a sacred vow.

There have been a few disruptions in these performances, notably during both WWI and WWII when war related casualties resulted in insufficient male participants. However, missed dates have resulted in postponements, not cancellations. This year’s performance would have been the 42nd time the play has been staged, but the pandemic that is currently ravaging Germany and the world has led to a two year postponement. There are currently no COVID-19 cases in Oberammergau, but on Palm Sunday there were 91,000 infections with over 1,300 deaths throughout the country, and local infection was believed to be just a matter of time.

Oberammergau is adjusting to a new reality. Like churches throughout the world, all religious services have been cancelled. These closures are particularly difficult for the faithful who would normally be celebrating the entirety of Holy Week culminating with Christ’s resurrection on Easter Sunday, April 12th.

In times like these people desperately seek hope and redemption, and empty churches on the holiest day of the Christian calendar are worrisome. But faith is not defined by empty pews resulting from the need for social distancing. It is a belief in the divinity of Christ Jesus and his resurrection. However dire the circumstances, God is with us wherever we are. Celebrate Easter in your heart, and just as the villagers in Oberammergau will one day resume their pledge to perform the Passion Play, so will churches again be a place of fellowship and worship.

Have a Blessed Easter and stay safe. “This Too Shall Pass.”

Gratitude: The Art of Being Thankful – Guest Post

GRATITUDE:
THE ART OF BEING THANKFUL
by
Vickie Phelps
Genre: Non-Fiction / Inspirational / Devotional
Publisher: Inspire Books
Date of Publication: July 11, 2017
Number of Pages: 92, 4.5″ x 6″
 
Scroll down for Giveaway!
This ninety-two-page gift book is a compilation of devotions, poems, prayers, and lists of things to be grateful for. The difference between having what you want and having what you need is a principle some people never grasp. In the reading of this book, you may realize you have much more to be grateful for than you were aware of.  Use this little book as a daily devotional or pick it up at random times to remind yourself that you are a blessed individual.


PRAISE FOR GRATITUDE: THE ART
OF BEING THANKFUL:
This little gem of a book arrived before we left on vacation, so I took it along. It became our shared devotional and ‘thought for the day’ outlook…and colored our time away with gratitude. This unique discovery is one to treasure.” – 5 Star Review, Amazon verified purchase 

 

GuestPost

Guest Post by Vickie Phelps

For the past year and a half, I’ve been putting together a little gift book on the subject of gratitude. It’s a compilation of devotions, prayers, scripture, quotes, and lists of things to be thankful for. Before you think that I did this to teach you something, or because I think people aren’t thankful for what they have, let me assure you that I did this for myself as much or more than I did it for anyone else. I wanted to think about all the things I have to be thankful for. I wanted to remind myself of what I have. I wanted to jot down verses and quotes that I could whisper to myself in the middle of the night or when bad times come. I wanted to list those things that I sometimes take for granted and open this little book once in a while to refresh my memory.

For many years, we have lived in a country that has been prosperous and blessed. But I think we forget just how much we do have. It’s only when we experience some kind of loss or someone close to us does that we tend to think about our blessings. Often we think of blessings as big things, but sometimes it’s the little things that make us stop and think. Like the time a tornado swept through our town and left a lot of people without electricity. Suddenly, we couldn’t brew a cup of coffee, use our hair dryer, or turn on a light. If you’re a coffee drinker, like I am, you were fretting the next morning after the storm because you didn’t have that cup of coffee to start the day. You either had to do without it, drive to a restaurant or fast food place that still had power, or maybe hook up a generator for a limited power supply. And then Hurricane Harvey wreaked havoc on the Texas coast, and we watched those people suffer great loss. And it wasn’t just our state or country, but all over the world, people were losing their homes and sometimes family members as a result of storms or some other tragedy.

All of these situations made me take a second look at how blessed I am, and I wanted a record of it. I wanted to write down my thoughts about these blessings and what I had to be thankful for. And I wanted to share those thoughts with others. The result is a little 92-page book titled, “Gratitude: The Art of Being Thankful.” I hope it will bless you and maybe you will make your own list of what you have to be thankful for.

Vickie Phelps writes to encourage, inspire, and influence. She has published 200 articles, devotionals, and essays in more than fifty magazines and contributed to several anthologies. Vickie is the author of the novels, Postmark From the Past,Moved, Left No Address, Waiting for Joy, and a devotional book, Psalms for the Common Man. Vickie is co-author with Jo Huddleston of the gift book, Simply Christmas, and Writing 101: A Handbook of Tips & Encouragement for Writers. 
 
 
 
—————————————
GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY
2nd Prize: Signed Copy of The Art of Being Thankful+ $5 Amazon Gift Card + Postmark from the Past & Waiting for Joy (holiday theme pack)
3rd Prize:  Signed Copy of The Art of Being Thankful

(US ONLY)
NOVEMBER 7-16, 2018

CHECK OUT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:

11/7/18
Author Interview
11/8/18
Review
11/9/18
Review
11/10/18
Excerpt
11/11/18
BONUS Review
11/12/18
Review
11/13/18
Guest Post
11/13/18
BONUS Review
11/14/18
Notable Quotable
11/15/18
Review
11/16/18
Review



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