The third time the car broke down Saturday we pushed it off the road and into the laneway for the church in Riedlingen – a town I had driven through but never found any reason to stop.
Older churches here come in two varieties: Catholic or what North Americans call Lutheran. Many of the Lutheran ones were Catholic until the sixteenth century, when there was a seismic theological shift in much of Germany.
With more than two hours to kill to wait for the tow truck, I took a quick look inside the church. I must admit I probably won’t do it justice – there would be room in the tow truck for two of us, and we were three. My mind was fixed more on how to get home from an area with no bus service than to appreciating this church. I probably missed a few things.
I’ve seen dozens of area churches in the past three years, and to me this looked typical. I thought it might be 13th century, though a look online tells me it is older. Not as old as Sulzburg’s St. Cyriak though. That church remains the oldest in the area at more than a thousand years.
It is a simple place, as most Protestant churches are. My guess is there are hidden frescoes under the paint that were covered almost 500 years ago. Other ornamentation would have been removed at the same time.
Every little town in Germany has a church like this one. In many it is still the focus of community life. There was a rock snake by the front door, just like the one the children of Sulzburg did as a joint project when separated by COVID-19.
The second time the car broke down yesterday I was saying to a friend that this wasn’t the way I had expected to spend my day, but that I could see some good coming out of the situation. I used the cliché: “Man proposes and God disposes.”
The first time the car broke down yesterday was a perfect location. Not for us, but for a Syrian refugee family who arrived at that spot while we waited for the auto club mechanic to arrive. They were in need of immediate assistance – which we were able to arrange. If we hadn’t been there at that time, their day would have been much harder, to put it mildly. God was looking out for them, even though they don’t yet know Him.
We got home much later than planned Saturday. This wasn’t the post I had planned for today either. But I wanted to let you see this church in Riedlingen while it was still fresh in my memory.