Well, two tramps dropped in this morning. Funny guys. Friendly too. The one was dressed up in clerical vestments. I presume, Karlstadt looked something like that. Not shaved, green stole even in this festive Eastertide and without collar, but blue shirt sticking out brazenly though his impressive grey mane probably covered a whole multitude of sins (cf. 1. Pt.4,8) still. That was the German bloke. The other – shortish, bad teeth, but wide grin, good hiking shoes – spoke English (or was it Irish?). Both looking for a baker or coffee shop. They had made their way from the station, but as it was just after 6h00, they had not struck it lucky yet. It´s no longer freezing, but at 3° it´s prudent to find a warm place to thaw out the night´s frost. So, they walked into the wide-open doors of our bookshop. There was nobody at the desk. I was busy in the chapel.
Well, it was a lively meeting once we did meet. They obviously had a whole repertoire of scenes to play out – pastoral, political, cultural and plain witty too. They were both so quick to respond, quick to test, quick to laugh, quick to pick up any cue on offer being as sober as the early hour would suggest (cf. Acts 2). So, we had our fun warm-up sparring together. I made no sales. They didn´t book a room either, but I´m sure, they will return in good time even if only to try more quirks and inklings in their impressive range. Well, on these cold days of the Ice Saints (11-15th May) it´s good to find a place like the Old Latin School, that´s open for all and everyone even early in the chilly morning. You can look forward to warmer days as the local farmer´s wisdom assures, that frost is unlikely after the holiday of Servatius:
“Servaz muss vorüber sein, willst vor Nachtfrost sicher sein.”Bauernregel
Today is the holiday of St. Servatius of Tongeren – a special saint from Armenia – working in Germany during the 4th century. That´s why the legend, that he baptized Attila the Hun in the 5th century is probably just a fable just like his illustrious family tree linking him to John the Baptist and thus even to our good Lord and Saviour. However, he was firmly on the side of St. Athanasius during that bishop´s exile in Trier. Like him and other faithful Trinitarian theologians, St. Servatius fought actively against the heretic Arians. That sure is a reason to recap this history today and hope to travel to Maastricht to see the legacy of this Saint one of these days for myself, once travel restrictions are lifted.
Until then we will wait patiently, count our many blessings and continue to rejoice in our good Lord, who calls people like Servatius to make them pillars of faith for generations to come. We sing and praise Him for His Holy Church – elect and glorious – from all nations and throughout the ages:
1 Church of God, elect and glorious,
holy nation, chosen race;
called as God’s own special people,
royal priests and heirs of grace:
know the purpose of your calling,
show to all his mighty deeds;
tell of love which knows no limits,
grace which meets all human needs.
2 God has called you out of darkness
into his most marvellous light;
brought his truth to life within you,
turned your blindness into sight.
Let your light so shine around you
that God’s name is glorified;
and all find fresh hope and purpose
in Christ Jesus crucified.
3 Once you were an alien people,
strangers to God’s heart of love;
but he brought you home in mercy,
citizens of heaven above.
Let his love flow out to others,
let them feel a Father’s care;
that they too may know his welcome
and his countless blessings share.
4 Church of God, elect and holy,James E Seddon (1915 – 1983)
be the people he intends;
strong in faith and swift to answer
each command your master sends:
royal priests, fulfil your calling
through your sacrifice and prayer;
give your lives in joyful service
sing his praise, his love declare.