God, the all-powerfuly deity, is a vengeful God, a loving God, and what I’m learning with every passing year, a needy God.
He likes, or needs, constant reassurance, acknowledgement and, in olden days, sacrifice.
Which is what Oberammergau is made for… the acknowledgement bit although their meat dishes are also delicious.
The good burghers of the Bavarian town have been running a Passion Play since 1634 when they made God a bribe.
To hold a Passionsspiele https://www.ammergauer-alpen.de/oberammergau in his name if only God would just stop smiting them down with the Black Plague.
Good as his word then the Great long-bearded, white-robed, sitting-on-a-cloud One then spared them the Plague.
Oberammergau is on the eve of its latest iteration of Passionsspiele http://passionsspiele-oberammergau.de which is held every ten years.
And its shops are pedalling religious memorabilia, walking sticks and crosses that the world’s most famous carpenter, sorry Gepetto, would have been proud of.
Oberammergau is a constant reminder, whether you’re in Passionsspiele or not, of the Plague.
They are beautifully displayed on the intricate murals of its walls and its fountains.
Which is why it’s surprising that the church I pop into, the Lutheran one, is so minimalist.
Half a million people will attend Oberammergau which has become even more inclusive in modern times.
With input even from Muslim artistic creators.
You’ll need to get a shoogle on to get tickets.
Pilgrims book well in advance for the Play and accommodation is limited.
The Play’s the thing
If you can make it, and My Dear Old Mum and my Godmother did, then it will be memorable.
But if you can’t then Oberammergau is still a captivating visit any time.
And if it’s on the 150th anniversary of its fire service then you’ll know it will go with a bang.