What is the difference between poetry and a short story
The Difference… about Prayer | Professions for PEACE
In Goethe's poem the difference between pagan and Christian is crucial for the plot, as the new faith uproots the old connections. Only a pagan is able to communicate with the dead. Goethe doubles down on the fact that the family is both Christian and baptized. They are committed Christians, zealots like those today that call themselves "reborn". Thus, the family is not happy (jovial) about their guest, similar perhaps to an American ultra-Christian family having to entertain an atheist or Muslim today.