lived in Alabama,
we would often visit an Amish community just across the Tennessee state line, near
Lawrenceburg. We would go from house to
house where each Amish family would have something for sale. One house would be selling
cookies, eggs, or bread. Another would
be selling furniture. Still another
might be building carriagesâ€”always black.
One one occasion, a friend
and I watched several Amish men as they were building a carriage. We both felt comfortable with one particular
gentleman. Finally I said, â€œYour
carriagesâ€”they are always blackâ€¦â€ He
laughed and then said, â€œYes, if they were different colors, we would be
standing here thinking about what color the carriages needed to be, now wouldnâ€™t
we? Now we know. They will be black.â€ Then we all laughed together.
about some of these memories recently in
the aftermath of the school shootings.
Five children killed. Five others
wounded. A tragic and horrible day in a small Pennsylvania community.
was not all of the story.
in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, have been amazing. They very quickly expressed their sympathy
for the killerâ€™s family. On the day of
the killerâ€™s funeral, forty people gathered for the funeral, including this personâ€™s
three children. Then, thirty of the Amish
showed up at this funeral, joining these forty.
They were there to console this family.
One observer said, â€œIt was deeply movingâ€¦.
It was a display of Christâ€™s love as Iâ€™ve never seen it.â€ The same person went on to say, â€œThe love
expressed by this community is uncommon.
The most moving thing was to see the love and grace extended by the
On one occasion, a reporter asked some people in the community, regarding the killerâ€™s family, if
they thought the family would have to move elsewhere. One Amish gentleman quickly jumped in with
his opinion, â€œWe need them here. We need
them to be here so we can hug them and take care of them.â€
press has had great difficulty understanding these people. Yet, one student of the Amish people explained it
As do other Anabaptists, the Amish
take the life and teachings of Jesus seriouslyâ€¦. Their model is the suffering Jesus who
carried his cross without complaint. And
who, hanging on the cross, extended forgiveness to his tormentors, â€œFather,
forgive them, for they know not what they do.â€
Donald Kraybill, www.philly.com,
have now gone by since this incident. We
have all had the opportunity to watch these people as they responded to such a
tragedy. What are you thinking? What has impressed you most?