Sunday, November 6, 2011

“Amish Grace”

Amish_old_and_new
Isn’t this the way we think of the Amish?  Being passed by progress?

Our family’s history tracks back into Switzerland in the late 1600’s. My Beloved Husband’s birth and adopted emigrant ancestor was named Hans Jakob – one Graf, the other Pleickensdoerffer (as written on a lease in the Palatinate after their move.)  Both were called Anabaptist. Both were followers of Menno Simons.  Both Mennonites and Amish have roots in the Anabaptist beliefs.

Both the Graf and Pleickensdoerffer families had members who were persecuted for their religious beliefs.  Both had members who emigrated to the new colonies between 1690 and 1734, both seeking religious freedom.  Both families spent time in Lancaster county, Pennsylvania, then both families moved on into Ohio in the early 1800’s

I thought of how closely aligned they were to those followers of Jakob Amman, and how the Amish have retained the outward separation, while most of we Christians decline to consider:

Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, (2 Corinthians 6:17 KJV)

Read the verses around that one.  Become familiar with the reasons God breathed them, inspired Paul to write them. Matthew Henry’s commentary describes it as staying away from infection, “for fear of taking infection.”

All of that – and much more – went through my mind as I cried my way through “Amish Grace.”  Do you remember the horror in 2006 when Charles Roberts shot the school girls? I did, and I think the movie well presented the story.

Forgiveness. Offered out of pain and sorrow, with understanding that holding on to anger destroys more than had already been destroyed. Isn’t this a display of Christ’s meaning:

Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again. (Luke 6:36-38 KJV)

Why, then do we cling to perceived slights?  Why do we hold grudges until they become part of the structure of our lives?  Every unforgiven thing in our live becomes a boulder we use to fence ourselves in – and another person out. 

Is that the way we want to be judged?  Forgiveness withheld? Or forgiveness given, that “it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over”!

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