The Justice Tour for 2013 has now drawn to a close but that does not mean we have the mind set of, “been there, done that.” This was our 4th Justice Tour. We have traveled to Washington, DC twice and to Atlanta and Plaines, Georgia to meet with President Carter. All of these trips have been exciting in their own way; they each stand on their own, especially when we met with President Carter. That was pretty cool. There is just something about this trip; this one trip has really made a huge impression upon us all.
Faith is a gift that grows and the Amish folks we met helped all of us grow in our faith. Their dedication to God and their commitment to be Christ like is always in the forefront of what they believe and who they are. They wear plain clothes and use horse and buggies as their transportation. They avoid anything that would make them appear as if they were competing with each other; my car is faster and cooler than yours, my hairstyle is the latest, my cell phone is the hottest with more apps than other phone, etc..
The Amish do not allow electricity to be connected to their homes. In doing so, that would open the door to allowing technology into the home and the modern, outside world would enter the home as well. Families would not gather together as often as they do now. Phones ringing, televisions playing, computers computing and Play Stations gaming would become part of the norm. They place a huge value upon their faith, their families and creating a Christian home. The most important piece of furniture in the home is the Kitchen Table. That is where the family gathers to share in conversation, to laugh, to eat or to play a board game or two before turning in for the evening. They get up early to start their day and the children help with the daily chores; milking cows, feeding livestock, cleaning up the barn, etc.
Church doesn’t mean having a building to go to on Sunday mornings; church is held at the homes of the people in your community of faith. If it is your turn to host the church service, you may have 150 people or so visit you on that special Sunday morning.. You would work hard to clean house and prepare your home to be transformed into a place of worship. The Church Wagon will show up at your home on the Wednesday before the Sunday Service. It is filled with benches, plates and dishes; everything to make an Amish worship service complete. Singing of hymns and two sermons; one around 20 minutes and the other close to one hour long is what worship is about. There is no Sunday School or Children’s Church, everyone participates in the service, people worship together as a family.
The Amish value humility, submission to God, community, simplicity, being thrifty and family. They do without the use of technology that we value very much as being what helps us to live. They do not want to be a slave to technology. The Amish live without, in order to live. They put faith and family at the center of all they do. The kitchen table is the key to a new way of life. I have never thought of it that way but it makes sense. They want their children to stay close to home, the further out they venture, the stronger the temptations. Everyone dresses the same, rides in the same type of buggy, is loyal to the church, works hard and takes pride in what they do and they love God and they love family. When one farmer is sick, the community will pitch in to help him out until he is able to get back on his feet. If a building burns down, the community pulls together to build one in its place. By working together, they can raise a new barn in about 9 hours. They work together to solve problems instead of talking about the problem and waiting for somebody else to fix it. Words like me, I and they are replaced with we and us.
Romans 12:2, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” They take verses like this one to mean they are to be different, not only in thought but in their actions and dress.
What are we taking away from our visit? OK, I’m not too sure we can live without all of the technology. After all, the youth have lived with technology all of their life. They do not know a different way to live. Strike that one off of the list. But, there is this Amish Peace that is weighing very heavy. Faith and Family are important because they have been passing on the faith all of their lives. But, there is one common denominator that we all have. Maybe it’s time to think this through and clean off last week’s mail that has piled up. Maybe it’s time to use the kitchen table like the Amish. I hear that it works pretty well.