We have a huge gift in the reporting of the executions at an Amish school in Pennsylvania this week. We are getting, at least through NPR, what I think is a good view of the Amish life and spirituality. Of course, the Amish don’t allow their pictures to be taken or their voices to be recorded. Yesterday I heard that some had reported that this will reinforce their desire to remain separate from the rest of society. Of course, as we learned from the movie, The Village, there is no way to safeguard ourselves from the influences of the world around us. Yet, today, I heard a very interesting report on the Amish Community’s reliance on mental health services in this situation. They are somewhat reluctant to engage in therapy or get help from outsiders who may try to sway them from their Amish values and community life. However they have a relationship with a counseling center nearby that was begun by the Mennonites. The Mennonites share the spiritual values and religious views of the Amish, though they do not remain separate from the rest of society.
So … here’s the part that I think is the gift. In the NPR report, they were reporting on the kinds of concerns the Amish were taking to the counselors. They were concerned about how and what to tell the other children … they wouldn’t be hearing about the shooting in the media, afterall. They wanted to know if they should send the kids back to school. And they wanted to know what they could do to support the family of the killer. That’s right. There’s the gift. The Amish are all about community, and they are pacifists. Those two things, I’m sure, have taught them the importance of forgiveness and reconciliation. They are so good at it, that one of their first concerns is to reach out in compassion and care for the wife and family of the perpetrator.
This is an example of the kind of Kingdom love I know in Christ. God Bless the Amish for this vivid example of forgiveness and compassion.