Friday, October 06, 2006

By Their Love

My newspaper reported this evening on the money coming into the Amish community from well-wishers. Some will go to pay for medical expenses and, it seems likely, rehabilitation care. The Amish self-insure their community, and this will be a massive expense. And, my newspaper reported, matter-of-factly, some will be set aside for the widow and children of the killer of five, likely six children from that small community.

Take a deep breath. Imagine someone coming into your church and killing five children. Would any UU anywhere comfort the widow of the killer or set up a fund for her children?

It reminds me of a song I learned during my adolescent dabbling with Evangelical Christianity, "They will know we are Christians by our love." At the time, I didn't get it, really. It was a nice enough group of kids and adults, but their God clearly didn'tseem to love a heretic like me very much and after a while, they kept their distance, too.

Now I get it. This is not about nice, and not about someone else's theology, this is about the discipline of keeping an open heart even for one's enemy, and practicing it in all the little things of life so that when 5 children are murdered in your community, even when you are hurt beyond all imagining, you can still do it.

Conservative Christians are getting a beating this week, and rightly so, and the media I watch doesn't seem to know what to do with these Amish except show their old fashioned clothes and horse drawn buggies. But I can tell that they are Christians by their love.


Turtle Mountain said...

I grew up in Pennsylvania. The Amish, quite rightly, were held in awe. Not far behind were the Quakers. (Notice that Pennsylvania is one of several in the Union which call themselves a "commonwealth", not a state.) Yours was a very moving post, Christine.

Jamie Goodwin said...

I would add that Jesus' lesson to Love your Enemies is one I struggle with very much.

It is about so much more than tolerance, acceptance, and fogivness. He asks us to love them, just as we love ourselves.