February 27, 2011

We are reading a very good and interesting book in the refectory: The Amish Way by Donald B. Kraybill. During our main meal at 12:15 we listen to a book read by one of the sisters. We take turns, reading a week at a time. It is amazing how many books you hear in the course of a year. We do not speak at meals; breakfast and supper are in silence. The book we are currently reading is about the Amish. I am struck by some of the similarities we share with them. Separations from the world, community, forgiveness, simple lifestyle, discernment about how to use new technology etc. and the importance of prayer are all common ground. I can't say that we go as far as they do with their choosing not to use electricity but we do choose simplicity in our clothing, in furniture and lifestyle such as no TV or radio. They have a lot to teach us. They have a communion service twice a year. They will hold the service when every adult member can say in their hearts that they hold nothing against anyone in the community. If even one member can't say this then the communion service is postponed and the differences are worked out. Only then will they proceed. Sometimes this can take weeks. Forgiveness is primary in community. Sometimes I am amazed when someone says to that they just can't forgive someone. For a Christian this is pure folly. Jesus makes it very clear that we are forgiven in the way that we forgive. When a man went into an Amish school a few years ago and shot several Amish children, that Amish community immediately reached out in forgiveness, forgiving the man and reassuring the man's family of their forgiveness. They do have a lot to teach us.

Sister Maggie