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A Trip to Amish Country


It is early Sunday morning, and I am sitting in a quiet hotel atrium, decorated beautifully for Christmas, drinking coffee. The ground outside is covered with snow and it is still snowing—which makes the outside as beautiful as the inside.


We have spent the last couple of days with wonderful friends in Northern Indiana’s Amish country. Since meeting the amazing guy I call Sweet Husband, almost forty years ago, I have spent much time here. I have learned about mush, eating noodles and mashed potatoes at the same time, Amish peanut butter, a card game called Sets & Sequences and “road apples.”


Speaking of road apples, one of the first conversations I remember hearing in one of my first trips here, years ago, was a discussion on which animal provided the best fertilizer for flowers—horses or cows. That was something I never experienced in my hometown! I do not remember the conclusion but the flowers here are beautiful in the spring and summer so I would have to vote for the horses’ road apples being the best.


Quilts are treasured in this Amish / Mennonite community. Many are passed down from generation to generation and given as gifts on special occasions. As I sit here this morning alone with my thoughts, on the wall in front of me hangs a beautiful quilt. This is an amazing demonstration of vision, skill, patience and combining fabric of unique sizes, shapes and colors together to make a stunning display.


Yesterday, Sweet Husband shared his heritage with our friends through a couple of unique experiences. This morning, one comment made by two different people in two separate locations is resonating as I look at this beautiful quilt. Let me share that comment and you will see why I am captivated by this quilt today.


Yesterday afternoon, we visited Menno-Hof in Shipshewana to learn about the history and fascinating world of the Amish and Mennonites. At the end of the tour, our guide shared about the differences between the churches and said, “Our worship services are different, but we all serve the same Jesus.”


Last evening, we had dinner at an Amish home, including mashed potatoes and noodles, and it was delicious! At the end of dinner, our gracious Amish hosts, Barb and LaVern, spent time answering questions about Amish life and faith. Barb stated, “We may have a different lifestyle than you, but we all serve the same Jesus.”


This morning, “we all serve the same Jesus” keeps running through my head. No matter what we look like, where we live, what our heritage is, what our political beliefs are, Jesus loves us and wants us to love and serve him.


The Bible tells us in John 3:16:

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.


Whoever—

>that means you

>that means me

>that means people who worship singing a cappella in four-part harmony

>that means people who worship singing traditional hymns

>that means people who worship with guitars, drums and worship leaders with tattoos and skinny jeans

>that also means people who are not yet worshipping Jesus.


Jesus loves and died for us all. Why do we put people in boxes?

What might happen, in our divisive world today, if we simply love those around us, as Jesus loves them? How could our world be different if we would reach out in love to all the varied sizes, shapes and colors of people we live and work around? What kind of stunning display of people sharing God’s love could be created?


Jesus tells us in Mark 12:30-31 about the two greatest commandments.

1. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’

2. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

There is no commandment greater than these.”


The quilt I am looking at across the hotel atrium this morning has many assorted colors and shapes. To be honest, some of the colors I would not have put together and there are straight lines of fabric in several unusual places that are unexpected in a quilt design. When all of the difference pieces are put together, the end result is beautiful and unique.


If we would love as Jesus loves, think about what an amazing “quilt,” we could create in our little corner of the world. The colors would be vibrant, the design unique and it would be a priceless work of art.

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