Community is something we have learnt to treasure more in a post lockdown world. The Amish community are put on a pedestal by many, an ideal that many people aspire to emulate. In reality none of us really want to live without electricity and a car. I am also aware that the picture postcard version of the Amish is not the whole story, but I do feel there are some lessons we can learn from them.
I’ve recently enjoyed watching a documentary series about some eager Brits who tried their hand at Amish living. I felt quite inspired by their community spirit and the massive achievements made when people pull together as a team. Some people even think we’re Amish, but let me clarify that we aren’t!
We’re simply Christians trying to live in the way God has called us to live. I believe God has a plan for each of his children and it is unique to them. There are Biblical principals though which help us to live a joyful life. One of those is the church community supporting one another and that is something the Amish seem particularly good at.
With that in mind I came up with an idea to develop relationships within the church community whilst helping our vegetable garden to grow. With the help of the children, I have managed to keep on top of growing the seedlings and the greenhouse, but planting them out, digging in the muck and weeding was way beyond my physical resources. So I asked my more physically able friends if they would enjoy an afternoon gardening followed by a barbecue, which I could manage to pull together. Lots of friends came along and we had such a lovely afternoon, full of nourishing conversations and much work was accomplished. The children ran and played, whilst the teenagers and the adults worked together. I was shattered afterwards, but a lot was achieved and it’s definitely something we’ll do more often. When the apple harvest comes we’ll need enthusiastic pickers and juicers and then then they’ll be the muck spreading later in the year. I’m sure I can come up with many working parties to draw us all together 😊.
Since then we have also been blessed to have visitors to stay with us. This week we have 7 friends staying and they are such a huge blessing to us. Again our vegetable garden is thriving due to their hard work and our children are having a fantastic time as they run around with one another, under the watchful eye of a particularly gifted young helper.
God clearly knew I needed the rest and has sent me so many wonderful helpers. I’m really not a very gifted vegetable gardener, and Phil is too busy with the animals, the building project and his full time job to get digging. The children help to a great extent, but the older ones are busy with schoolwork and jobs away from home and so that leaves us somewhat short on muscle power. Without friends we would sink, but then God knew that and made us part of his body, one which I am privileged to see working.
The Amish know the value of teamwork and it’s something our culture has lost. Most people live in relative isolation, exacerbated by the lockdowns of the previous two years. The gift of community has been eclipsed in a world of individualism and fear. It didn’t happen intentionally, but small changes in society have gradually stolen the old ways of working together.
We don’t have any plans to run a commune here, but we can embrace aspects of community living, and in doing so draw people together in a world that is falling apart.
We pray that God may continue to use our home for his glory and we delight in those moments when we see the vision he gave to us, of people working here together, unfold.
Sending blessings to all our readers near and far.
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