"...Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good."
Down against the southern edge of Pennsylvania sits the little hamlet of Honey Brook. It's Amish country. Schoolboys in black hats walk along the roadside. Girls in starched hats and aprons sit on milk cans at the end of a farm lane.
My Christian friends, Amos and Hannah Stoltzfus, and their many children, had invited a group of us to their home for dinner. We drove to their farm, following the country road that wound through rows of corn. We passed a white dairy barn, a buggy shed, and then stopped at the back door of their farmhouse. Amos and Hannah welcomed us in out of the cool, fall night into their cozy kitchen.
After a delicious Pennsylvania Dutch dinner, the family pushed back the table and brought out benches for a hymn-sing. Sitting straight-backed, hands on knees, and facing each other, the Amish folks and a few of their Mennonite friends launched into a rich and rigid harmony on a couple of old German hymns. What a glorious night of fellowship!
As we left their farm that night, I realized that we had everything in common with our Amish friends. How people dress, the way they talk, or the fact that they drive a horse and buggy instead of a car, doesn't matter. What counts among friends is the heartfelt hospitality, the smiles, the singing of a hymn that warms the spirit, and the dear embrace from a brother in Jesus who really means it. The Amish are called the "peculiar people" from the King James version of Titus 2:14--oh, if only the rest of us were so peculiar!
Help me, Lord, to be one of Your peculiar people zealous of good works.