No sooner had we arrived in our new Pennsylvania home than tragedy struck our neighbors to the west – the Amish of Lancester County. Reading a story about the aftermath of the shootings this morning, I was stricken by the resolve and strength of these humble people. And by their ability to forgive:
John said he wouldn’t do a television interview. The Amish believe pictures are a sign of vanity, and pictures on TV are an even worse way of indulging in the evils of the world.
But John was willing to talk about the horrible school shooting that brought so much evil to this peaceful world. “We’re very concerned that no message of revenge gets out,” he said. “We believe in forgiveness.”
In a day when the name of Christ is bandied about to justify the prejudices and bloodlust of so-called “christians,” it is remarkable to see an unspeakable horror met with forgiveness. Grief, to be sure, and disbelief, are present as well. But how actually Christ-like that the community’s grief includes the family of the shooter.
I had heard that some people from the Amish community were perhaps going to meet with Marie Roberts, the gunman’s wife. John assured me that would happen soon, if it hadn’t already.
“They need support, they need help,” he said. “We will send them flowers.” He expressed concern about how difficult it would be for the three Roberts children when they return to school.
Would that all Americans shared this spirit.