Tragedy in Amish country

by Peter Hoover

The night before his execution, the Anabaptist prisoner Hans Schlaffer, wrote in 1528:

"Oh my God, how shall it go with me in the hour of my great need? I lay my worries, my terror, and distress on you. You have always been my powerful help. Surely you will not withdraw yourself from me in the hour of my greatest weakness. . . . Surely you will grant me, in the hour of my body's death, eternal life!

You have decreed that the entire Christ, the head with all the members of the body, must suffer . . . the members of his body, of his flesh and of his bones, who have become as one flesh with him. This is a great mystery in Christ, and in his church community. Now, since Christ the head lived in human flesh (but without sin) he needed to suffer and die, and we who have become the members of his body cannot do anything but go along with our head."

Like Jesus, his "wehrlos" (weapon free) followers have always suffered violence at the hands of evildoers. Is that sad? Is it sad that Jesus' body should follow its head?

Many around the world wring their hands, and even shed tears over the death of the defenceless and innocent -- this week for the Amish girls in Pennsylvania. And yes, it is sad in its own way. But what keeps right on happening is much sadder yet:

Many weep, but their children go on watching cartoons (never-ending scenes of killing, hurting, cruelty to laugh about).

Many weep, but go on supporting and justifying America's wars.

Many weep, but send their sons to fight and destroy (dropping bombs on entire cities as compared to only shooting a few children in school), while their daughters abort millions of unborn babies every year.

Violent and blood-thirsty nations -- this third generation drunk on a river of terror flowing from Hollywood, has little to comment on the death of the innocent. And that the innocent, like Hans Schlaffer, should get snatched from this dangerous life into the Saviour's presence is no real tragedy at all.

The tragedy is that of millions now shocked and outraged, only a handful, perhaps, will stop, change their minds, and set out on a different way.

On which way are you?

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