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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

amish grace

I picked up a film this past Christmas for my wife.

I bought it to go along with a book by Kraybill et al on the same theme: the Amish school shooting of 2006 in Nickel Mines, PA.

The title of both is the same - Amish Grace.

Not having heard anything about the film, since it isn't a Hollywood release, I was taken by surprise.

The acting was so real that, at times, I felt I wasn't watching a movie anymore, but looking in on actual events through an open window.

The script was top notch. The cinematography was excellent. Direction was crisp and the pace of the film perfect.

The movie does not dwell so much on the actual shooting of the ten schoolgirls, five of whom died, but on the emotional aftermath of the terrible act.

It shows you that, yes, the Amish community chose to forgive the killer (who shot himself) and to love and embrace his wife and children. But it also shows you it wasn't always easy. The Amish are not stoic chock-a-block religious monoliths - they are human beings who weep and agonize as we do. It's just that they go to a deeper place with God than most when they suffer. And, above all, they constantly challenge themselves to live like Jesus.

The movie was so well done that I felt the emotional impact for days afterward. I still feel it as I write this.

It would be a strong enough story even if it were fiction.

The fact that the shooting actually did occur and the Amish, including the parents of the slain girls, actually did respond with forgiveness instead of vengeance, with the love of God instead of hate - especially when they had every reason to indulge in wild grief and fury and hardness of heart - makes this one of the most important films I have ever watched. Were I still pastoring at the present time, I would build a whole worship service around the viewing of the movie.

It is an astonishing story.

I offer it to you as an important gift. If you have ever suffered acutely, in particular over things that made no sense in their cruelty and which, despite hours of prayer, could not be undone - if you have ever been badly hurt and had, or still have, trouble forgiving, yes, even forgiving God - if you wonder what it means to love the unlovable and forgive the unforgivable and to do so in the spirit of Jesus - please find this movie and put aside a time of quiet to watch it.

And let me know what the movie has meant to you by simply writing a comment below this blog.

in Christ

Murray

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