living witnesses … witnesses to life

living witnesses … witnesses to life

From today’s news outlets …

By Michael Rubinkam: In Amish village, forgiveness lives

Just about anywhere, a deadly school shooting would have brought demands for tighter gun laws and better security, and the victims’ loved ones would have lashed out at the gunman’s family or threatened to sue.

But after the slayings of five children in a one-room schoolhouse, the Amish people in Nickel Mines urge forgiveness of the killer.

“They know their children are going to heaven. They know their children are innocent … and they know that they will join them in death,” said Gertrude Huntington, an author on the Amish from Michigan and an expert on children in Amish society.

“The hurt is very great,” she said. “But they don’t balance the hurt with hate.”

By Chris Francescani: “Shoot Me First,” Amish Girl Said to Ask

The oldest of the five Amish girls shot dead in a Pennsylvania schoolhouse is said to have stepped forward and asked her killer to “Shoot me first,” in an apparent effort to buy time for her schoolmates.

Rita Rhoads, a midwife who delivered two of the victims, told ABC News’ Law and Justice Unit that she learned of 13-year-old Marian Fisher’s plea from Fisher’s family.

What’s more, Fisher’s younger sister, Barbie, who survived the shooting, allegedly asked the gunman, Charles Carl Roberts IV, to “Shoot me second,” Rhoads said.

“They were amazing,” Rhoads said, “absolutely amazing. There was a tremendous amount of calm and courage in that schoolroom.”

“Marian, the oldest one, did ask to be shot first,” Rhoads said. “The faith of their fathers really was embedded in them.”

This is genuine faith! living faith! faith that is more than window dressing, faith that is more than a self-serving security blanket. This is faith that transforms human character, substantial faith that is passed on from one generation to the next, faith that has moved well beyond fear and foreboding, faith that is a living witness to the grace of God, faith that is a witness to the preciousness of life in all that God has made, in every creature God has made, in every human being made in God’s own image. This is love in action: love for neighbor, love for enemy, love for God that means what it says!

O God, be merciful to the families of the girls who have died. Be merciful to the family of the man who took their lives. And be merciful to us whose faith is so often tentative and timid and disengaged …

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