I don’t recall ever before relishing so much those first warm sunny days of spring. After wiping so many tears from little boys who wanted to play outside when it was simply not practical to spend hours in freezing temperatures, we won’t take beautiful weather for granted right away. A couple of weeks ago, one Sunday afternoon, Daddy suggested that we build a little fire in the back yard and roast hot dogs and hamburgers, topped off with roasting marshmallows for s’ mores. We were all tickled pink. The wind was a bit chilly, so he set up a piece of plywood to ward off at least most of the wind. As we sat together enjoying the fire, I told him that I could feel the chill of winter melting out of me; for me, there is nothing like a cozy crackling fire to relax and unwind. When I was a young girl, I especially enjoyed times with God, next to a fire. Somehow it just felt like God was right there — no doubt He was, but we don’t always feel it as a reality.
My favorite quiet moments with God are now my walks in the evening after supper. Since the weather has been so pleasant, I also enjoy sometimes taking the children with me on walks in the afternoon sunshine. They love rides in the double stroller or just running off all their pent up energy. The country road we’re on is only graveled and is quite practical for walks.
We are taking a turn hosting services at our schoolhouse, which is only a skip and a hop from here, so the children and I have taken advantage of walking to the schoolhouse to clean and get ready for services. The highlight on the children’s side is, of course, the swing and slide rides after Mama is done cleaning. While we enjoy hosting services at our house, it seemed like the practical thing to do to have it at school this year, since the option was available. Hopefully, next time it’ll work out to host it at our house.
Now talking about church reminds me of another question that came on the mail from Pittston, Pa., this week. Thanks, Ronald, for taking the time to ask. So the question was, “When you worship, do you have have a reverend officiate?”
Yes, we have ordained ministers who lead out in services and do the preaching. While they also take the lead in making decisions, they are not considered superior or better than anyone else. They live out the calling they have of servant-hood leadership, as they call it; called to serve the Lord as leaders. The other brethren in the church also participate in sharing devotionals, leading songs, or giving testimony. Hey, we’d be tickled to have guests, anyone is welcome to come to join in for our Amish church service!
If you come, you may even get the chance of sampling our ham and cheese sandwiches with peanut butter spread, which is used in hundreds of Amish churches across America.
If you like, you can always substitute the pancake syrup with real maple syrup for a healthier twist. Sweet or dill pickles are generally served with these sandwiches as well. When I was a little girl, in the large Amish community in Holmes County, Ohio, we used to also have pickled red beets along side our church sandwiches. An assortment of homemade cookies along with coffee and tea finish this traditional Amish church menu.
Church Peanut Butter Spread
2 1/2 cups peanut butter
3 1/2 cups marshmallow cream
1 cup pancake syrup
1 stick softened butter
3/4 teaspoon vanilla or maple flavoring
Mix all together.
Add hot water until desired consistency is reached.
Gloria Yoder is an Amish mom, writer, and homemaker in rural Illinois. The Yoders travel primarily by horse-drawn buggy and live next to the settlement’s one-room school-house. Readers can write to Gloria at 10510 E. 350th Ave., Flat Rock, IL 62427