I always like being out and about in Amish communities on Sunday morning. It’s a peaceful time on the roads, which are often full of buggies and people walking to church service.
Don Burke recently visited a Missouri community and captured some of those images, which he paired below with a special selection from the Psalms. Here’s Don with background on the photos and his inspiration for this piece.
In February I made what was intended to be a quick two or three day trip to Jamesport, Missouri, in the hopes of getting some Amish-related winter pictures. But winter weather prolonged my stay an extra couple of days, which meant that I was still in Amish country on Sunday morning. So with camera in hand, I headed out about 8:00 in the hopes of catching a few Amish buggies making their pilgrimage to worship.
Back in the olden days, another group of God’s people (the Jews) would make regular pilgrimages to their place of worship – Jerusalem. As they traveled, the initial small groups from the distant corners of the nation grew larger and larger, with groups merging and other individual and families added along the way. Then as they proceeded along the final leg (which began at the base of the mountain upon which Jerusalem sat), the group would join together in singing the Psalms of Ascent (Ps 120-134), recounting the blessings and protection that the Lord had provided, and the joy of belonging to Him.
Today the Amish come together from the corners of their church districts in much the same way. It seems that in many ways Amish worship has the same focus as those worshippers of yesteryear: Highlighting how God has provided and protected –through the past week as well as through the past centuries – and the joy of being a part of His family. As such, it seems most fitting to set selected passages used by the earlier travelers to these pictures of the Amish on their Sunday morning pilgrimage to worship.
I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth. (Ps 121:1-2)
I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the LORD!” The families go up, to give thanks to the name of the LORD. (Ps 122:1, 4)
To you I lift up my eyes, O you who are enthroned in the heavens! (Ps 123:1)
As the eyes of a maiden to the hand of her lady, so our eyes look to the LORD our God, till he has mercy upon us. (Ps 123:2)
If it had not been the LORD who was on our side when people rose up against us, then they would have swallowed us up alive, when their anger was kindled against us; (Ps 124:2-3)
Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth. (Ps 124:8)
As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the LORD surrounds his people. (Ps 125:2)
The LORD has done great things for us; we are glad. Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy! (Ps 126:3, 5)
Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain…. Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! (Ps 127:1-5)
Blessed is everyone who fears the LORD, who walks in his ways! (Ps 128:1)
The blessing of the LORD be upon you! We bless you in the name of the LORD! (Ps 129:8)
I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I hope…. For with the LORD there is steadfast love, and with him is plentiful redemption. (Ps 130:5-7)
Let us go to his dwelling place; let us worship at his footstool! (Ps 132:7)
Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity! For there the LORD has commanded the blessing, life forevermore. (Ps 133:1, 3)
Come, bless the LORD, all you servants of the LORD! (Ps 134:1)
May the LORD bless you from Zion, he who made heaven and earth! (Ps 134:3)