The Amish stand out in this world for many reasons. One is their reverence for the Sabbath day.
This is something that even those who know little of the Amish are aware of. Even their “No Sunday Sales” business signs advertise this key belief.
While most Christians shift gears and attend church on that day, Amish take it further, both in degree, and in their vigilance for keeping the sanctity of Sunday.
I have observed how Amish keep the Sabbath holy in many ways. On Sunday, Amish may be reluctant to travel, do more than the absolutely necessary chores, even to accept food paid for on that day by non-Amish people.
Here is a guiding passage from the devotional Rules of a Godly Life:
On the Sabbath especially take note of the wonderful works of God; of the creation and governing of the world, and of our Redemption. Make the Sabbath a day of prayer, of listening to and studying sermons; make it a day of holy thoughts and holy conversation. In this way you can keep the Sabbath holy, as is so often commanded in God’s Word. If one does not keep the Sabbath holy it is certain that he will also take into contempt all the other commandments of God.
I’ve been fortunate to spend numerous Sundays with Amish, in church and out. I can say there is a peace and calmness that settles upon otherwise bustling Amish homes on this day. A busy culture grinds to a halt, and thoughts turn to God and family (even moreso than the norm).
The Amish yardstick
What does keeping the Sabbath holy mean to other Christians? The answer is less clear. What about beyond the obvious admonitions to treat the day as one of worship and rest? Is it okay to watch television, or phone a friend on that day?
What about eating out?
Individual Christians will have different responses to those questions (some Amish even might). For example, I usually don’t call Amish friends on Sunday, when Monday would suffice. But I’ve never really given a second thought if I feel I need to ring up non-Amish friends. I guess that makes me less devout than the average Amish person, but I think I knew that already.
When you spend a lot of time learning about a religious group like the Amish, you inevitably drift into using them as a yardstick against your own life. I think that can be healthy, but to a degree. I’m not Amish and won’t ever be. But at least the Amish example gives me something to think about.