Sunday Morning: Traveling to Church (16 Photos)

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.

line-of-buggies-missouri

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)

hill-perspective-jamesport
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)

front-view-buggies-jamesport-mo
To you I lift up my eyes, O you who are enthroned in the heavens! (Ps 123:1)

buggy-rear-view-mo
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)

young-lady-walking-jamesport-amish
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)

winter-travel-jamesport-sunday-morning-buggy
Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth. (Ps 124:8)

jamesport-carriage-in-snow
As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the LORD surrounds his people. (Ps 125:2)

line-of-buggies-missouri
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)

jamesport-amish-buggy-cresting-hill
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)

father-and-son-walking
Blessed is everyone who fears the LORD, who walks in his ways! (Ps 128:1)

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The blessing of the LORD be upon you! We bless you in the name of the LORD! (Ps 129:8)

mo-amish-buggy-sunday-am
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)

amish-church-service-missouri
Let us go to his dwelling place; let us worship at his footstool! (Ps 132:7)

buggy-turn-jamesport
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)

congregating-before-church
Come, bless the LORD, all you servants of the LORD! (Ps 134:1)

buggies-at-amish-church-missouri
May the LORD bless you from Zion, he who made heaven and earth! (Ps 134:3)

horses-feeding-jamesport

You can see other pictures taken that Sunday morning here and here

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24 Comments

  1. Linda

    Thanks, great pictures, great Scriptures.

  2. Gayle Grabowski

    I really enjoyed how you put this together! This post has become one I will refer to when I need to be reminded of His love and mercy. Thank you so much for sharing. I trust you are safe, and hope spring is starting to show its face where you are!

  3. Juanita Cook

    Loved seeing the pictures and reading the scriptures that was used with each of the pictures.

  4. Thank you...

    Erik, thank you for this opportunity to share the intersecting of two of my greatest passions — my love of scripture, and my interest in the Amish. As always, it’s an honor to be a contributing part of Amish America.

  5. randy

    Traveling to Church Pictures

    Don, as a fellow photographer, I enjoyed looking at your pictures.

    I am so looking for some new ways to simplify my life. In fact, just lately we moved from a large city to a much smaller top and we now actually live in a log cabin on almost 5 acres of wooded hillside. My family and I were so tired of big city living. We are “Christians,” but … I am still hoping to find something that will move me more inside myself. I can see the “logic” of believing in the Bible, but … I really want to “feel” more, something to become more involved in, esp. something “from the heart.” Your pictures help me to see what others are doing more plainly. Thanks for sharing.

    randy

    1. Naomi Wilson

      Randy, I just want to encourage you to keep seeking after the truth. My husband and I were in a position just like yours. We had moved back to our home state after several years in Miami, Fl and bought a homestead on three acres. The Lord brought a long series of failures, disappointments, and realizations into our lives, so that several years ago we decided to place our faith entirely in Jesus Christ, and accept that God’s word as revealed in scripture is literal (not allegorical as we had previously believed) and inerrant. Total peace and security came into our lives, and shortly thereafter He led us to a (plain Anabaptist) Christian church of born again believers.

      The New Testament emphasizes over and over that the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God, and that salvation comes from God in response to the faith of the believer. When the Holy Spirit enters your life, you will know!

      Peace be with you.

      1. randy

        Naomi, thank-you for your reply

        Naomi:

        Thanks so much for your encouragement. Another issue I have is lack of patience. It’s not that I “want everything now,” but … well, I know I need much more patience. Also, I feel like I’m at times a “captive” to the TV & the computer. I know I need to “take some time off” from ’em. Another thing i’m so looking forward to is to see spring coming in here. I know it’ll be beautiful … and we have a large porch, a couple of rocking chairs and a couple of porch swings, both of which I’m sure will be much used.

        randy

    2. I hear you, Randy...

      Randy, thanks for your kind remarks. I can relate to your thinking vs. feeling description. I am by nature far more the thinker than the feeler, and often my “Christian service” can tend to be more mechanical than relational. When that happens there is still the “blessing” of avoiding all the consequences of sin and wrong choices that go with it; but until we get relational, the warmth of feeling important to someone (or, Someone) we genuinely highly esteem — what, that just goes missing.

      Sometimes there is a need to de-clutter (as you say you’re doing), or at least re-prioritize. Just this week I worked through prioritizing a Responsibility List for myself, and was somewhat ashamed that I find that I spend so much time and effort on low priority things and leave the greater things hanging.

      And remember this, too: Feelings always follow our thinking/choices — and not vice versa. “Stink’n think’n” will produce stinky feelings. But letting our feeling pull the train is a bad decision as well. If we get our head wrapped around the truth and commit our thinking and choice to following that truth, then in due time the feelings will follow right along. As I often say, feelings make a great caboose, but a lousy locomotive.

      If you would like to talk to me in private about some of this, feel free to email me at OzarkInspirations-at-hotmail-dot-com.

      1. randy

        Thanks to Don

        Don:
        Thanks for your input. I do appreciate it.
        randy

  6. randy

    Correction to prior post

    Above I said in part “… to a much smaller top …” and meant “town” instead of “top.”

  7. lincolnlady1121

    Really beautiful pictures and I really enjoy the scriptures with them. It makes me stop and think. Look at life different.

  8. Naomi Wilson

    Thank you for this post. It made for a nice devotional with my children this morning.

  9. ShipshewanaIndiana

    Great pictures Don. Thank you for sharing them with us!

  10. AlmostAmish

    Sunday Morning Traveling to Church photos

    I can just feel the peaceful crispness of the air in these photos. Thank you so much for sharing them with us! I can only imagine how wonderful the day was for them as they traveled to spend Sunday with family and friends!

  11. Jerry

    These are really good photos. They capture the spirit of the day. In pic #13 is that building on the left a school or a church building or both?

    1. Building...

      Jerry, I assuming that you’re talking about the picture with the green-roofed barn on the right. To be honest, I don’t know for sure what that building is — but I’m almost positive that it is neither a school nor a church. As best I can tell from looking at my pictures and Google Earth, it’s just one of the buildings on the home place where the Amish church service was held that day.

  12. Kathy Rowe

    Thanks for sharing the photos Don and Erik. I enjoyed them!

  13. Peaceful images and thinking

    A wonderful photo essay! I’ve seen but not photographed Sunday evening trips when the young join together. So different and yet the same!

  14. c.j.

    Beautiful

    Loved the photos and scriptures that you have put together. Thank you for sharing your gift! Blessings…..

  15. Alice Mary

    As usual, I sure feel for the horses. That hill looks so steep!

    Beautiful photos & meaningful scripture…an inspiration, for sure. Thank you!

    Alice Mary

  16. Loretta Shumpert

    Many thanks

    What a blessing to me this morning to read these scriptures before I start my day, along with photos that “put me there” in my mind. One verse in particular will stick with me and I will ponder it and allow it to comfort me as I seek to live each day for the Lord.

    Thanks Don, thanks Erik for all that you do.

    PS Erik, what is meant by “Notify me of new posts by email” (I’m already getting each post by email.

  17. Don, I really love these photos & scriptures… You should create a book. Just lovely!

    1. Thanks...

      Thanks Kim — and thanks EVERYONE — for your kind compliments.

  18. Adair

    These are wonderful!