New things I learned and experienced this summer #3

the oak tree is Salm

My co-leader, Wilmer Martin, introduced me to this wonderful story that took place in the hills of Alsace, France in 1793. The Amish had moved into this remote area because of severe persecution in other areas.

During the Napoleonic wars, Napoleon’s generals were out scouting the countryside for recruits to conscript into the army. One day a French military officer came up through the mountains informing all men that they would need to be armed in preparation for military duty.  Amish bishop Jacob Kupferschmidt invited the officer in to have lunch with them. While they waited during lunch preparations, the bishop asked the officer if he could sing one of their songs for him.

After listening intently to the hymn extolling Christ’s teaching on peace and nonresistance, tears flowed down the man’s cheeks.  When the meal was over the officer arose from his chair, shook the bishop’s hand and said, “If you take care of your farms we’ll take care of the war.”  With a song the venerable man of God had won an unofficial variance for his congregation, which was later officially approved when several Amish leaders visited the governing Convention in Paris.  The result was the issuance of a document which did exempt the Amish from military training but not from noncombatant duties. In 1794, in commemoration for God’s answer to their prayers and the military exemption, Bishop Kupferschmidt planted an Oak tree at the edge of his woodland which he called, “The Peace Oak.”

[Adapted from an account written by John Ruth]

What can our small acts of resistance to the powers do in our day?