|Martha and Joseph are old order Mennonites who live on a farm in New York state with their family, and like the Amish use horse and buggy when traveling. |
I am filling in for Jean this week and telling you about how we celebrate Easter.
Throughout lent all our evening Bible readings and prayers is about Jesus suffering for us. We also think if we have offended or sinned against something. If we have we should ask that person for forgiveness. We encourage our child to do the same. Also, as we adults give to charities, help others, - we ask the children to do kind things for others. Maybe a child will do a chore that they know their brother or sister doesn't want to do. Because one of our daughters does very well in Math at school-she helps another student with the subject. They really are not close friends, but the student needs help and she gives it.
In our schools or homes we do not believe in bunnies, Easter Baskets (although we do have some candy), etc. Our feelings are they have nothing to do with God, but man created. In school the students may draw pictures of Jesus on the cross or His suffering in the Garden, but nothing from the outside world. With children, especially little children we want them to understand that this is a sad time, but don't want them to be sad or afraid. We want them to understand that Jesus did this for us and we should be happy that He did. During Lent we honor Him for doing this.
Good Friday, we do no chores except milking the cows and feeding the animals. We fast on Good Friday morning. Of course, if you are ill or have to eat for medical reasons-you are allowed to eat. Not all Old Order Mennonite go the same way. I am telling your what our Old Order Mennonite, do. I make breakfast for the small children. Our school is closed today. On this day, only those that have been baptized can attend the meeting. Our oldest children that are not baptized watch the other children while Joseph, I and our baptized children attend meeting.
We are at our meeting place at 9:00 AM. Our Preachers start with Bible readings and sermons. Then we are asked if anyone has a sin or offended someone-if so we are to ask that person to forgive us. All of us are asked at once-not by individual. Any of these should have been settled before meeting. I have never known anyone to say yes. If anyone had a problem, it should have been taken care of during lent. After that we have washing of the feet. Men was men feet and ladies wash ladies feet. If Jean and I were there say I would wash her feet and she would wash mine. This is to remind of us of when Jesus washed the feet of his apostles. Also it reminds us that we should be humble. After the washing of the feet, we have communion. In order to receive communion you must be baptized and as close to without sin as a person can be. No one is completely sinless. After communion the preachers read of the Crucifixion from the bible and base their sermons on that. We pray in memory of what Jesus did for us on the cross. Meeting closes after 3:00PM-as 3:00PM represents the time that Jesus died on the cross.
When we get home, we do not have dinner until 6:00 PM or after. In the evening bible reading and prayer is still of Jesus dying for us. We thank Him for what He did for us who are so unworthy. Saturday we do our chores and prepare for dinner on Easter Sunday. We do all the baking, defrosting the meat, etc. Anything I can prepare that day, I do.
Easter Sunday we get up, door the chores that we had to do, and have a quick breakfast before meeting at 9:00AM. That day we have hard boiled eggs as part of our breakfast. These eggs are to show that He has risen and a time to rejoice. That Jesus is solid, we can count on Him at all times. We do not color our Easter eggs. Meeting this morning is one of rejoicings that Jesus is risen. Our who family attends this meeting. After meeting we return home and have dinner at about noon. It is just our immediate family. We usually have ham, turkey, sweat potatoes, mashed potatoes, salads, rolls, relishes and of course pies and cookies. None of our cookies have a bunny or other earthly image in them. We usually have some candy, but it is egg shaped in honor of Jesus. After dinner we have Bible reading and prayer on the happiness of Jesus.
On Easter Monday we have family and friends. Our school is closed that day. We have another big dinner at noon time, usually at our house, where our family and friends are welcome. The children play and we folks talk. Sometimes we go visiting those that are home bound. It is a great day of thanksgiving for what Jesus did for us-we are to rejoice. We only do the chores that we have to on that day. In the evening sometimes the children get a group together to go house to house singing to those that are home bound. I make up plates of candy, bread, Cinnamon rolls, etc. so the children can give them to the people they sing to. Our Bible readings and prayers are for rejoicings of Jesus.
We feel that we should be humble and remember that Jesus died for us all year through-not just during lent and Easter. Also, we should remember all that Jesus has done for us and given us. We ask so much, but do we always thank Him for what He has given us? God Bless you this Easter,