Amish Church Singing

Nostalgia is a file that removes the rough edges from the good old days. ~Doug Larson

 
On a late Sunday morning, around the time many Amish church services have progressed to the last "song", I am listening to Amish church singing or chanting, which sounds much like a Gregorian chant. The German songs from the book called the "Ausbund" were written by our ancestors back in the old country, often while they were imprisoned for their religious beliefs. 
 
Listening to these Amish chants reminds me of what it was like to sit in an Amish church service. I found the singing to be the best part of the services. I felt they connected us to our ancestors. Because the tunes are slow, unaccompanied by instruments, and joined by nearly everyone, the chorus of varied voices has depth to it — the kind that allows for deep thoughts, even while joining in with the singing. It gave me the feeling that the culture was going to be like this for many generations, because change was so slow, it was nearly imperceptible. I used to feel connected to other Amish everywhere during the second song called the Loblied (Praise Song), because I knew that in every other Amish church service in our time zone, they were singing the same song. I used to wonder what would be like to hear them altogether, as I imagined it would be heard in heaven. 
 
I will never forget, how on a rainy, late October day in 2005, Amish men sang by my mother's graveside, as the pallbearers lowered her body into her grave, and then filled the grave, one shovelful at a time. It felt as though the pallbearers were tucking her body into her final resting place as the singers were sending her soul off on her journey.
 
In the wake of the news last week of the struggle an Amish community in Missouri is going through with sexual abuse, I need to remind myself of the things I miss about Amish life. There was definitely the dark, secretive side that one tried not to dwell on, especially if there was no way to change it, but there were also the parts of the culture that had that community atmosphere. Hearing the church singing evokes the nostalgia for the feeling I used to have in an Amish church service — a connection to the past, present, and future. 
 
Earlier I wrote about other aspects I miss about Amish life. See also Homemade Fun.
 
I will have much more to write about the abuses I know exist among the Amish, but on a Sunday morning of reflection, I pause to remember a few of the good parts of my childhood and young adulthood.

6 thoughts on “Amish Church Singing”

  1. Hi Saloma –

    When we become disillusioned with a way of life, there’s always something positive that triggers nostalgia. Perhaps that element keeps us from feeling like the entire experience was a waste of our lives.

    I’m so glad God takes our difficult circumstances and turns them around for our good.

    Blessings,
    Susan :)

  2. Susan, thank you for your comments. I learn more from my hardships than I do from the easy times of my life. Hegel claimed that the peaceful times are the empty pages of history. I think of that as a metaphor for life in general.

    Katie, I do have a recording of three songs on a CD that I bought from the Menno-Hof in Shipshewana, Indiana. If I could figure out how to insert a song on my blog, I would share them. There is no copyright on this CD, and it seems as though someone recorded it in a group setting, perhaps inbeknownst to the Amish. It really takes me back.

    I also have another CD from the Amish Mennonite Heritage Center in Holmes County. That one actually has Amish preaching on it, too.

  3. Katie, I know of a few videos of Amish singing that a former Amish guy posted on youtube. I tried to find an email address for you at your Pinecraft blog but didn’t find anything. I will try putting a couple links here, if Soloma approves (and it works!)These are from a youth singing, but similar enough to church singing that you’ll enjoy it.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=08z3HeojaXM

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rTHj4c_8wb8

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UrC9rtzgnjk

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1NyG1XZAASs

    Richard

  4. Richard, I don’t know how to make the links “live” in the comments section of a blog. If anyone knows, perhaps we can make them hyperlinks, so that one only needs to click on it. I know you can copy these into your browser, but it would be nice if they were live.

  5. Oh, I was going to ask for links to Amish songs but I see that someone has posted some already. I will listen to them later, I have always wondered what Amish singing sounds like.

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