Friday, 23 February 2018

And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

This text from 1 Corinthians 13:13 has been in my mind today.  I'll tell you why.

I have a savings and a checking account  with the Everence Federal Credit Union (formerly known as Mennonite Financial Services), at the branch located in the Pinecraft area of Sarasota.

Pinecraft is the heart and centre of Sarasota's Amish/Mennonite population.

That population is swelled in the winter months when many northern Amish retirees become snow-birds!

No Horse and Buggy Amish here, instead they ride bicycles and tricycles.

(The popular lore is that Amish people ease up on their rigorous disciplines when they are here:  "What happens in Sarasota stays in Sarasota!) 

Naturally many of them do their banking at Everence.  I was there this morning, and boy was there a line, and a long wait.

One young man was at the counter for ages.  It seems that he was transacting a cash transfer with a very new cashier/teller who was unsure of some procedures and had to have frequent conversations with the only other teller/cashier on duty.

Ahead of me in line was first an Amish Man, then a Mennonite or Amish Woman, then another Amish man.

The two Amish men chatted in a delightful combination of old high German and English.

The Amish are very reserved in their encounters with non-Amish people  (they call us "the English"). (Remember their history of being persecuted by other Christians - no wonder they are reserved in our presence).

And Amish/Mennonite people are generally very gracious, so there was next to no grumbling about the long line.

The Amish man ahead of me was unusually "chatty".  I told him that I am not a very patient person, but that when I am in long lines (such as at the Bank this morning) I pretend to be patient, and in that pretense I become patient: ("fake it until you make it!")

He told me that Amish snow birds in Sarasota have a very relaxed way of life 'cause they do not need to be in a hurry about anything.

We left the Bank at the same time.  I told him that today is the birthday of my dear niece Anne whose life exemplifies faith, hope and love.

He responded "and the greatest of these is love".

What a glorious response. A conservative Amish man and this somewhat liberal Episcopalian Priest were brothers in faith, hope and love at the Bank today.

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