As we celebrate our bounty with gratitude this week, my thoughts go back to the trip my mother and I made to Holmes Co., Ohio, in October. I was impressed by how the Amish celebrate abundance from their fields. Their produce markets aren’t just crates of vegetables, mountains of pumpkins, and offhand stacks of bagged apples. Everywhere there’s a presentation, beautifully arranged, of a sampling of everything the market offers for sale. Sure, it’s good advertising, but these presentations were so opulent, so colorful. It was easy to imagine a proclamation behind the rich displays: Look and see how good and generous God is, how much He cares for us!
Many of us decorate our porches and yards with pumpkins, gourds, or corn. I was surprised to see similar displays in many Amish yards. I don’t think of the Amish as trying for decorative effect, although maybe that’s just ignorance on my part. Knowing how they make use of everything, I wondered about them sparing even a couple of small pumpkins or squash for a yard display.
My mother suggested that maybe they take in the displays before the things go bad so they can still use them. That may be. I like to think, though, that those compact clusters of orange, yellow, and green were like small altars in tribute to the abundance of Lord and land. Maybe I was simply affected by the spiritual imprint of a largely religious community, but there seemed something sacred about the yard displays; and, for that matter, about the carefully assembled presentations at the produce stands. I couldn’t help feeling that it took spiritually rich folk to celebrate abundance in such a grand and shining way.