Nickel Mines

‘And Great Grace Was Upon Them All’

I’m reading this morning in Amish Grace (pp. 20-21) about the day of the horrible tragedy a year ago in Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania. On the morning of October 1 last year, twenty-six children between ages six and thirteen read from the Scriptures to begin their day in the little one-room school house in Lancaster County. The text was Acts 4:32-33. It ends with these words, “and great grace was upon them all.” Surely great grace was on this little community in how they would handle the horror that would unfold in the next few hours. As I mentioned yesterday, while no one can be prepared for such evil, I can’t help but feel that somehow this community was as prepared as any community could be.

That day they stood and repeated a prayer most of them would have had memorized since they were five, a prayer they said at meal times, and bed times, a prayer that we know well. One whose words contain this simple line, “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”

After the reading and the prayer that morning, the children sang two songs. One was to the tune ofBind Us Together with Love. The song was sung in German. Its words go like this:

Consider, man! the end,
Consider you death,
Death often comes quickly;
He who today is vigorous and ruddy,
May tomorrow, or sooner,
Have passed away. . . .

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