It may be a biased opinion, but I think that Bryson City is one of the most special places on the planet. In addition to the natural God-given beauty of the mountains and rivers that surround us, the people make this place uniquely special.
Though we may approach our faith walks differently, we are bound together by the bond of God’s love and grace. One of the greatest ways I have personally experienced this bonding and strengthening of the body of Christ is through the Holy Week luncheons. During these daily gatherings, held this year on March 21-25, we experienced unity in community in profound ways as we enjoyed good food, enriching fellowship, and encouraging faith development.
Each day a different church served up a delicious meal and devotional. The devotional messages were connected through the passion of Christ and offering different insights into the unfolding story of God’s love at work in the world. Each message complemented the others connecting the Gospel message of hope throughout the week. Every day reminded me of one of my favorite Bible verses: Psalm 133:1 (KJV)
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!
This bold statement is simple, yet is deep in meaning. I considered how the text speaks about the Holy Week gatherings. “Behold,” literally means to stop and pay attention! It’s not something we do very often, or do well. Without stopping, we often miss something important and God’s blessings certainly rained down on us during Holy Week in Bryson City.
“Good and pleasant,” certainly describes the demeanor of everyone who participated in the gatherings. It was a blessing to look around at the love being shared among the entire body gathered together. “Brethren” and “dwell together” in the context of our gathered community, insist that everyone is considered part of the family. The Psalm speaks of family values that hold true in the greater community where the portrayal of God’s family as the true definition of familial reality and the true source of blessing and life.
“Unity” is not as common as we might hope. As I have talked with pastor friends in other places, the beauty of unity experienced in our community is not shared in many other places. We have such a special blessing here is Bryson City – life with each other!
Psalm 133 is an appropriate psalm for the season of Easter during which we especially celebrate the reality of a life-giving power that both transcends and transforms human efforts and human structures: the resurrection of Jesus as a demonstration of God’s love. The message of Psalm 133 reminds us that community unity is a joyful, even a holy, thing. We are blessed to live in a community of faith where together we are reminded that God is with us. Thanks be to God.
This article was originally written for the pastor’s column in the Smoky Mountain Times.