Did you hold the hand of someone you love on Valentine’s Day? I hope so. Holding hands says we enjoy each other’s company and cherish our time together. But what if those emotions could be captured in a way for all to see years later? Then take a trip to the Cades Cove Primitive Baptist Church in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and look up at the wood-planked ceiling. Cove residents established the church in 1827, and the current framed structure was built in 1887. On the ceiling are the carpenter’s handprints in sap where he set each board in place. Most likely newly cut trees taken to the area sawmill were used, and the carpenter endured the sticky sap of green wood to build a gathering place for folks to worship God and enjoy each other’s cherished time together. From personal accounts of that period, the building and fellowship provided a way forward after the violent and divided years of the Civil War, a harsh time for the cove.
Our lives can become just as fragmented, but an everlasting hand and way forward are within reach. Psalm 37:23-24 says, “The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand.”
How did you celebrate Valentine’s Day?