Tonight, I’m writing about living in harmony with one another – well, that part comes later. To start with, as you know, I drove down to southern Indiana last night and stayed at the New Harmony Inn – a quaint, quiet nice inn located in, you guessed it, New Harmony, IN. This is a place that I have heard about for the thirty years or so that Janet and I have lived in Indiana. People have encouraged us to visit the Inn, as well as the Red Geranium Restaurant that is located on the property, but for one reason or another, Janet and I have never made the trip.
When I looked at the map, I know why. New Harmony is in Posey county, which is in the very southwest tip of the state; where Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky all come together. The town lies very close to the Wabash River and was one of the primary reasons that the town actually came into existence in the early 1800’s. It seems that a community of devout people of German ancestry, from Pennsylvania, were headed west in search of a more isolated place where they could enjoy a somewhat communal style of living – sharing with each other as each had need.
The idea was that the town would be constructed on several thousand acres and in a symmetrical pattern that would be the envy of towns all across America. Started in 1814, education and religion were the benchmarks of the community, but it wasn’t long before those who had moved here from Pennsylvania longed to return east where they felt a closer kinship to others who had stayed behind. Therefore, the town was sold, buildings and all, to the Owen family in 1824 – for the sum of $150,000.
The town opened its arms to all who would come but it eventually came to pass that anarchy was the order of the day – there wasn’t really any government and it would be safe to say that the experiment for a “harmonic” community just didn’t work out – too many competing interests. Throughout the last 200 years, the town has progressed and is now considered a quaint get-a-way for people looking to escape the rigors of everyday life. I couldn’t help but notice the laid back community and the way that everybody seemed to be so calm.
From servers in the Red Geranium to the kind desk clerk who served me breakfast at 6:15 this morning, everyone was friendly. I was invited back several times by people at the Inn and my room was more than adequate. In fact, unlike so many of the hotels that I usually gravitate toward, my bedroom actually had a working fireplace – and I wrote last night’s post by the light of the flames. It was quite relaxing… quiet, but not too quiet and right down the street from the Wabash River.
By now, I am sure that you get the idea. Janet and I would certainly enjoy spending a night or two there – perhaps the next time I have to go down on business. But now we get to the part about living in harmony – not the town, but the condition of harmony. The Scripture is full of admonishments to live in unity and harmony with one another. This was one of the mandates of Christ. The verse for this evening comes to us from Romans 12:16, “Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.” Sounds like a recipe where everyone can live together, doesn’t it? But apparently, the sins of humans made it difficult, if not impossible, for the town to really exist long term.
But Christ has grander plans for us – my encouragement this evening is that Christ really does want us to love one another well and to live in harmony with one another. My prayer is that you won’t have to go to Harmony to find harmony. Because it is possible to live in harmony wherever you are – have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…