No community without unity- Psalm 133

“How wonderful, how beautiful, when brothers and sisters get along! 

It’s like costly anointing oil flowing down the head and beard, Flowing down Aaron’s beard, flowing down the collar of his priestly robes. 

It’s like the dew on Mount Hermon flowing down the slopes of Zion. 

Yes, that’s where GOD commands the blessing, ordains eternal life.”

‭‭Psalm‬ ‭133:1-3‬ ‭MSG‬‬

Of all the Psalms I have read, this may not be my favorite but it seems to be the one that I keep returning to over the years.  I remember reading it and even preaching through it the first time.  It was during a time when I didn’t see much unity in the body of Christ. If anything there was a profound lack of unity. I believe i saw the opposite of everything this psalm describes:

How depressing and ugly, when family fights.

It is like the disjointed grinding and squealing of machinery that friction has robbed of fluid motion.  Exposing the rusted, pitted metal and revealing only the robotic striving to work properly.

It’s like miles and miles of dry wasteland , scarred with channels mocking the former presence of moisture.

This is Satan’s cursed desire, a perpetual hopeless hell.

No one wants to be a part of THAT family.  Folks are trying to distance themselves from a community that is built around arguing and fighting. They don’t want to be a part of a group of people who can fall out about the least little thing (music, clothing, hair style, indoor furnishings). They want beauty and they want unity. They seek acceptance. They need true community, but what does that look like?

“It’s like costly anointing oil flowing down the head and beard, Flowing down Aaron’s beard, flowing down the collar of his priestly robes.”

The Psalmist uses two visuals to describe the beauty and functionality of true community.  First he draws on the ritual anointing of the priest, focusing not on the individual being anointed but the substance used to anoint. Oil.  Scripturally, oil is a representation of the Holy Spirit. It implies the presence of God.  Oil marks an individual or object as being set aside for special purpose..sanctified if you will.  Healing is also connected to oil in combination with prayer.  In James 5:14-16, you see all of these concepts working together.

“Is anyone among you sick? He should call for the elders of the church, and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. The prayer of faith will save the sick person, and the Lord will raise him up; if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is very powerful in its effect.”

‭‭James‬ ‭5:14-16‬ ‭CSB‬‬

Physically, oil functions as a lubricant, reducing friction, preventing breakdowns from overheating and stress.  Oil catches light and reflects it to make objects shine. True community works when the Holy Spirit is present and flowing freely.  Healing hurts, removing friction from interaction, sanctifying purpose, and causing us to reflect the light of Christ.

It’s like the dew on Mount Hermon flowing down the slopes of Zion. 

The second visual used is that of dew. Water. Symbol of life and even growth.  Nothing grows without water. The earth is made up of 75% water and our bodies are 60% water. The writer uses this visual to bring to mind how necessary true community is.   This water is abundant and flowing.  In order to have that, you must have a concentration of it.  Individually , we are just drops of water (dew), but God did not save us to remain separate to ourselves. 

“Scripture knows nothing of the solitary Christian. People of faith are always members of a community” (Eugene Peterson) 

As we engage in true community, we are not drops of water but a body of water.  Collected, connected and directed by the Holy Spirit. We move and work together for His purpose.

Yes, that’s where GOD commands the blessing, ordains eternal life.

Let’s not forget that this psalm is a song to be sung when going up to Jerusalem to worship.  The writer has purposefully declared that it’s a blessing to travel with others who have the same spirit, who move in the same direction, and ultimately have the same goal..the city of God. Does this sound familiar?  When we as a called out body of believers, follow the leadership of the Holy Spirit, move in anticipation of being in the literal presence of God Almighty (not bickering and arguing about who is the greatest, the smartest,the coolest) ….isn’t that Heaven? True community (AKA the church, the body of Christ) is designed to look like Heaven. A dress rehearsal for the real thing for sure but at least a reference point for those who seek something more than the false unity that the world offers.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *