A song of ascents. Of David.
1 How good and pleasant it is
when God’s people live together in unity!
2 It is like precious oil poured on the head,
running down on the beard,
running down on Aaron’s beard,e
down on the collar of his robe.
3 It is as if the dew of Hermon
were falling on Mount Zion.
For there the Lord bestows his blessing,
even life forevermore. NIV
The older I get, the less I want. I have been worried about that lately. Maybe I have somehow abdicated my will to live, yet life seems to be getting better. I am just not that interested in arguing for my own way of thinking or my own interests. Maybe it is because I feel like it rarely mattered anyway, or maybe it is because I often learned that my perspective could do with a bit of tweaking. Maybe it is because I just do not like who that other person was when I was constantly trying to get my way.
No matter, though, I believe now, more than ever, that we could do far better by listening to one another and submitting to one another than by forcing one side or the other to concede. If we have one mind, one purpose, God’s purpose, then the results will be “good and pleasant”.
Acceptance of the same truth in the same sense (Substantial, intelligent agreement).
Essential oneness in aim and spirit.
Readiness to concede and co-operate.
Mutual esteem and affection.
The Pulpit Commentary: Psalms (Vol III), Spence, H.D.M., Psalm 133.
I have spent too many hours worrying about the fate of our country and its current course, with little to show for my concern. In fact, a fairly large portion of the church in the United States is actually praising the work of the current group in power, forgetting that it is about God’s will, not our own. It is about His goals and His purposes. Therefore, the result, the fruit, must be measured by our unity in mind and purpose, by our love, yet things seem increasingly hostile and divided to me.
Notice, I did not distinguish by label or side, but by power. Why? Because those in power have a preponderance of responsibility to listen and establish an atmosphere of mutual respect and latitude in discussion. I do not hold all people to this standard, but I do expect more of those who claim to be followers of Christ—and you should, too.
Over and above winning an argument, building a wall or even instituting prayer in schools, our actions must come from a position of respect and love. This is not an easy love, but sacrificial, stare-down-your-fears-and-enemies living. We cannot put our hope in swaying opinion through power, and no historical example will justify winning “our Christian rights” through force. Are we so far past Easter that we have to ask why?
Jesus, the Son of God, fully human and fully divine, chose to die for our sins, believing that the
Father, without coercion or violence, would vindicate Him and draw all people to Himself. It is tough to make the argument that now we must defend our Christian heritage with guns and power plays, when the Son of God chose the path of vulnerability and meekness.
In the discussion of unity in one commentary, the author wrote of the unity of meekness, where we set aside self-interest and serve others. He writes:
And, in this sense, meekness is the deepest secret of unity. That kind of unity we should get in (1) family life; (2) Church life; (3) social life. For that, however, we need special grace, in order to triumph over sinful self-pleasing. The triumph of the Christian relationship is the unity that comes through altruism, for Christ’s sake.
The Pulpit Commentary: Psalms (Vol III), Spence, H.D.M., Psalm 133, Homilies by Various Authors.
This doesn’t quite capture the spirit that we witness today, does it? The party in power is currently concerned with giving lip service to its base, all the while proceeding with its own self-interests. Don’t believe me? Scan the newsfeeds. See how many times you read about bullying, strong arming, name calling and counterpunching. You can try to make a case that the policies are needed, but few would even try to defend the means by which they are being accomplished. Some might make an argument that the ends justify the means, because the system is broken.
All the while, those in charge are perpetuating a sense of fear to keep their base compliant. Facts and probability are no longer our friends because the powers that be use fear as a weapon to stir the pot and keep the conversation at an irrational level dominated by negative emotions.
Meekness requires courage, faith in God’s purpose, and commitment. Consistent behavior will allow plans to be made, public hearings to be held and group action to be taken. Fear has no place in God’s work.
Many times, I have heard self-proclaimed Christians speak about God’s judgement of the United States for not living godly lives. I have watched our sense of community as a nation disintegrate under the watchful eye of those who were going to save us from God’s wrath. I have watched the disenfranchised pushed a little more to the fringes, the elderly ignored, the poor more exploited, and the environment treated as just another resource.
But the Psalmist says that God’s blessing is bestowed on the community with a unity of grace received that shares one holy fragrance like the anointing oil descending from the head of Aaron, like the dew that descends on Mount Hermon. This thick, drenching dew provides sustenance and life to an otherwise rain-free environment. It is one body, one church, that God blesses to be a blessing.
We are in the midst of Easter season. It would be deplorable to forget the work we celebrated just days ago. He is risen. We are free from fear. We are co-heirs to the Kingdom of God. Death has been destroyed. No longer look back at what we have lost. Look forward to what we will receive as we submit our lives to God’s purpose.