7 September 2020
THE BODY IS A UNIT, THOUGH IT IS MADE UP OF MANY PARTS; AND THOUGH ALL ITS PARTS ARE MANY, THEY FORM ONE BODY. SO IT IS WITH CHRIST… THE EYE CANNOT SAY TO THE HAND, “I DON’T NEED YOU!” AND THE HEAD CANNOT SAY TO THE FEET, “I DON’T NEED YOU!” …NOW YOU ARE THE BODY OF CHRIST, AND EACH ONE OF YOU IS A PART OF IT. (1 Corinthians 12: 12, 21, 27
PSALM 133 – A SONG OF ASCENTS. OF DAVID.
HOW GOOD AND PLEASANT IT IS WHEN BROTHERS LIVE TOGETHER IN UNITY! IT IS LIKE PRECIOUS OIL POURED ON THE HEAD, RUNNING DOWN ON THE BEARD, RUNNING DOWN ON AARON’S BEARD, DOWN UPON THE COLLAR OF HIS ROBES. IT IS AS IF THE DEW OF HERMON WERE FALLING ON MOUNT ZION. FOR THERE THE LORD BESTOWS HIS BLESSING, EVEN LIFE FOR EVERMORE.
Psalm 133, although it is brief, it is also one of the most beautiful descriptions of Christian unity that has ever been written. Having a closer look at it, let us MEDITATE on its messages.
Have you ever gone on a road trip with your family? Road trips can be really, really good; or they can be really, really bad. Now imagine instead of just your family if you packed in all your relatives and neighbours too. Is there anyone want a trip like this? Well, that is similar to what was happening with the annual feasts in Jerusalem. The people would travel for the feasts at the Temple on Mount Zion with their neighbours, family and relatives. As they drew closer to Jerusalem more and more people would come together, people from different regions and different tribes, but all coming together for one common purpose – to worship the Lord at Jerusalem. And that is what made all the difference.
There are few things as precious in this world as believers living together in unity. One of the marks of a great church is the wonderful sense of fellowship and unity we experience in the BODY OF CHRIST. Psalm 133 tells us about the goodness of living together in unity, the source of this way of life and about the blessing of being united as children of God. In these difficult times of Pandemic, spending such a long time without church services and visits of loved ones, friends and neighbours, human relationships are becoming more and more valued and Christian fellowship even more important. Let us then, deepen our considerations on this wonderful Christian legacy through this psalm, and hope that we can soon enjoy again our fellowship with each other and our Lord in the worships.
A – THE GOODNESS OF LIVING TOGETHER IN UNITY (verse 1)
Living together in unity is both good and pleasant. It is the most appropriate way of life for us as Christians, because we are supposed to be brothers and sisters in Christ, as members of God’s family.
– Unity is both good and pleasant. The word translated as “good” in this verse is a word that means “excellent, agreeable, or beneficial.” In other words, this is something that is good in God’s sight. The word “pleasant” is a word that means “beautiful, sweet, or lovely.” In other words, it is not only good in God’s sight, but it is good for us too. Whether we are a family, a church, a business or a football team, life is much more pleasant and enjoyable when everyone is getting along. Hebrews 12: 11 says: – No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. It is, then, a gift of God, as James says: – Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows (James 1: 17).
– We are brothers and sisters together in Christ. The people of Israel who first received this psalm were literally “brothers.” They were relatives of each other, descendants of a common father: Abraham. As Christians we are also brothers and sisters. We have been adopted into God’s family, we share God as our Father, and that makes us family. The only question remaining is how will we live as part of the family of God? Will we live in unity, or in division? The Bible tells us that Cain killed his brother Abel. Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery. Even Jesus’ disciples got into arguments with each other, and as Christians in the Church, we do not always get along with each other either. Sometimes we disagree. Sometimes we get angry with each other. But we need to work together to overcome disagreements and always, always love each other as brothers and sisters in Christ despite of our differences. Keep on loving each other as brothers, – says The Epistle to the Hebrews (13: 1).
B – THE SOURCE OF LIVING TOGETHER IN UNITY (verses 2–3a)
The psalmist uses two images: oil on Aaron’s head and the dew of Hermon. Both come from above, so living together in unity is a gift of God’s grace.
– It is like oil poured on Aaron’s head. Oil was a valued commodity in ancient Israel, – it was used as a welcome relief offered to visitors, but also a very special oil was used for anointing the High Priest, like Aaron. The oil poured on Aaron’s head clearly points towards Christ, who is our High Priest, the Head of His Church. Oil in the Bible is also a symbol of the Holy Spirit. God poured out His Spirit on Jesus the Head, and Jesus poured out the Spirit on His Body the Church; so, the sacred anointing oil brings a sweet-smelling love-fragrance on the Spirit-anointed fellowship of the Church. Unity is a true gift of God. It is an image of the whole Body of Christ united together with Jesus as the Head, always having each of the members equally important.
– It is like the dew of Hermon falling on Mount Zion. There are two very different mountains there: Hermon to the north, and Zion to the south. Hermon is the highest mountain in Israel, over 9,000 feet above sea level, often covered in snow during winter, and heavy dew during summer. Mount Zion is much smaller, 2,400 feet and there is very little dew, rain or any moisture during summer. Comparing them, Mount Hermon is cool and refreshing, Zion hot and dry. What an amazing thing it would be if the dew of Hermon were to fall on Mount Zion. And that is exactly what happens with Christian fellowship. Dew is refreshing, and Christian fellowship should also be refreshing, energizing, revitalizing always for the whole Body.
C – THE BLESSING OF LIVING TOGETHER IN UNITY (verse 3b)
– God gives His blessing where believers live together in unity. Romans 15: 5-6 says: – May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. The more we focus on Jesus, the greater our unity will be. Worship, unity and blessing are all tied up together. If we want to experience God’s blessings, then we need to live in unity. God gives His blessing where believers live together in harmony and love.
– Living together in unity is a foretaste of heaven. The Christian fellowship we experience through the power of the Holy Spirit here on earth, as beautiful as it is, is only a foretaste of the perfect fellowship we will share with each other in eternity. Now it is God who …anointed us … and put His Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come (2. Corinthians 1: 21–22). As dew gives life to the vegetation around it, so God’s blessing of unity also gives life. But unlike the dew which passes away with the morning sun, God’s blessing lasts for ever. Flows down over us like precious oil of anointment. God pours out His blessing on His people as we worship Him in unity and receive His blessing of life for evermore.
LET US PRAY:
LOVING GOD, for the company of others, for the fellowship of the Church, for all the ways people help shape life for better, we thank You. For what we can give to others, and for what we receive from them, we also thank You. When we are tempted to go it alone, to neglect times of fellowship and follow You on our own, remind us of our need for others. Teach us that what is weak by itself is strong when brought together. We rejoice that You love us as we are and that You have called us into a personal relationship with You. Save us, though, from concluding as a result that discipleship is a private affair. Remind us that You call us also to fellowship, to membership of the Body of Christ, fellow Christians needing us just as we need them. That we all are equally important members of the Body, having no rights to exclude anyone but rejoice in the unity with You and one another. Teach us that we have something to give and receive, and that without the opportunities and resources of our togetherness, we cannot worship You effectively. Inspire us, to make time to share in the life and work of Your people, being built up in love with them so that we may live for the glory of Your name and the well-being of our sisters and brothers in Christ. Save us from ever seeing those who are different from us as a threat, allowing them to create resentment or suspicion, fear or hostility. Bind us together as one, with Your Love, that became flesh, and dwelt among us, still seeing and worshiping its glory in Christ Jesus our Lord. Hear our prayers for: the loving unity within our families, Congregation, Presbytery, and Church of Scotland, for Christian unity… unity in the efforts to fight Covid-19 both nationally and globally, and all the evil in our world… and hear Lord, all our individual prayers … brought before You in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord … AMEN.
THE LORD’ PRAYER: – OUR FATHER, WHO ART IN HEAVEN …
THE CHURCH’S ONE FOUNDATION is Jesus Christ our Lord: she is His new creation by water and the word. From heaven He came and sought her to be His holy bride; with His own blood He bought her, and for her life He died.
Elect from every nation, yet one o’re all the earth; her charter of salvation one Lord, one faith, one birth, one holy name she blesses, partakes one holy food; and to one hope she presses, with every grace endued.
Though with a scornful wonder men see her sore oppressed, by schisms rent asunder, by heresies distressed; yet saints their watch are keeping, their cry goes up: “How long?” and soon the night of weeping shall be the morn of song.
Mid toil and tribulation and tumult of her war, she waits the consummation of peace for evermore, till with the vision glorious her longing eyes are blest, and the great Church victorious shall be the Church of rest.
MAY THE GOD OF PEACE, WHO THROUGH THE BLOOD OF THE ETERNAL COVENANT BROUGHT BACK FROM THE DEAD OUR LORD JESUS, THAT GREAT SHEPHERD OF THE SHEEP, EQUIP YOU WITH EVERYTHING GOOD FOR DOING HIS WILL, AND MAY HE WORK IN US WHAT IS PLEASING TO HIM, THROUGH JESUS CHRIST, TO WHOM BE GLORY FOR EVER AND EVER. AMEN. (Hebrews 13: 20-21)