Living In Harmony
This psalm of David was one that pilgrims sang as they went up to Jerusalem for one of the annual feasts. It is a beautiful expression of solidarity and can be applied to a family, a nation, or the church, the body of Christ.
One of the ministers of the church that I attend has been talking about unity the importance of unity in the church and I led a bible study on unity a couple of months ago, that I titled Unity In The Body Of Christ. The foundation scripture for the study was Psalm 133. The following are excerpts from the notes for that study.
The Jewish people sang Psalm 133 to express their joy in coming together for worship at the Temple, where God promised to meet them. The Psalm conveys blessing and life to God's people. And it proclaims a oneness or single mindedness faith.
Brethren doesn’t mean does not mean blood relatives, it means people joined by God's grace. It means men and women. It means citizens of the US, Canadians, Mexicans, Africans, Asians, short people, tall people, fat people, skinny people.
To convey the thought of unity David uses the example of two liquids oil and dew. The first is the fragrant, refreshing oil used to consecrate a priest. "Moses ordained Aaron to the priesthood by anointing his head with oil,"
Leviticus 8:10-12 (NKJV)10 Also Moses took the anointing oil, and anointed the tabernacle and all that was in it, and consecrated them.11 He sprinkled some of it on the altar seven times, anointed the altar and all its utensils, and the laver and its base, to consecrate them.12 And he poured some of the anointing oil on Aaron's head and anointed him, to consecrate him.
This wasn’t a small amount of oil on his fingers or poured into his hands this oil which was very precious and expensive was poured on Aaron's head so much so that it ran down his beard and onto the the collar of his robe. "The generous quantity of oil adds to the picture of the community gathering as 'a sweet pleasant time together.'"
The second liquid is the "dew of Hermon". Mount Hermon is north of Jerusalem and rises above the upper Jordan Valley. It had its share of heavy rainfall and snow. The melting snow, or dew, flowed down into the valley. In arid country, where the rain is scarce and the rivers dry up, the land and the people depend on water that comes from a distant source. It is the scarcity of water in the drylands, which makes Mount Hermon's dews so precious.
Like the oil that flows down the beard of Aaron, the dew of Mount Hermon reaches far beyond its point of origin and gives life to faraway lands. God's calls people to worship.
In worshiping our God of abundant life and love, we become one family no matter where or who we are. The color of our skin, our native language, our ethnicity, where we're from, how tall or short, how obese or thin, none of these things matter to God and should not matter in our worship.
1 Corinthians 12:12-26 NIV Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many. Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body. 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!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.
Here's something that I found from a man by the name of Francis Schaeffer - "It is in the midst of a difference that we have our golden opportunity when everyghing is going well and we are all standing around in a nice little circle, there is not much bo be seen by the world. But when we come to the place where there is a real difference, and we exhibit compromised principles but at the same time observable love, then there is something that the world can see, something they can use to judge that these really are Christians, and that Jesus has indeed been sent by the Father.
Unity in the Body of Christ has at least two goals
1. To witness to the world
John 17:20-21 NKJV “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.
2. Glory of God
John 17:22-23 NKJV And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.
Romans 15:1-7 NKJV We then who are strong ought to bear with the scruples of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, leading to edification. For even Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached You fell on Me.” For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope. Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus, that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore receive one another, just as Christ also received us, to the glory of God.
We follow Jesus’ example so that we build each other up so that we are all united so that we can all glorify God in one mind. That doesn’t mean that we just put up with each other. But that we all have a single mindedness that goes beyond our differences resulting in the kind of love for each other that people will know that we are Jesus’ disciples and we can introduce new people to the faith bringing glory to God. That is the ultimate goal of Christian unity.