Dwelling Together in Unity Songs of Ascent: Practices of the Lifelong Journey Series  Psalm 133
Psalm 133 [ESV] A Song of Ascents. Of David. 1Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity! 2It is like the precious oil on the head, running down on the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down on the collar of his robes! 3It is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion! For there the LORD has commanded the blessing, life forevermore.
Community is chosen for all Christ-followers. To belong to Christ means to belong to his Church—the community of brothers and sisters in Christ. We are on this spiritual pilgrimage together by God’s plan. It is God’s choice and work that we belong to his community. The quality of community is shaped by Christ-followers during the journey. We journey with imperfect sinners who have been redeemed by Christ. Nevertheless, we are to one another as a loving community. It is our choice and work to flesh out our unity in community. TWO TRUTHS ABOUT COMMUNITY IN OUR LIFELONG JOURNEY TO GOD
Unity is wonderfully good and pleasant (v.1). To be desired and enjoyed during our pilgrimage. What is more, this infectious enthusiasm on the part of such diverse people of differing ages, backgrounds, sex and culture was backed up by the quality of their lives [the Christians of the first century]. Their community life, though far from perfect... was nevertheless sufficiently different and impressive to attract notice, to invite curiosity, and to inspire discipleship in an age that was as pleasure-conscious, as materialistic and as devoid of serious purpose as our own, Paganism saw in early Christianity a quality of living, and Supremely of dying, which could not be found elsewhere. Michael Green PSALM 133: UNITY IN COMMUNITY —HOW GOOD COMMUNITY CAN BE
Unity is wonderfully good and pleasant (v.1). To be desired and enjoyed during our pilgrimage. Unity is precious (v.2). Like precious anointing oil on a priest. Unity is refreshing (v.3a). Like the dew of Hermon. Unity is where God commands the blessing (v.3b). Designed for eternal life in Christ. PSALM 133: UNITY IN COMMUNITY —HOW GOOD COMMUNITY CAN BE
Unity is NOT… Uniformity. Tolerance. Merely conceptual. Automatic (or easy). Perfect (but will be perfected in heaven) PSALM 133: UNITY IN COMMUNITY —HOW GOOD COMMUNITY CAN BE
THE ESSENTIAL COMPONENTS OF TRUE UNITY IN COMMUNITY 1)True unity comes from the communal identity— “brothers & sisters in Christ.” Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity! (v.1) “Brothers” refers not to blood relations but to the fellow pilgrims—the children of Abraham, the people of God. We also belong to this community of the Abrahamic Covenant by God’s grace through our faith in Christ. We already have the positional/legal unity as God’s family—We are to keep this unity as God’s family and live it out.
2Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4There is one body and one Spirit— just as you were called to one hope when you were called— 5one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. Ephesians 4:2-6
THE ESSENTIAL COMPONENTS OF TRUE UNITY IN COMMUNITY 2)True unity comes from the communal focus— “God-centeredness.” It is like the precious oil on the head, running down on the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down on the collar of his robes! (v.2) The oil was special and precious because it was consecrated to God. This focus on God-centeredness is a key to overcoming the pettiness and drag of the imperfect community in which we live. Why? The God-centered focus compels us to be each other’s priest, speaking God’s word to one another.
Being Each Other’s Priest Therefore, the Christian needs another Christian who speaks God's Word to him. He needs him again and again when he becomes uncertain and discouraged for by himself he cannot help himself without belying the truth. He needs his brother as a bearer and proclaimer of the divine word of salvation. He needs his brother solely because of Jesus Christ. And that also clarifies the goal of all Christian community: they meet one another as bringers of the message of salvation. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer
THE ESSENTIAL COMPONENTS OF TRUE UNITY IN COMMUNITY 3)True unity comes from the communal life— “dwelling together in unity.” It is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion! For there the LORD has commanded the blessing, life forevermore. (v.3) Because of the high altitude of Mount Hermon, water/moist was always available in dew even when it had no rain or snow. Unity in community is like “mountain dew”—a life-giving refreshment to our weary souls in the pilgrimage. This kind of unity is where we begin to experience God’s idea of the blessed life—a foretaste of heaven on earth.
A Hint of Heaven Psalm 133 throws out just a hint of heaven (a hint that is expanded into a grand vision in Revelation 4-5), turning that on its head: the rousing good fellowship is in heaven. Where relationships are warm and expectancies fresh, we are already beginning to enjoy the life together that will be completed in our life everlasting. Which means that heaven is like nothing quite so much as a good party. Assemble in your imagination all the friends that you enjoy being with most, the companions that evoke the deepest joy, your most stimulating relationships, the most delightful of shared experiences, the people with whom you feel completely alive—that is a hint of heaven, “for there GOD commands the blessing, ordains eternal life.” - Eugene Peterson
RECAP & PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS FOR OUR EVERYDAY LIFE 1.Choose HOW YOU WILL LIVE in this spiritual community. Have you made a commitment to the brothers & sisters at CrossWay? (Or at your own local spiritual community?) Have you made a commitment to UNITY as a benefactor/builder as well as a beneficiary/recipient ? Have you renewed your commitment to CrossWay’s vision to be known for our love for one another? 2.Go ahead—DWELL TOGETHER IN UNITY and experience how good it can be! Live out your communal identity in Christ. Live out your communal focus on God-centeredness. Live out your communal life in unity.
Praying the Songs of Ascent #14 — Psalm 133 [MSG] A Pilgrim Song of David 1-3 How wonderful, how beautiful, when brothers and sisters get along! It's like costly anointing oil flowing down 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.