November 21, 2019 by Jesse Lebus
St. Luke’s, friends and family:
How good and how pleasant it is
when kindred live together in unity!
It is like fine oil upon the head, flowing down upon the beard,
upon the beard of Aaron, flowing down upon the collar of his robe.
It is like the dew of Hermon flowing down upon the hills of Zion.
For there the Lord has commanded the blessing: life forevermore.
The 133rd psalm. It’s my favorite. And not just because it’s short, though that’s part of it. I was very glad when I discovered that it’s one suggested for the Celebration of a New Ministry, the liturgy in the Book of Common Prayer that we’ll move through together this coming Saturday at my installation.
Togetherness is really what it’s all about. Whatever it is we’re after, God calls us to seek it together. You know, togetherness isn’t always good and pleasant: Thanksgiving dinners, where family members don’t see eye-to-eye on political issues, spring to mind. But when togetherness and unity align: mazel tov!
When we live together in unity we are anointed and refreshed, even the very air is transformed when fragrant oil is poured out! It is rich and abundant, it is precious and rare. Like the dew of Hermon it can bring verdant life even to the heart of the desert. But let’s face it: it’s also a little bit messy. That’s why I love this psalm. To live together in unity is good and pleasant in and of itself and it produces fruits that are good and pleasant… but think about someone pouring a jug full of oil onto the top of your head. I mean, you could see why someone might take a pass.
Community life, even in the unity of faith, has its ups and downs. Living together reveals us to one another, warts and all. Even scarier: it reveals us to ourselves! But the last line of this psalm… that there, in the midst of all our togetherness: in the joys and sorrows, the successes and trials - somewhere between inhaling the intoxicating aroma of sweet-smelling oil and receiving the dry cleaning bill for our robes - God blesses us with everlasting life!
The service this Saturday is a symbol, a liturgical sign of what has already begun: a life together, in unity. It is precious and rare; rich, abundant and life giving. Yeah, its a little bit messy sometimes, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
See you all soon!