For Sunday, April 11, 2021
Second Sunday of Easter, Year B
Have you ever had your emotional fur rubbed the wrong way? How do we get from there back to a place of relational shalom? Psalm 133 gives us a picture of the glory and joy of the destination so we can push thru what is encumbering us.
“How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity.” Can you think of a time in your life when you enjoyed complete unity with someone else – perhaps a parent, a spouse, or a good friend. Memories that come to mind for me are a conversation about coming to Christ in junior high school with a good friend on the side of my parents’ house; locking in as a jazz drummer with one of my favorite bass players; and having a good laugh with my wife Heather over a shared experience we had just this morning.
David says that such unity is like precious oil running down Aaron’s beard. This is not a simile that most of us will relate to readily. When I first read it I wanted to reach for the emergency spot remover in my satchel! Who wants oil on their beard much less on their clothes?! Yet think in terms of overwhelming abundance and the picture will come into focus. Often when I’m writing and studying I’ll light a candle and burn frankincense. The light of the candle and the aroma of frankincense bring my too easily troubled mind and heart back into a place of peace and strength, or shalom. The unity God wants for us with him and with others is this shalom.
Then follows another difficult to access simile. “It is like the dew of Hermon, which flows down upon the hills of Zion.” The key to unlocking this one is to understand that Mount Hermon was the chief mountain of the northern kingdom of Israel while Mount Zion was its counterpart in the south. When David wrote this he was mourning over the split between the northern and southern kingdoms of the formerly unified Israel. He was mourning over the splits within his own family. I’m sure many of us can identify at this point. Mount Hermon was renown for the heavy dew that graced its slopes every morning because of the moist climate. Mount Hood in Oregon might be a good equivalent. Mount Zion on the other hand was very dry in the summer. David is saying when there is unity that the blessings of abundance flow to the places of lack so that everyone wins. Sounds good, doesn’t it?
“For there the Lord commanded the blessing.” Unity is what our Heavenly Father enjoys in constancy. He enjoys it within the three persons of the Trinity, he enjoys it with his bride, the church, and he enjoys it with everyone who responds to the forgiving and healing voice of the Holy Spirit. Hear his voice today. Respond to our Father’s committed grace. Receive Jesus’ forgiveness and healing. This is where the Lord commanded the blessing.