The Unity of the Body – Psalm 133
“Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!”Psalm 133:1
Take a moment and read Psalm 133.
Families can be difficult. Living in close proximity with others, whether blood relatives or not, can test our patience. Unhappy divisions can lead to discord, and sadly, to broken homes, divorce, or worse. Even less dramatic conflict can lead to familial disunity. I have been alienated from one of my two sisters for more than half my life. It is a source of great sorrow for me. But the Psalmist says in the opening verse of this Song of Ascent, “Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!” It is the goal for all of God’s people to dwell together in love and charity toward one another. And the psalm uses two beautiful similes to describe the blessedness of Israel being true to her calling to be one people in communion with the One God. The Psalmist describes this prized unity as “precious oil poured on the head,” and like “the dew of Hermon falling on Mount Zion.”
As was presented in Sunday’s meditation, our calling as God’s people is to worship. When we come together in unity, we can worship the One who seeks to make us one. When we argue, bicker, fight with one another, demanding our own way, we inhibit the worship that God so richly deserves. The solidarity of the family and community is fundamental to our worship. This is why it is important for couples contemplating marriage to be of one mind in their choice of faith. The unity of a couple in their worship of God is crucial for the stability of the home, and by extension the stability of the Church. As Andrew Greeley said, in his book Faithful Attraction, “prayer is the most intimate act in marriage. It is more intimate than the marital embrace. In prayer, we bear our innermost feelings to God and our spouse. There is nothing more powerful in binding a couple together in a life-long marital bond.”
While in exile the Jews had nowhere to turn for a unifying symbol of God’s Presence. The lack of the Temple as the dwelling place of God had a serious detrimental effect on families and the community of the faithful. But now, with the restoration of the people of God to the Holy Land, and the rebuilding of the Temple, the dissolving of family structure during the exile is overcome by unity found in the Lord. Corporate worship has been restored, and the practice of the faith is rekindled in the family homes.
How good and pleasant it is when the families can joyfully assemble with the larger family of the Church to praise and worship the One who has made us one in Him. And how good and pleasant it is when families of the faithful come together to honor Him in their homes in worship as wholesome families.