Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Unifiers, not dividers

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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Psalm 132:1-134:3

“Behold how good and pleasant it is
For brethren to dwell together in unity!” Psalm 133:1

Psalms 132,133, and 134 are all Songs of Ascents—Jewish liturgy of pilgrimage. Pilgrims to Jerusalem, on their way to celebrate the thrice-yearly feasts (spring: Feast of Passover; summer: Feast of Pentecost; autumn: Feast of Tabernacles) would sing these fifteen songs (Psalm 120-134) as they ascended to the city—the high point of Palestine. How fitting that the second-last, Psalm 133, was a reminder to them to get along.

Eugene Peterson, in his chapter about this psalm in A Long Obedience in the Same Direction, makes the point that the moment we confess Jesus as Lord and Saviour, we become a member of the Christian church even though we never attend one physically or attach our names to the membership roll of one formally. “We can no more be a Christian and have nothing to do with the church than we can be a person and not be in a family” - Eugene Peterson, A Long Obedience, p. 175. In other words, church is to Christian what family is to person.

How then, do we get along with our church siblings? Peterson lists some ways we might live in this community of faith. Who are you on his list?

  • Some run away from it and pretend that the family doesn’t exist.
  • Some move out and get an apartment… from which they return to make occasional visits.
  • Some would never dream of leaving but cause others to dream it for them, for they are always criticizing what is served at meals, quarrelling with the way the housekeeping is done, complaining that the others in the family are either ignoring or taking advantage of them.
  • Some determine to find out what God has in mind by placing them in this community … learn how to function harmoniously and joyously, develop maturity that shares and exchanges God’s grace, even with the nuisances - Peterson, Op. Cit., p. 176 (formatting and emphasis added).

If we’re not there already, let’s work to be in that last set. Let’s be unifiers, not dividers.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, help me to be a family member who doesn’t think of myself first but who works for the good of others and the body. Amen.

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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