Week 46 Wednesday

Like Precious Ointment

Today’s scripture selection: Psalms 131-133

Key verses: Psalm 133:2-3

It’s a lovely passage; full of rich symbolism.

“It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion…” (KJV)

What is the Psalmist talking about?

He’s talking about unity: specifically, brothers and sisters of faith living in unity.

The KJV uses the old word “brethren” to talk about people sharing a common purpose; a common love. And he uses images of holy oil, dripping off the beard of priest – and snowmelt running off the mountain range to provide the water for a river far below.

Sadly, in many cases, the rich imagery doesn’t match reality.

For thousands of years people have been at each other’s throats; often over matters of faith.

So many wars have been fought; with each side claiming God is on their side.

I have a reference book in my office that lists literally thousands of different denominations – all claiming to be Christian – yet many who are in heated conflict with one another.

I think such divisions – in a world that is already sorely divided – sadden God’s heart.

But, such is human nature.

And so – it remains a rich image – an ideal – and little more: this idea of “brethren” living in “good and pleasant” unity.

Still, it’s worth working for, in small and large ways, a little at a time.

May we learn to live together; listen to each other; learn from one another; even while preserving our traditions and cherished beliefs.

I’m not advocating “selling out” so that our faith loses its integrity. I’m just talking about finding some common ground when we can. It could prove to be holy, anointing oil for some very wounded hearts.

And I think that would make God very happy indeed.

Prayer: Lord, in a broken and divided world, help us to find unity when we can. AMEN.

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