How very good and pleasant it is
when kindred live together in unity!
It is like the precious oil on the head,
running down upon the beard,
on the beard of Aaron,
running down over the collar of his robes.
It is like the dew of Hermon,
which falls on the mountains of Zion.
For there the Lord ordained his blessing,
How “good and pleasant” indeed it is when people live together in harmony. When neighbors care for one another, when families check in on each other, when communities are considerate to all– this is good. It’s pleasant. It’s as valuable as precious oil poured out to anoint God’s chosen one, as this psalm writes. It’s as necessary as the dew that falls in a land of frequent droughts and dry seasons. It is part of the blessing God wishes for us: life. Full, abundant, satisfying life, both now and forevermore.
We don’t always manage to live in harmony, do we? As a matter of fact, many of us experience jarring discord as often as harmony. Life in unity comes in glimpses and moments, not all the time.
What if we tried for a few more moments of harmony in our lives? Sure, it’d be nice if there could be unity and harmony all the time, and we do hope and pray for it. In the meantime, knowing that it’s good and pleasant, not just for us but also to God, we might see what we can do to make just a bit more unity in the world.
I saw a moment of that unity this past week when we had our block party. About forty people came, including several of our neighbors. Adults chatted and added their flair to the sidewalk chalk contest while children laughed and blew bubbles. By the end of the evening, it was a toss-up whether there was more chalk on the sidewalk or some of the kids. Through it all floated the delight of accordion music. It was harmony, as a group of God’s people enjoyed an hour and a half of unity.
We don’t hear a great deal about unity these days. More often we hear words like “division” and “polarized” and “extremism” and a hundred other ways of saying that things are not good, not pleasant, and certainly not in a state of kindred living together in unity. There may be people with great and grand ways to get unity for all the people of our country, or all Christians, or all of any other group you might choose. Perhaps they even have plans that might work.
I would suggest that before any big acts of unity can be undertaken, small and simple ones must do. It is holy and hard work to make any unity happen, including the simple act of getting to know your neighbors. It is hard and holy work to take a chance of making an invitation and being rejected, or of being accepted and then figuring out how to make room at the table for a newcomer. But how good and pleasant it is when it happens! How delightful it is to God when we, any of us, live together in unity.
God, it is a delight to you and to me whenever your people live in unity. Give me the courage to work for unity in my life, and give me eyes to see unity when it occurs. Amen.
Our neighbor wrote this note about the block party: