Today’s Lectio Divina: Psalm 133. (MsgB)
A Pilgrim Song of David.
How wonderful, how beautiful, when brothers and sisters get along!
It’s like costly anointing oil flowing down head and beard,
Flowing down Aaron’s beard, flowing down the collar of his priestly robes.
It’s like the dew on Mount Hermon flowing down the slopes of Zion.
Yes, that’s where God commands the blessing, ordains eternal life.
Now, here we are. One step away from reaching our destination.
Back in Psalm 120, we started a journey. A journey of 15 steps. A trek toward God.
For centuries, the people of God, three times per year, would stop everything they were doing; their farming, their carpentry work, their everyday business; and load up the family, beginning a long trek from their homes scattered throughout the land of Israel, and head up the mountains toward Jerusalem.
Many believe, as we mentioned earlier, that Psalms 120-134 (the Songs of Ascent) were short tunes, commissioned by God to be used as traveling music by God’s people as they journeyed toward Jerusalem for the three Holy Feasts: the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Weeks, and the Feast of Tabernacles. Others believe that these 15 songs were little ditties sung by the priests as they walked up the fifteen steps of the Temple entrance in Jerusalem.
Either way, Psalm 133 (step 14 of 15) represents one step away from our final destination…
For those of us who are contemplative activists; men and women who see their lives as life-long, adventurous journeys into the ever-increasing, manifest presence of God; we need to pay strict attention to this next-to-last step before we enter into God’s Holy of Holies. As I see it, it’s certainly no coincidence that the subject matter found here in Psalm 133 has to do with our ability (or inability) to find unity with brothers and sisters.
Like it not, you see, our passionate pursuit of God was never meant to be a solo flight. From the very beginning, our God is displayed in the Scriptures as being a deity who longs to dwell in the midst of His gathered people. Sadly, in America, the pursuit of God has evolved into an activity that revolves primarily around one man or one women’s trek toward holiness. Now, please, don’t misunderstand. I’m not promoting salvation that comes only when all of us can get along with one another. Luther was right when he taught about the priesthood of the individual believer. Every man and woman has to be responsible for his or her pursuit of God. No one comes into heaven by being carried on the shoulders of a friend.
But, once a person understands and embraces his or her individual call to becoming a man or woman of God, it will become glaringly evident to us as we begin to explore the mysteries of the God we serve, that this Holy King of the Universe operates best in the midst of His gathered people.
Community, you see, is at the very center of God. Even the singular Godhead, Himself, is a community made up of Father, Son, and Spirit. Three distinct persons dwelling together in total unity under one Holy Roof Jesus called the Kingdom of God.
So it must be with God’s creation.
I know there will be some ultra-conservative Christians who will disagree with what I’m about to say, but here goes. From my seat on the bench, I believe that every man, woman and child living on the planet (both past, present and future) is a child of God. Brothers and sisters of ours, linked together through our DNA as children from One Father. Yes, I believe that Jesus of Nazareth is the only perfect Child who was designated by God to be our Unique Savior and Guide, but I don’t prescribe to the ugly concepts used by so many religious folks that say that God loves Christians more than He does those who aren’t.
So when King David, in Psalm 133, talks about the rich blessings attached to brothers and sisters who get along with each other (or as other translations put it: live or dwell together in unity), my sense is that God is addressing both unity amongst people who share the same God (i.e.: Christians and Jews) and brothers and sisters who share the same planet!
Either way, the rich blessings of God pour over those who believe that the final step before entering into God’s presence is when you and I intentionally choose to lay down our hatred and divisiveness toward others and finally come to a God-breathed conclusion that there will be no fighting or quarreling amongst brethren in the House of the Lord!
As a matter of fact, I’m guessing Jesus really meant it when He called out to His followers, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will called children of God.” (Matthew 5: 9)
Guess that means if I really want God to open up His Holy of Holies to me, enabling me to complete my 15-step journey into His presence, I better be fully prepared to stop my warring with my wife, my quarreling with my kids, my arguing with my boss, my fighting with the pastor, my slamming of my workmate who votes with the other political party, and my being royally p.o’d at the Muslim family or atheist jerk who lives next door!
I’m just sayin’.
My prayer: God, King David’s song of unity stirs up a lot of passion within me. I long for community where men and women live together in peace and harmony, with You at the center of our lives. But here’s the rub, God. I’m having a real hard time loving unlovable people. Change me, Father, from the inside out, so that I might begin loving others as You love, unconditionally and impartially. For Your name’s sake. Amen.
My questions to ponder: Brothers and sisters dwelling together in unity. This phrase sounds nice, but what needs to change inside me for something that beautiful to happen? What attitude changes and heart transformations need to occur in me so that the rich blessings King David refers to here in Psalm 133 can begin to flow down over my life?
So what is God speaking to you today as you ponder the Psalms?
Over a 50-week period, you and I will take a deeper look at The Psalms: God’s Songbook of Prayers. In order to keep all the blog sessions organized, we suggest you bookmark our Contemplating the Psalms home page for ease of use. Keep in mind that one of the best ways to explore the on-going applications of this blog series is to walk alongside a biblically-based, Christ-centered spiritual director who is familiar with how to make material like this part of your overall spiritual formation in God. Many of our directors in our Contemplative Activist network are available to companion you in your journey with Jesus. Click here for more info.
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