A Song of Ascents. Of David. Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity! It is like the precious oil on the head, running down on the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down on the collar of his robes! It is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion! For there the LORD has commanded the blessing, life forevermore. – Psalm 133:1-3 ESV
David reminds us in Psalm 133 of the joy of being unified with others around us. I love the imagery he uses of the flowing, dropping over our heads. It’s a gift that’s poured out over us abundantly enough to drop off us and envelop us. David reminds at the end of the Psalm that it’s the blessing of God, and it’s life forever more. With this kind of promise, it seems like it would be a good idea to understand more about the unity he’s telling us about.
Unity on any subject is pleasing. Whether it’s simply joining a club of people who are doing what you like to do, or convincing someone to agree with you, having the same ideas and focus and priorities as those around you feels good. However, the kind of unity that David is talking about here isn’t about discussing ideas or actions until we all get a consensus or agreement. The kind of agreement we need to have for the blessings of life are talked more about by Jesus and Paul.
In Ephesians 4, Apostle Paul has just wrapped up talking about the beauty and the mystery of the revealed good news of life through Christ. After reminding them of that gift, he goes on to talk about living and walking the unity of the good news. He reminds them to be “eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace,” going on to say, “there is one body and one Spirit …one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”
From this we learn that the unity we’re going for is not a unity of humans, but a unity with the divine. We are seeking unity through an awareness and knowledge of the Spirit. It’s not about seeing whose idea gains the most agreement with other people. It’s about learning to become one with the Divine Presence that is in all who believe in the name of Christ.
This is confirmed by Jesus himself. In the last days of his life, Jesus prayed a prayer for all who would believe in His name (that’s us!), set down in John 17:20-26. He asked for one thing for us. It wasn’t a prayer for blessing or protection or anything like we’d probably ask for. Instead, he asks for this, “And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.”
As he’s about to leave his disciples to trouble, persecution, and murder, that’s what’s important to Jesus. He wants each of them to become one with God as he himself was one. That’s a big important thing to remember.
As I go back to the imagery of unity being poured over our heads and I combine that with the belief that unity comes from our relationship with Holy Spirit, I can see that our life evermore that David celebrated in Psalm 133 is the life that comes from a deep personal relationship with God through the blood of Jesus Christ. Don’t spend one more day seeking unity with another human; seek God! Then, as we all are unified in the one and only God, we will end up being brought together in a much deeper, more lasting unity than simply agreement can bring.