Behold, how good and pleasant it is
when brothers dwell in unity!
2 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!
3 It is like the dew of Hermon,
which falls on the mountains of Zion!
For there the Lord has commanded the blessing,
We are reading this psalm just a little over a week before the start of the Northwest District convention. Coincidence? In truth, our Northwest District conventions are largely tame affairs. Because of the delay of the convention cycle brought on by the pandemic, this should have been the year of the LCMS national convention. That might be an even better place to hear this psalm read. That’s an idea. We flood the convention with memorials demanding that before every report and before every resolution is read, the delegates all must recite this psalm in unison. If nothing else, the convention will succeed in sending hundreds of folks who know how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity.
Do I sound a little bitter or cynical here? It could be. I am a son of a pastor and have served for over 30 years in my beloved Synod, and I do still love it. But sometimes we quarrel too much. I am not surprised. Divisive quarreling is often easier than unity. Unity takes work. Being one as a sinner with other sinners means I must admit that I am wrong sometimes. It means I forgive my fellow Christians and need their forgiveness. It means I put his or her needs first. It means I put aside my own goals/initiatives and submit to Christ’s mission for the church. It is not easy.
I have been blessed to see true and Christian unity as well. I have served with brothers and sisters in Christ and had a wonderful, joyful time. I praise God for those instances and opportunities just as I thank Him now for the people whom I am privileged to serve. I haven’t seen the oil on Aaron’s beard and collar. Not sure I want to. I have not seen the dew of Hermon either. But I have lived in a desert and know that oil and water are wonderful for dry skin and parched lips. I pray for the unity which comes from humble repentance, sincere forgiveness, and full-throated praise of God and His Son, Jesus. I need that, it is the necessary balm for any soul.