“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

Imagine if everyone in the church that you call ‘home,’ if all began to live holy or totally selfless lives. I mean every week, everyday and every moment. It would be difficult for those in the church community, or even the city they reside in, to receive the overflowing benefit. The effect would be staggering.

Obviously this is not the case because the church is full of imperfect people who are on a journey to living righteous lives. Hopefully we all strive for this blessed unity of which the psalmist speaks, and though we desire it, it’s not always our current reality. That’s because it is simply impossible in our own efforts.

Even though God’s commands made clear how Israel could achieve such unity, they rarely achieved it. It wasn’t achieved because no one could live up to it at every moment; sometimes they would but never all at once. There were gaps in their brotherly love or mutual concern for each other. At different points each lived for themselves, disregarding the unity that could have been achieved by loving what God loves, which can be found in His commandments. So upon the rare occasion when this occurred, the psalmists reveals two similes to describe the blessing and goodness that flows from unity.

The first simile pictures the ordination of the high priest Aaron. The oil poured on his head represented the holiness of God falling upon Aaron as a mediator of the people of Israel, and it consecrated Aaron to God’s purposes. When community is true to its ideal, it displays genuine consecration and carries out its calling in the world. The picture is that because Aaron received this blessing from God, that everyone under him received this blessing of holiness as well.

The second simile used is of Mt Hermon, which is a high, snowcapped mountain at the northern end of the land of Israel. The dew from this mountain ends up falling on the mountains of Zion and is crucial for the vegetation in the dry season. The land becomes fruitful because of its interconnectedness with Mt Hermon, painting a picture that the land would not be blessed if it was not neighboring this mountain. It is the relationship between the two lands that causes that dry land to be able to produce anything of worth.

These two smilies are pictures of Christ in two ways. Firstly, that we receive Christ’s holiness on our life when it is surrendered to God, not because of what we do or don’t do, but simply by acknowledging Him as our mediator do we receive the blessing that flows from His life. Since Christ is the head and the church is His body, we must protect our unity with the Head Himself because without that unity we have no holiness of our own. When our life is connected to Christ like the land that was connected to Mt Hermon, we receive the water that is necessary for our lives to be fruitful. We become fruitful in our serving, in our preaching, our leadership, and most of all in the fruits of the Spirit.

It is this connection to Christ, as the passage depicts, that causes us to dwell in unity through brotherly love within church life. We receive from each other holiness and fruitfulness. There are things inside our lives that will never come to fruition until we are connected in unity. I cannot receive the water that flows from your life unless I am connected to you in relationship and fellowship – and vice versa! When we show love towards each other, a blessing begins to flow that unlocks destiny, future, and fruitfulness in each others lives. When we sow disunity we break the potential of what could have been between each of us in the church where we are planted. There is a blessing that comes from dwelling in unity that is unique, but it is for everyone in Christ.

So now we don’t have to imagine what could be if we lived in unity, for in Christ it is possible by the power of His Spirit and a surrendered life. May we begin to look at our own lives and the places where we have not relied on Christ to give us the strength, and may we begin to show love to one another and so build unity – so that the church, which is His people, would be blessed. May it be said about us: “Behold, how good and pleasant it is when the people of C3 Brooklyn dwell in unity!”

// Pastor Josh Kelsey