Thursday, 21 July 2011


Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious oil upon the head, running down on the beard, The beard of Aaron, Running down on the edge of his garments. It is like the dew of Hermon, Descending upon the mountains of Zion; For there the LORD commanded the blessing— Life forevermore.  - Psalm 133v1-3

The psalmist here captured a beautiful picture of unity. ‘How good and pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity. It is like a precious refreshing oil running down the beard and covering the body.’

I guess the closest we would have in our culture would be the feeling of taking a shower after exercise. The hot water runs downs and cleanses away the dirt and grime and sweat that we have picked up. When we are done we feel so good and clean and refreshed and ready to face the next challenge.

That is what unity is all about. The unity of the body of Christ should be our chance to be cleansed and refreshed from all the junk we have picked up. That blessed unity is one of God’s great blessings. I like the thoughts expressed in my reading in the Valley of Vision this morning – ‘I long for the blissful communion of thy people in thy eternal house in the perfect kingdom.’

That all sounds nice. But while we are here seeing it played out is different. Instead of unity brethren seem to be seeking out chances to divide. While there is a Bible injunction to earnestly contend for the faith and defend the purity of the gospel that doesn’t seem to be enough. I was reading an article in a conservative evangelical magazine this morning. The article was discussing another conservative organisation. The only complaint they could come up with was that the second group did not separate to the extend they did, or talk about separation enough!

If it were not so sad it would be silly. The things the brethren divide over would make you laugh if you weren’t crying. No group has a monopoly on divisiveness over unity. We are all guilty.

I like the way the writer of Hebrews put it – ‘Seek out peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man can see the Lord.’

Notice the verse starts with ‘seek peace.’ Our goal is peace with God and with each other. The only disclaimer on that is that we cannot forsake holiness at the expense of holiness.

The key to this pleasant and refreshing unity is pretty basic. Pursue peace with all men, and holiness. How can we go wrong when we do that?  

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