How good and pleasant it is when God's people live together in unity! -Psalm 133:1, NIV
How wonderful, how beautiful, when brothers and sisters get along!
- Psalm 133:1, The Message
As I've shared in recent sermons, I am rereading Eugene Peterson's classic book A Long Obedience in the Same Direction. In yesterday's devotional reading, Peterson focused on Psalm 133, which contains the words above. Using the same poignant language, he employed in writing The Message translation of the Bible, he wrote these insights about being a part of a community of faith:
- No Christian is an only child.
- The question is not "Am I going to be a part of a community of faith?" but "How am I going to live in this community of faith?"
- Community is essential. Scripture knows nothing of the solitary Christian.
- As we come to declare our love for God, we must face the unlovely and lovely fellow sinners whom God loves and commands us to love.
- Living together in a way that evokes the glad song of Psalm 133 is one of the greatest and arduous tasks before Christ's people. Nothing requires more attention and energy. It is easier to do almost anything else.
- Somewhere between there is community -- a place where each person is taken seriously, learns to trust others, depend on others, be compassionate with others, rejoice with others.
- Our community with one another consist solely in what Christ has done to both of us. (quoting Dietrich Bonhoeffer)
Monday night I witnessed this pleasant beauty of sisters and brothers "getting along" when our Session met. It seems like every meeting we have now requires us to deal with the very complex issues of how to faithfully be the church in this time of pandemic. I believe our Session got along, not because we always agree on everything, (we don't) -- but because of our connection in Christ and our desire to be the community and body of Christ in this place. It was wonderful to behold!