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A significant theme that has been recurring in my life is that of unity. It is critical that brothers and sisters in Christ be unified. Psalm 133 is a psalm that has unity as it sole theme.

1 How good and pleasant it is
when God’s people live together in unity!
2 It is like precious oil poured on the head,
running down on the beard,
running down on Aaron’s beard,
down on the collar of his robe.
3 It is as if the dew of Hermon
were falling on Mount Zion.
For there the Lord bestows his blessing,
even life forevermore.

Verse 1 sets the theme for the psalm. It is good and pleasant when brothers and sisters in Christ dwell together in unity! Absence of conflict is just the precursor to unity. There are many things that can divide us: theological issues, cultural issues, ministry methods, personalities, and styles of music. Unfortunately, many of these things divide the body of Christ.

However, true unity is much more than the absence of conflict. Unity is following a greater sense of purpose: the kingdom of God. Many of the things that divide us are preferential, where individuals are seeking their own way instead of the kingdom of God. Eph. 4:3 says that we should “make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”

Verse 2 of this passage is a beautiful simile, compare unity as being like the consecration of the Aaronic priest. This consecration would set the priests apart from those around them who were not of the priesthood. Likewise, people who are unified are separated from those who would be disunified. This anointing would have also be a feast for the senses: being beautiful to look at, and likely would have smelled good as well. Unity is likewise beautiful and pleasant. The annointing would have also been costly. All priests were anointed with oil, but only Aaronic priests had oil poured on them.

Verse 3 of this passage is also a beautiful similar. It says that unity is like the dew that is present on Mt. Hermon were on Mt. Zion. Mt. Hermon is the highest mountain in the region at over 9,000 feet in elevation. Because of its elevation it is snowcapped most of the year, and as a result it feeds several streams that ultimately make their way into the the Jordan river, a vital source of water for the entire country. In contrast, Mt. Zion is most often arid. The analogy here is that unity is life-giving. The dew that falls on Mt. Hermon gives life to those under its influence.

Unity is beautiful, pleasant and life-giving. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.

13 comments to Unity

  • Brooke Griffith

    I do agree that unity is beautiful and life-giving but it is something that is lacking in America today. There are many things constantly trying to pull us away from one another. It seems in the world today everyone is trying to compete instead of be unified as a body of Christ. What a world needs is an example of what it looks like to be unified. I think the key to coming together as a body is by loving each other despite our differences. The Lord unified us through the gospel, by laying down his life for us. I believe we can show unity is our love for one another, just as Christ showed his love for us. We live in a watching world, when the church comes together and lives differently, people notice and the Lord is glorified.

  • Seth Brummer

    I agree with Brooke on this one. As Christians, we need to unite behind the truth of God’s Word and stand together on that truth, instead of letting preferences divide us. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians that sometimes it’s better to sacrifice a preference to keep a brother from stumbling, and honestly, I think we need to see a lot more of that in the church today. That shows love and brings unity in a way that I don’t think we think of very often.

  • Alexandria Pavlantos

    I agree with the beauty of unity. There is nothing compared to the peace and stability of knowing that yourself and others are unified together to accomplish the same goals. In a worship sense, if your worship team isn’t unified with what you’re doing, then there isn’t a good chance of your worship being completely glorifying to God. Many factors in this world work to tear relationships apart- it’s what Satan does best- and to combat that and walk in relationship and unity with others will truly be pleasing to God.

  • Jules Schieferstein

    Could not agree more with this post. One of the greatest aspects of my life here at Cedarville is just the great, unified Christian community that is all around me. I have grown so much not just because of my own personal study and going through trials, but also by the Christian brothers and sisters I have around me that inspire me to grow as well.

    I especially love the picture in the Psalm about being consecrated like a priest, and how being unified sets us apart from the rest of the world. One of the biggest criticisms I see today is how splintered the church seems to be, and that always seems to turn people away from a church. But churches that are unified, that do care and love for one another, because of a common goal of wanting to live for and love Christ, people notice that they’re different, and they wonder what it is that sets that group apart. Just as Jesus said in John 13:35, “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

  • Rachel E Williams

    I agree with everyone above me! One of my favorite parts of congregational worship, and what I think is the coolest part about it is singing as one voice to God. In our culture, it is rare to take part in something with such a large group of people at the same time, but congregational singing is one of the greatest and most powerful examples of groups of people doing and saying the same thing at the same time. What a wonderful picture of what our eternity is going to be like – getting to sing as one with all believers to our God, forever and ever.

  • Troy Coates

    I believe there are certain aspects to unity that we often leave out. A vital aspect of unity is forgiveness. Not only can differences in opinion create separation in the church, but also acts of wickedness against others, whether deliberate or accidental. “Keeping the peace” is a common phrase that Christians should implement into their relationships within the church and even with those outside the church. The importance to keep unity and peace within the church, however, is extremely important to guard the integrity and reputation the body of Christ should have. I can say from experience that when people hurt one another, it is difficult to grow any sort of compassion and love in the situation. Confusion, bitterness, and distrust can easily sprout from broken relationships unless an attitude of humility and servitude according to Christ’s example are at the forefront of our mind. Forgiveness is critical for the preservation of unity in the body of Christ. And for forgiveness to be possible, love must be existent. Everything is based out of love: love for one another, love for Christ, love for the Holy Spirit, and love for the Lord. (Matthew 22:36-40)

  • Macy McClain

    I think another aspect that we cling to is the power of technology. Communication on all levels is important, but I think that personal communication is weaker because we’re so attached to our laptops, phones, etc. We think that texting someone or using Facebook or Twitter is a means to being unified with people. But I think that grabbing coffee with someone, eating lunch with them, whatever it is, can strengthen the bond of unity. Of course we can’t be in multiple places at once, but being face-to-face with someone can encourage them, and they in turn can encourage someone else. I’ve really been thinking about unity since Convocation. When are we as a department going to be unified with one another? I think it’s good to get along with different people, because you gain perspectives along the way. I stand out because of my disability, and that’s what makes me different and unique. We are all different, but all the same because of the price that Christ paid for us. We are built into Christ being the chief cornerstone. I pray that we would continue to reflect his character to whomever we meet.

  • Brittney Mitchell

    There definitely seems to be a need for church leaders to lead by example in this area. Over the summer i spent time leading in my home church. One issue I faced (which happens a ton) was everyone having an opinion on the worship. Mainly I received comments from the older church crowd. Some of their comments were about the sound quality (an area that many of them didn’t fully understand how it worked) but rather than me explain to them why things are the way they are I took their comments and looked for ways that we can accommodate.

    As leaders i think it is vital that we strive for unity, and avoid all chances for any sort of disagreement to become disunity.

  • Alek O'Connor

    I would definitely agree with this post. I think that we can not emphasize the point of unity enough in churches because without unity there would be no churches! Matthew 18:20 says “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” Even for just those two it requires unity. It is how things get done. There have never been any great world changing movements done by a single person, it is done when people band together because they have similar beliefs. For even things that might seem simple in churches like worship or outreach programs or food drives, unity is required. The idea of unity infiltrates every aspect of the church so it is of the utmost importance that we do not forget or neglect it.

  • Tiffany Sillaman

    I don’t know if having complete unity is something that we’ll ever fully experience until we’re before God. However, one thing that really sticks out to me is Colossians 3:14 “And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” I think love is something that we lack, therefore it leads to the lack of unity. No one is perfect and it’s so easy to be quick to judge, but I think that if we strive to love everyone as much as possible, and also learn to accept love, then the church will grow in unity over time. It will never be perfect, but it is so important as leaders of the church that we continue to push ourselves and love people in all circumstances, to set the example for others.

  • Mikayla Bush

    I had a similar instance as Brittney this past summer. While doing my internship at my home church one member of the “older church crowd” became very critical of the worship ministry and its participants. In addition to being lumped in with this generation, he also happened to be an associate minister on our staff. I understood some of his worries with worship becoming all about an experience, but after hearing more of what he had to say, I realized that he didn’t even understand what worship really was. He didn’t understand why we had practices during the week or on Sunday mornings, and even went so far as to criticize some members of the worship team for raising their hands during corporate worship. In essence, he was making fun of the way people were worshiping. If we look at the story of David and how God made his wife barren after she made fun of him for being undignified in his worship, we can see that God takes this very seriously. After talking with him, I realized his efforts to undermine the worship ministry were out of anger because he saw that our program was succeeding and his programs were not thriving. Over the summer I watched this disunity divide the staff, make things very uncomfortable, and begin to destroy the great ministry taking place within my home church. It was here where I saw that unity is crucial in a successful, church-wide ministry.

  • Josiah Kenniv

    This post brought up some really interesting points. How can we know what is just preference or individuals trying to get their own way? A lot of what divides the church is about little things. I think the only way we are able to lay aside our preferences is when we, all generations included, are really seeking after Christ and not after our own agenda.

  • Joe Bennett

    I love this post because it reminds me of some of the concepts I learned in reading Bonhoeffer’s “Life Together” over break. In the second chapter of this book he defines Christian union and fellowship by saying that “Human love constructs its own image of the other person, of what he is and what he should become. It takes the life of the other person into its own hands. Spiritual love recognizes the true image of the other person which he has received from Jesus Christ; ;the image that Jesus Christ himself embodied and would stamp upon all men.” Thus, unity is beautiful among wretches because we no longer see each other for the wretches that we once were, but as the anointed, redeemed children of God that we are become(ing). How pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!