Posts Tagged ‘Psalm 133’


Living in Unity Can Be…

August 19, 2011

This is a condensed version of Phil Porter’s sermon “Living in Unity” that he preached on Sunday, August 14 at First Church.

Church groupThe first verse of Psalm 133 says: “How very good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity!” I found this simple declaration powerful and uplifting. I assume the intent of the second verse was to illuminate this idea with a luxurious and sensual metaphor: “It is like the precious oil on the head, running down upon the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down over the collar of his robes.”

And that is just the way I read it the first couple of times through. But then I began to see the image from my own modern (and, yes, somewhat fastidious) point of view. Oil? In your hair? Your beard? Running down onto your clothes?”

And that is when another truth hit me: trying to live in unity can be a sticky mess.

Yes, we know the delights of community: support, connection, continuity, friendship, collaboration, energy, care. But if we approach the task of being together from our “lower selves”—those parts of ourselves that are insecure, needy, self-absorbed, unlovable and unloved, community is a huge challenge. We can be inflexible, unforgiving and intolerant, all qualities that are deadly in community.

Fortunately our spiritual tradition calls us to a bigger vision. It calls forth our “higher selves.” Perhaps it is the larger circle that God draws that can encompass our delightful but sometimes exasperating differences. It is this larger circle of love and acceptance that can fill our hearts and soften the challenge of living together. It is this larger circle that invites forth our openness, our acceptance, our service, our care.

And things become noticeably less sticky!

Get a video sneak peak of Phil’s sermon…

Watch the complete sermon on video…