Psalm[133:1] Behold, how good and pleasant it is

when brothers dwell in unity!

[2] 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!

[3] It is like the dew of Hermon,

which falls on the mountains of Zion!

For there the LORD has commanded the blessing,

life forevermore.

I once asked my father what he would most like to see in his church as an indication of God working in his people so that they were revived. His answer was not complicated and by man’s standards, it was not in any sense earth shattering. But I think it was very profound and intensely biblical and a fascinating testimony that he knew what life really is all about as we seek to live for the glory of God and with each other at the same time. He said “I would like people to reach across the aisle and hold the hands of the people sitting across from them.”

When we think of what it means to be a good church or a “significant” church or even a God pleasing church, we often do not think of something as simple as a group of people who would reach across the aisle to each other in a demonstration of unity. We, just like the rest of the world when it dreams of the future, quite often think big – big buildings, big budgets, big names, big reputations.

We are quick to talk about three thousand souls saved on Pentecost as recorded in Acts 2 but hardly any of us are familiar with the phrase at the end of the Book of Acts regarding Paul’s results while in his house imprisonment in Rome – “…some were convinced by what he said while others disbelieved” (Acts 28:24). And how many of us dream of a group of people, large or small, who truly love each other and demonstrate it through care and prayer and real empathy?

It is a very striking thing how much emphasis the New Testament puts on unity. After three chapters of deep doctrine to the Ephesian church (and others) the Apostle Paul applies the deep doctrines he has been teaching by saying this:

[4:1] I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, [2] with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, [3] eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

That’s all Paul can come up with after teaching about predestination, redemption by Him who works out everything after the counsel of His own will? After telling us about the Holy Spirit who is given us as a guarantee of our inheritance? After demonstrating what the mystery of the Gospel is, that the Gospel is for Jew and Gentile? After praying that they “be filled with all the fullness of God” (3:19)?

How we underestimate the power of unity. Christian unity that grows out of a genuine love for others is a powerful thing. It is the inevitable outcome of the Gospel that really works in His children. It is what we are called to. And as this Psalm tells us, it is to be compared to the calling of the priests of ancient Israel as they were consecrated to offer sacrifice to God and intercede before God on behalf of the people.

Unity is our calling. It has taken the death of the Son of God to get us to experience and express it. It shows the world that we are the disciples of Christ. It is the result of what is greater than even faith and hope (I Corinthians 13:13). Reaching out to hold hands with those sitting across the aisle in church is a great goal for us to have for ourselves in our churches.

And as Paul tells us just before he calls upon the Ephesians to be united:

[20] Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, [21] to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

God is so powerful, that he can enable believers to get along.

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