Anointing ourselves in unity

mount-hermon

Mount Hermon

How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! 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. It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion. For there the Lord bestows his blessing, even life forevermore. Psalm 133

There’s a lot of symbolism packed into one of the shortest psalms in the Bible. The unity of God’s people is like the oil used to anoint Aaron and his sons in Leviticus 8, and like dew coming down from Mount Hermon, in modern-day Syria, to Mount Zion, then just outside Jerusalem. The psalm equates living in unity to the flowing of oil that consecrated Aaron as the first high priest of Israel and ancestral head of the Israelite priesthood. A spirit of unity brings down life-sustaining moisture from the snow-capped heights of Mount Hermon to the arid hills around Jerusalem.

When we place our love of God and our love of our neighbor – when we place Christ’s commands – above our differences and selfish desires, we accept the anointing to Christ’s ministry that we received at baptism. When we focus more on what unifies us – our love of God and neighbor – than on any points of doctrine or liturgy that separate us, that unity washes us in the Living Water of the Holy Spirit, like dew descending from Mount Hermon.

It is there, anointed and washed clean in our unity of spirit, that we find the Lord’s ultimate gift: “life evermore.” There’s no coincidence in the psalm listing Mount Zion as the place where this gift is bestowed. It was there, on the hills outside Jerusalem, that Jesus was crucified and resurrected, forever showing us the path to eternal life. When we lift our eyes above our petty differences, and focus life’s passions on the way of the cross, we find a unity that surpasses the ways and worries of this world to lead us all to the Kingdom of God.

Eternal God, guide us by your Holy Spirit in the ways of your Son our Savior, Jesus Christ, to elevate our focus above any worldly differences we may have, to find our unity in loving you and loving our neighbor, until by that love all your children share in your Kingdom. Amen.

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