Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity! It is like the precious oil upon the head, running down upon the beard of Aaron, running down on the collar of his robes! It is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion! For there the Lord has commanded the blessing, life for evermore. Psalm 133:1-3 (Revised Standard Version)
I have loved this psalm from the day I first read it. It puts me at ease. It presents a picture of life that I sometimes glimpse. And when I do see this image in real life, I hear the words run through my head and the joy of the Lord sing within my soul. Where are these scenes of harmony and goodwill that I speak of? They are there every day for those who have eyes to see and ears to hear.
With the beginning of the school year and the ending of summer vacations, people begin to be more regular at worship. Programs become active again. I see faces that I haven’t seen for a while. It warms my heart every year to know that people do care about their worship experience.
Just as beautiful, is when I hear the stories of people in the congregation reaching out to others without even asking or alerting me. It used to concern me that I, the pastor, did not know of some the concerns. It made me feel guilty. That’s was an immature thought. What I came to learn is that God works through more people than just me. Okay, I know that is egotistical. It comes from a strong desire to make sure people are cared for.
What I came to learn as a young pastor is that people are moved by God to love each other apart from the churches direction. How good and pleasant it is when brothers (and sisters) dwell in unity. I think that dwelling in unity includes caring for each other’s wellbeing.
Why is this on my mind? I am hearing more and more conversations about people reaching out to each other. This would be my dream come true. It is not enough for us to just come to church and go home. I think it is important for us to invest ourselves in each other’s well being.
I experienced the importance of simply caring for each other in an unrelated incident. I have had my oil changed for years at the same place. Robert manages the place. I know lots about Robert and he knows about me and my care. But recently something changed. They must have changed how operations were run. It appeared that they were trying to be more efficient. Well, they failed on both fronts. They treated me like a number and the workers were terribly disconnected. It took longer and left me “less satisfied” as they sometimes ask in surveys.
Life in the church isn’t about being efficient. It is coming together and taking time to care for each other. We don’t care just about ourselves, but are also sent into the world around us. Included in this e-news is a letter from a young man who wandered into our community seeking help. A family and then some more members gathered around him and found him help. It changed his life. It took time out of people’s lives. How good and pleasant it is when brothers (and sisters) live in unity.
In some of my recent articles I have talked about the importance of worship, but just as important is each of us participating in the life of the church, giving of ourselves, and being part of a community that cares for each other. Don’t just come and leave. Take time to get to know your brothers and sisters. Be drawn into the fellowship. It is like the precious oil on the head running down upon the beard, upon the beard of Aaron, running down upon the collar of his robes.
In His Service
~ Pastor Bob