Believers Delight – in Harmony

Believers Delight – in Harmony

Believers Delight – in Harmony.

“Behold, how wonderful, how delightful it is for God’s people to dwell together in harmony! It is like the precious oil upon the head, running down on the beard, running down on the edge of his garments. It is like the dew of Hermon, descending upon the mountains of Zion; For there the Lord commanded the blessing – Life forevermore.”  (Psalm 133).

[NOTE: Depending on the translation, this first verse could also read, “How good and pleasant it is when brothers and sisters live together in unity.” One translation even has, “Oh, how good and merry it is when brothers and sisters live together in peace.”].

Harmony. How precious life is when people live together in harmony. This psalm reflects a warm, quiet joy as we imagine anointing oil coming down over the head, over the beard and onto the robe. People living together in peace and unity is the high point of Christian community, is the sign that the Lord is present in the community. The oil that Moses used to anoint Aaron as high priest (Ex. 29:7) was costly, pure, scented, sacred, and purposeful. Living in harmony with others is just as precious, pleasant, life-giving and meaningful. Oil is what set apart Aaron and made him holy. Oil is what consecrated Aaron. In the same way, harmony is what sets the Christian apart from the world. Harmony is what is distinctive and makes the believers sacred. To live in harmony, brothers and sisters see each other as priests, with the unifying oil of love flowing down each believer, saturating the whole body to the hem of the robe.

When harmony is achieved, separate parts are intentionally combined, separate strands are braided together, to create a beautiful whole. Apparent differences are either reconciled or overlooked for the greater good of unity. Great efforts are made at mutual understanding. Adjustments are made in order to fit together. Complementary notes are sung together to enjoy a compelling harmony. “May God, who gives patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus. Then all of you can join together with one voice, giving praise and glory to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 15:5-7, NLT).

Harmony, like fragrantly scented oil, spreads its perfume outwardly. When Christians love each other and are of the same mind and working together, that love spreads to all who can see it. The anointing oil of harmony spreads the aroma of Christ (2 Cor. 2:15). The early church leader Origen once said that the perfume of the knowledge of God is pervasive in the world, thanks to “the mystery of the anointing in which all Christians share; Jesus received the anointing with the oil of gladness in all its fullness. Those who are partakers in Jesus, each according to his own measure, partake also in His anointing. Since Christ is in fact the Head of the Church which forms one single body with Him, the precious oil poured upon the Head, runs down to Aaron’s beard and all the way to the very fringes of His garment.” Fr. Cantalamessa follows up that idea with this thought: “The Holy Spirit is the precious ointment that is poured out on the head of the new High Priest who is Christ Jesus; from Him, the Head, it spreads like a soaking oil down through His body, the Church, to the very hem of its garment, there where the Church touches the world.” (R. Cantalamessa, Come, Creator Spirit).

Community. If a thriving community, maintained by harmony, is a shiny diamond containing many facets, the One Another’s are those facets. The One Another’s reveal what it looks like to harmonize with others, lay down your life for your friends, to put yourself on the shelf in a daily martyrdom, sacrificing yourself for someone else’s benefit out of love. These One Another’s described below describe what it takes to live in a healthy community. With the transforming power of the indwelling Holy Spirit, we can indeed enjoy a life of harmony together that reflects the eternal Kingdom of God, a community that has a heart for one another.

  1. Bear One Another’s Burdens:  To lift up and carry; to take up and walk with; to intercede for someone else, whether through prayer or caregiving, whether tangible or intangible; to relieve someone of something that weighs heavily on them.
  2. Build Up One Another: To edify; to strengthen; to empower; to affirm certain qualities; to help someone or a group to grow to maturity; to construct a building, an edifice, of faith and character in another person or group.
  3. Warn One Another: To admonish; to caution; to place into someone’s awareness; to reprove gently; to call attention to; to alert another person’s thinking; to offer sound advice and guidance.
  4. Encourage One Another: To “paraclete” each other: Called to come alongside someone in need, in order to help and bear burdens by Pointing to God, Advising, Reminding, Advocating for, Comforting, Listening, Exhorting, Teaching and Encouraging.
  5. Restore One Another: To set right; to repair; to refit; to mend; to rejoin; to bring back to its original state; to heal.
  6. Honor One Another: To show deference to; to prefer over one’s self; to highly esteem; to greatly respect; to revere; to focus on the importance of another.
  7. Bear With One Another: To put up with; to make allowances for; to willingly endure; forbearance; to tolerate; to have patience with; to accept someone despite their weaknesses.
  8. Exhort One Another: To urge to continue in the Faith; to beseech in strong terms; to come alongside to offer encouraging guidance; to inspire courage and hope; to call upon someone to act; to give affirming words that strengthens others.
  9. Confess to One Another: To acknowledge openly; to freely admit to wrongdoing; to announce one’s guilt; to concede one’s shortcomings; to repent of sins; to agree with God that one’s sin is a sin.
  10. Wash One Another’s Feet: A simple act of hospitality; a house servant’s task; involves placing someone else’s dirty, smelly feet into a bowl of water and carefully using one’s hands to cleanse those feet of all dirt, grime and sweat, and then drying the feet with a clean towel; a common, menial act of service and humility; exercising the ministry of touch to the untouchable; the powerful sacrament of servanthood.
  11. Harmonize with One Another. When separate parts intentionally combine into a beautiful whole; to reconcile apparent differences into a combined unity; to adjust in order to fit together; to be of the same mind; to unite in the same direction in will, affection and conscience; to join together in unity of spirit and purpose, with one heart and one passion; to be agreeable and get along; mutual understanding.

Harmony In Action:

“So I’m asking you, my friends, that you be joined together in perfect unity – with one heart, one passion, and united in love. Walk together with one harmonious purpose and you will fill my heart with unbounded joy.” (Philippians 2:2).

“Live happily together in a spirit of harmony, and be as mindful of another’s worth as you are your own.”  (Romans 12:16).

“Now this is the goal: to live in harmony with one another and demonstrate affectionate love, sympathy, and kindness toward other believers. Let humility describe who you are as you dearly love one another.” (1 Peter 3:8).

“So then, make it your top priority to live a life of peace with harmony in your relationships, eagerly seeking to strengthen and encourage one another.” (Romans 14:19).

“With tender humility and quiet patience, always demonstrate gentleness and generous love toward one another, especially toward those who may try your patience. Be faithful to guard the sweet harmony of the Holy Spirit among you in the bonds of peace, being one body and one spirit, as you were called into the same glorious hope of divine destiny.” (Ephesians 4:2-4)

“So robe yourself with virtues of God, since you have been divinely chosen to be holy. Be merciful as you endeavor to understand others, and be compassionate, showing kindness toward all. Be gentle and humble, unoffendable in your patience with others. Tolerate the weaknesses of those in the family of faith, forgiving one another in the same way you have been graciously forgiven by Jesus Christ.” (Colossians 3:12-13).

“Finally, beloved friends, be cheerful! Repair whatever is broken among you, as your hearts are being knit together in perfect unity. Live continually in peace, and God, the source of love and peace, will mingle with you… Now, may the grace and joyous favor of the Lord Jesus Christ, the extravagant love of God, and the intimate friendship that we share in the Holy Spirit be yours continually. Amen! (2 Cor. 13:11-14).