“How good and pleasant it is when brothers 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 upon the collar of his robes.”~Psalm 133:1-2
I love pretending that I am a choir director—directing my imaginary choir while listening to music. My husband teases me because he knows that I enjoy it to the fullest. My favorite part is always when the sections separate: sopranos, altos, then tenors! Don’t let me get started. If I could have selected the gifts that I wanted, one would have been the gift of music. Sometimes I have to remind myself to stay in my lane when it comes to music, and stick to appreciating it.
I mention the choir because in order for a choir to sound good, all of its members must sing on one accord. They have to follow the same beat, sing in the same key, and follow the direction of the choir director. If each member were to sing his or her own song, then they would not be creating beautiful music. It would be utter chaos. The choir conveys a sense of unity, and I believe that Psalm 133 is conveying the importance of the unification of all believers. Regardless of our racial or denominational affiliation, we are a part of one body—the same body—of Christ.
Scripture says that it is wonderful when we live together in unity. There is power in being unified. The passage continues by describing unity as the oil that flows down Aaron’s head, beard, and collar. Consider this with me: Jesus is the head of the body that Christians are all a part of. Might it be that the anointing starts with him, and flows to us? Can we consider ourselves the beard that is connected to the head? … And what about the collar of Aaron’s robe? … Can we consider the collar of the robe to be the different vocations that we have been called to work in? Whether it’s teaching, preaching, writing, serving as a missionary, or working as an administrator… The point is this—we are anointed because we are connected to the body of Christ. He lives in our hearts, and we live as members of his body. The anointing flows directly from him to us, and from us to whatever we put our hand to—provided that it is in line with the will of God, and we are working in unity.
If we consider the scripture in its original context, we will find that the people lived in anguish after being separated during a period of exile. First, their nation was divided into two separate kingdoms. Later, both kingdoms were overthrown and the people were banished from the land. Those who survived made periodic trips to meet together and worship God. After being divided against their will, being together was a cause of celebration.
It is my prayer that we will become as anguished as these people were, about the things that divide the body of Christ. Whether it is preferred styles of worship, music, or cultural differences. I don’t see a problem with us worshiping in ways that fit our cultural contexts, but why can’t we create more occasions for us to come together, as a collective body and worship in unison?
I wondered about this oil that was poured on Aaron’s head, and found its original reference in Exodus. This was olive oil, that had been mixed with myrrh, cinnamon, fragrant cane, and cassia (see Exodus 30:23-25). God required these four spices in order for the olive oil to become a holy oil that could be used for anointing. Could these four spices represent the different ethnic groups on our planet? Might they be representative of the different denominations that have been created in the church? When I picture these spices being blended together in the olive oil, I also view them as becoming something greater than they were when they were apart. The cinnamon is no longer just a spice for food. Now it is part of the anointing. If that cinnamon weren’t included, however, the anointing would not have occurred. It would have simply been olive oil mixed with spices.
When I think about the choir, the sound of collective voices amazes me. Have you ever tried to sing a choral song by yourself? I have…and quite frankly, it does not sound the same. I might hear the other parts in my head, but it still isn’t the same. The sound of the collective choir is greater than the individual parts of its members.
I can only wonder how much power there will be when the body of Christ unites. We’ll become more than individual ministries. I’m not suggesting that our individual ministries are not anointed, but I do believe that we’ll receive an even greater anointing when we combine our efforts. Together, we can become much more powerful. Scripture urges us to come together on one accord (see 1 Cor. 1:10). Lord, help us get there.