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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Saturday, August 1, 2020  

Today’s Scripture Reading  |  Psalm 133

How very good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity!
It is like the precious oil on the head, running down upon the beard,
on the beard of Aaron, running down over the collar of his robes.
It is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion.
For there the Lord ordained his blessing, life forevermore. (NRSV)

Talk about huge! This psalm is so much more than it appeared to me at first glance. The opening statement, “How very good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity,” would be a nice sentiment if it stood alone. But wait for the closing zinger: “For there the Lord ordained his blessing, life forevermore.” Is the opening sentence tied to the last? Is this a covenantal relationship? Is “living together in unity” a commandment? Certainly God’s blessings are up to God, but if we have a part in the asking, we need to pay attention to the first verse.

I have endeavored in recent months to listen to and understand the experience of people who have been put in my life. Not just “How are you doing?” but “Tell me about your experiences that have formed your beliefs.” I have asked people I know and dearly love—those with whom I agree and don’t agree. It occurred to me that I was avoiding the people who had different political, social, and religious views than I did. The thought of those conversations made me afraid and upset. A friend explained to me that neither asking nor listening requires a response or a rebuttal. How freeing! Is this unity? Does the Latin root (one) necessarily imply “agreement”? I believe that I can live in unity with my kindred and not agree with them. The psalm does not say, “How very good and pleasant it is when kindred share the same political views!” Hearing and understanding another’s truth helps define my own.

Powerful and quiet God, grant that we may first seek to understand, providing for our kin the space to say what is true for them, so that we all may live together in unity and receive everlasting life. Amen.

Written by Katy Sinclair, Associate Director of Music for Children and Youth

Reflection and prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church

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