The Fragrance of Unity

We learned early on that the goal of Rebuild Fellowship is to start a “love movement.” Little did I know how much I needed the gospel-love I keep finding and experiencing in this fledgling community of beautiful believers. For the past six weeks on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays we have been greeted with hugs—not the usual stiff side hug, not the awkward shift of a hip, tilt of the head, light-touch-of-one’s-fingertips-on-the-other’s-shoulder kind of greeting. No, we receive full-on family hugs from everyone. In fact, our pastor is of the mind that we all need at least sixteen hugs a day.

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A Mingling of Cultures

Part II

So, each Sunday morning as I stand at the top of the cement steps to “welcome y’all to the service,” I am often warmly embraced and sometimes kissed on the cheek by people I barely know, and I am often left with a sense of wonder and always with a mingling of perfumes. These long-lingering whiffs of love serve to remind me of unity in the midst of diversity.

Psalm 133 is a picture of my experience, the writer exclaims: “Behold how good and pleasant it is when brothers and sisters dwell in unity! It is like the precious oil on the head, running down on the beard, on 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 forevermore.”

Way back in the annals of salvation history, God gave his servant Moses very clear instructions about the “anointing oil” used by Aaron and the Levitical priests. Blended by the perfumer, this oil was made from the best spices—liquid myrrh, sweet smelling cinnamon, and aromatic cane, cassia and olive oil (Exodus 30:22–33)—and was described by God as most holy. Clearly from the Psalmist’s description, and concurrent with God’s instructions in Exodus, the anointing oil was to be used generously and with extravagance. The Psalmist calls to mind a seemingly familiar scene — oil running down from the top of Aaron’s head, into and through his beard, onto his collar, and most certainly finding its way all the way down along the folds of his priestly robes.

What comes to my mind is oil—messy and slippery, seeping into everything, and difficult to wash away; and yet, the psalmist describes this scene as “good and pleasant” with an exclamation point! If you happen to follow the rules for writing you know the over-use of exclamation points is strongly discouraged! So, noticeably this short psalm contains three—perhaps because unity was scarce in his day like it is in ours, and upon experiencing it he could not help but notice…and worship.

This holy and extravagant love, much like the fragrant flow of holy oil, is seeping deep into my being and leaves behind a lasting scent of good and pleasant unity. I cannot help but worship (!).