Wednesday, September 12, 2007

How Good and Pleasant It Is!

“How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity! It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down the beard, running down on Aaron’s beard, down upon the collar of his robes. It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion.
For there the Lord bestows his blessing, even life forevermore.”

--Psalm 133

I possess something more valuable than all the gold or prestige or power in the world. I am part of a group of friends who daily live the above psalm. All in this group are women, some married and some single. The age spread is close to 30 years. They are ministers, career women and stay-at-home moms, all from equally diverse backgrounds and with equally diverse personalities. What we have in common, other than being women, is that we happen to go to the same church and we all really love Jesus.

Because of the demands of busy lives, our group meets together at my house just twice a month. Sometimes we have times of intense intercession for the larger things going on in the world, or the smaller difficulties of our own lives. Sometimes we do girly things or watch a movie or scrapbook together. Sometimes there is uproarious laughter and sometimes tears, often both. We listen to each other and advise one another, or worship together. We share food and wine and, in stressful times, chocolate. No matter what the activity is, though, every time we meet a miracle takes place and each woman involved will cancel almost any other event in her life before missing this get-together.

Part of the miracle lies is what is conspicuously absent in the coming together of this group of friends. For example, you will never hear cattiness or gossip come out of a single mouth. Although the humor may be outrageous, it is never coarse or crude or at anyone else’s expense. There is no sarcasm, no thinly veiled digs at each other. There is no critical attitude or that infamous feminine tendency to tear one another down.

The rest of the miracle is what is present among us. When we gather in my living room, all is love and warmth and genuine interest in even the mundane details of each other’s lives. What is spoken is that which will uplift, encourage, challenge, instruct or strengthen. Each of us has perfect confidence that the contents of our very souls are safe there. Each meeting is in effect a celebration of the uniqueness of each woman, where there is appreciation for her fine points, help and encouragement for her weaknesses, but love for the whole package. Each woman’s eyes shine with the life of God and each brings His presence with her. For those precious few hours we are together, the room becomes a sanctuary of peace, joy, and emotional and spiritual safety, and every time I marvel at the glory and rarity of what we have. It really is a miracle.

It’s an amazing privilege to be associated with such an extraordinary group of women who live—not just during our meetings, but daily—with so much integrity and spirit. Many people live their entire lives without ever knowing individuals like these. In these crude and cutthroat times in which we live, it’s more precious than gold to have friends like these who provide an oasis from the storm and are so committed to walking together in Psalm 133 unity. When we meet together, it really is like having warm, fragrant oil poured over us.

I don’t know whether the last line of the Psalm (“For there the Lord bestows his blessing, even life forevermore.”) refers to Mt. Zion or to “when brothers live together in unity.” I do know that in our lives, when sisters dwell together in unity, the Lord certainly bestows his blessing and brings life. It has become my prayer that Christians everywhere will lay aside petty differences, competition and self-interest and embrace each other in this same spirit of unity. Then perhaps the world will take notice and finally declare, “See how they love one another!”

Places to See