It took a year to read the Bible, then almost 9 months to read the Apocrypha. Now, I'm going to try to offer reflections on the Narrative Lectionary. But, I won't be posting daily--at least, for a while.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Blessings of Unity, A reflection on Psalm 133

Commentators tell us that Psalm 133 is one of the group called "Pilgrim Psalms," that were sung as pilgrims traveled toward Jerusalem to worship. "How very good and pleasant is it when kindred live in unity!"

Good and pleasant and necessary.

As necessary as for life as water--Mount Hermon was the source of the Jordan River. As good and necessary as their goal--Zion, the place that God had blessed, the place where blessings were bestowed. (with thanks to John H. Hayes' contribution to Preaching through the Christian Year, Trinity Press International.)

Christians in the time of Paul also recognized the value of unity. And we moderns need to, also.

Recommended reading for today is an article by Robert Wright,  "One World, Under God," from  Atlantic magazine. Here's an excerpt:
Other features of Paul’s business model pushed even more powerfully toward interethnic bonding. They revolve around the traits Paul sought in his most important recruits, whether Jews or Gentiles, and his strategy of recruitment. And they explain how he wound up preaching not just interethnic tolerance or even amity, but interethnic brotherhood, interethnic love. 
In ancient times, as now, one prerequisite for setting up a franchising operation was finding people to run the franchises. Not just anyone would do. Christianity is famous for welcoming the poor and powerless into its congregations, but to run the congregations, Paul needed people of higher social position. For one thing, these people needed to provide a meeting place. Though historians speak of early “churches” in various cities, there seem to have been no buildings dedicated to Christian worship. Borrowed homes and meeting halls were the initial infrastructure. The book of Acts suggests that Paul’s founding of Christian congregations depended heavily on, as Wayne Meeks put it in The First Urban Christians, “the patronage of officials and well-to-do householders.”

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