Songs for the Road: The Psalms of Ascent

Day 18: The Sweetness and Rarity of True Community

Scripture Reading: Psalm 133

The Christian life is a climb—a journey of constant growth, sacrifice, and trusting God for what we cannot see. As Eugene Peterson said, we are pilgrims, but we are also disciples—always moving and always learning. The Psalms of Ascent (Psalms 120-134) were sung by worshipers as they made the journey up to Jerusalem for the annual feasts. In this 3-week reading plan, we are digging into these traveling songs with the help of short summary essays and thoughtful, reflective questions for each psalm. Take your pack on your shoulder and walk with us as we pursue God together.

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Psalm 133 (CSB)
LIVING IN HARMONY
A song of ascents. Of David.

1 How good and pleasant it is
when brothers live together in harmony!
2 It is like fine oil on the head,
running down on the beard,
running down Aaron’s beard
onto his robes.
3 It is like the dew of Hermon
falling on the mountains of Zion.
For there the LORD has appointed the blessing —
life forevermore.

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The pilgrim-disciple celebrates how good it is when his brothers and sisters dwell together in unity, meaning it is rich and pleasurable.

There are two kinds of pleasure: the kind we seek only for ourselves and the kind we seek as a part of belonging to a community. This second kind requires vulnerability and intimacy, trust and the laying down of self. Finding unity with others takes work as well as risk. It is something we celebrate because it is both rare and good.

Reflect
1. Is there someone from your past or present with whom you need to pursue reconciliation—someone you need to move toward in love? In what ways do you “behold how unpleasant it is” to dwell in disunity?

2. What are some of the best ways you can actively pursue Christian community? Why is it important to cultivate spiritual friendships?

3. This psalm describes our unity with one another as something that carries over into eternity. How does regarding our spiritual friendships as eternal relationships help us love each other? Forgive each other? Respect each other?