Every Tuesday night in our church service John would stand up and like a little mouse he would come to the front and ask permission to share a passage he had memorised.
The Living Room church service was set up to be an alternative to the mainstream services held on Sunday. It was geared to be highly inclusive and supportive to people struggling with disabilities, in particular those with Mental Illnesses.
John didn’t have a Mental Illness per say but had intellectual disability struggles. Every Tuesday he would give us some passage of scripture. Often with a quivering voice just express his absolute thankfulness that was allowed to do this.
Psalm 133 was one of his favourites.
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is
For brethren to dwell together in unity!
It is like the precious oil upon the head,
Running down on the beard,
The beard of Aaron,
Running down on the edge of his garments.
It is like the dew of Hermon,
Descending upon the mountains of Zion;
For there the Lord commanded the blessing—
Life forevermore. Psalm 133 NKJV
John, along with many others, knew the value of a common unity (community).
There was tolerance but also willingness to call people on behaviours that were unacceptable. John had a short fuse and would easily storm off in a rage when something didn’t go his way.
Quietly and gently members of the community would calm him down, listen and try and resolve his tensions. Often he would express tears at the love he felt from the common unity. A love that he sorely needed in his bruised heart.
I think that because of this common unity the Lord commanded a blessing upon that group. Certainly others thought so.
In our rebuild journey of Nehemiah we come to the decision moment where the people of Jerusalem had to choose whether or not to join in on Gods desire to not only rebuild the ruined walls of Jerusalem, but also the rebuilding of their common unity.
I told them that the hand of my God had been gracious upon me, and also the words that the king had spoken to me. Then they said, “Let us start building!” So they committed themselves to the common good. Nehemiah 2:18
There was a commitment to the common good. They realised that living separate lives didn’t work. There was a need to be corporately bound to the growth of themselves as a community. To have a common unity.
Nehemiah had presented the vision, he had told the stories of how he had come to this moment, this time and this place. Now the invite was laid out for others to join in on the journey.
I desire to be part of a common unity, a group of people who will enthusiastically gather around me and say ‘Let us start building’.
Would you like that?
Often people slot the word ‘Church’ into that role, but so often I have discovered that churches are not places of common unity. That there isn’t a willingness to seek a common good to start rebuilding a life. Perhaps its fear, ignorance, or a combination of the two.
John, our Psalm 133 man, felt the love of a common unity and there the Lord commanded a blessing. He knew aroha (Maori for Love).
Question to Consider
- What is required to have a place where there is a ‘common unity’?
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