Ramble, just for its own sake, I'm retired! Ps 133 if you insist on a topic.

 Now that I don’t need to ramble for a particular congregation’s  pew sheet, I can just ramble. Which is more rambleable anyway, than meeting a pew sheet deadline or even a topic. I’ll sort-of try to map to a lectionary reading for that week - or even readings - but who knows how the mystical muse will muse?

However … I was put in mind by this Sunday’s Psalm of the hairy oily substances (as Peter Cook and Dudley Moore might have put it had they turned their attention to the oleaginous goo) of my teens. I post, of course, for contemporaries, of Brylcreem. Like Rudy Giuliani’s leaking hair dye, Brylcreem would ooze down your acne-scarred face onto the collar of the trendy shirt with which you hoped to impress your sweetheart-du-jour. On the other hand, you weren’t being anointed High Priest in a ritual millennia old.

How good and pleasant it is

when God’s people live together in unity!

It is like precious oil poured on the head,

running down on the beard,

running down on Aaron’s beard,

down on the collar of his robe.

It is as if the dew of Hermon

were falling on Mount Zion.

For there the LORD bestows his blessing,

even life forevermore.

Ps 133 is the 14th of 15 “Psalms of Ascent”, sung by pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem to celebrate a number of annual religious festivals, including Passover, the Feast of Weeks, and the Feast of Tabernacles. One tradition has it that King David composed it in thanks for being crowned king by the united tribes of Israel. By the time the oral tradition was committed to writing, it may have been prophetic for reunion of those tribes after Babylonian captivity. A side note for sacramental purists who are horrified at a crumb of bread or a drop of communion wine being dropped/spilled at communion: There is also debate in orthodox Jewish circles about the anointing oil for a High Priest (Aaron) dripping off his beard and robe - sacrilege!
Whatever, two points. One is that we still haven’t realised Our Lord’s prayer in John 17 that we should be One. At a local level, of course, we often are, especially in the country/rural areas. But not institutionally, and it’s a scandal. Point two? Despite point one and ourselves, the Lord still bestows His blessing. What better time than the Easter season to remember that blessing is life for evermore.


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