On Saturday, August 11, 2007, Ms. Judith Tutt-Starr shared a Dwelling in the Word moment with the ELCA Churchwide Assembly.
How good and pleasant it is when brothers and sisters 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 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 forever more.
My parents were divorced when I was 10 years old. My father left my four sisters and myself. He pretty much disappeared from my life for the next 11 years. Not sending birthday cards. Not being present for recitals. Not sending support to my mother. He disappeared. We learned that three months after the divorce, he remarried a woman with four daughters and one son. Divorce and the nuances are often hard for a child to understand, but I did understand what it feels like to be abandoned.
If you fast forward another 10 years, my sisters and myself finally decided to confront the demon of dysfunction in our family. You see, we have three ELCA pastors and an elder among us, and we all consider ourselves to be strong persons of faith. But we had not learned how to forgive.
Arrangements were made for us all — 26 in total — for my sisters and their families and the step-sister and -brother to gather, meet, stay, and talk about our lives. We were to meet at my father's ranch. His life has been good to him and he became a very wealthy man. The weekend came and people began arriving from their homes. Soon enough, the conversation began to turn ugly. There was not enough love in that room that bore in our hearts for one another. Too many years of unexpressed hurt hung heavy in the air. And I remember sitting on the floor just listening and I picked up the Bible from my dad's coffee table and it opened to Psalm 133. How good and pleasant it is when brothers and sisters dwell together in unity.
And I began to say aloud the words. Very soon people they began to hear and speak the words over and over until we were all saying the verse together in unison. That moment was like that precious oil running down the beard of Aaron. It was as if the Holy Spirit was moving from person to person. And then there was quiet. Finally, people began to speak to one another with words of love in compassionate ways, to find the understanding that had been removed from our lives. After a day or two, we left caring about and for one another, promising that never again we be outside of the family circle of love and understanding.
How good it is when brothers and sisters live together in unity for there the Lord bestows a blessing, even life forever more.