Psalm 133: How Very Good and Pleasant

At COS we’re doing a series on stewardship and this Sunday’s theme was “Stewards of Community.” We normally use the lectionary Psalm, but I thought it would be more appropriate to use Psalm 133 this week. My favorite setting of that Psalm is Barbara Boertje‘s “How Very Good,” and my initial thought was to pair it together with readings from the Psalm, John 13:34-35, and singing Taize’s “Ubi Caritas.”

But you know me–I just can’t leave stuff alone, and I started playing around with an idea to add solo verses to Barbara’s song. My study of the Psalm tells me that the oil represents–thinking broadly–the anointing that made Israel God’s people, and the dew represents God’s blessing through food and creation. Looking through New Testament eyes, we could interpret the oil as Jesus our anointed High Priest and/or the baptismal waters that set us apart as God’s people. The dew could become the bread and wine which are a foretaste of the eternal life promised at the end of Psalm 133.

With that in mind–and with Barbara’s permission–I wrote 2 verses to go with the original song. We sang it this Sunday morning and it worked well. The verses feel like they’re cut from the same cloth as the refrain and it expands Barbara’s original idea to include the text of the whole Psalm, without increasing the difficulty of the congregation’s part. Listen to the MP3 or take a look at the PDF. (The score doesn’t include the piano part for the refrain. I just pasted it in for the time being.)

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