What’s in a promise?

Living by covenant, not contract

In a sparse living room, just off a busy street, a young man kneels on a hardwood floor, his head bowed, oil dripping from his hair. Standing around him with their hands on his head, his back, his shoulders, a small group is praying. They are asking God to bless the promise this young man has made “to persevere with these people in this place.” Minutes ago, one of them read from Psalm 133: “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.”

This oil of anointing is like the oil that marked Aaron as a priest and like the perfume that Mary of Bethany poured on Jesus’ feet, signifying that he is one who was set apart for God’s service. This oil is precious not so much for its market value as for the commitment it marks.


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