I’ve been musing over King David’s brilliant enroute-to-Jerusalem worship lyrics, “How good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!” (Psalm 133)
It’s a short song, inspiring and contemplative – and based on David’s interpretation of Exodus 30:23-25.
Today, we would probably include 1 Corinthians 13:13 in the song. Love certainly is a good way of understanding what an expression of unity is. What we need to grasp perhaps is, “fargin” the Yidish word meaning, ‘to glow with pride at the success of others’. It’s a word that is certainly worthy of being adopted straight into our Christian vocabulary!
If we are to dwell together in unity then we must be rooting for each other. It is a ‘grace-imperative’. The unity that it points to in Psalm 133 expresses an assertive hint about collegiate relationship, trust, openness, mutual respect, vision, transparency and vulnerability. And more than anything, humility.
When an Israeli says, “lefargen” it means to not begrudge the success or well-being of someone else, it’s a positive way of expressing the satisfaction one can feel with another’s happiness. It’s what happens when we pray for each other, for other churches that they would have the blessing of the Lord on them (Proverbs 10:22)
The problem is, not only is there no word in modern Hebrew to approximate the fargin of Yiddish, but there is also a lack of this attitude in much of our individualistic society. It’s an unhealthy position and we have to take positive steps to ensure that we avoid the pitfalls.
In developing a culture of honour and preferring one another as we grow together as God’s alternative community we need to intentionally fargin what God is doing – celebrating everything that God is doing in our midst. It is very easy to focus on what is not happening, and miss the deep, wonderful, life-transforming blessings of God that are happening, and not always announced from the rooftops.
Bless God with an authentic heart-fargin for everything that God is doing in the lives of those around you and in the Churches near you! In so doing you will be like Paul the apostle who was constantly thanking God and praising Him for all that he heard from the Churches that He was working with.
Fargin may be a missing word, but the attitude can be alive in our midst as we work out our salvation together, in fear and trembling. What an awesome God!