Psalm 133: How Very Good and Pleasant


My favorite setting of Psalm 133 is Barbara Boertje’s “How Very Good,” and this song adds solo verses between the congregational refrains. 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. 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.

Note: This recording is from a previous version of the song.

refrain by Barbara Boertje, copyright 1997
additional words and music by Greg Scheer
copyright 2011

How very good and pleasant
when we live in unity.
It is like precious oil,
like fresh morning dew.
We gather here together
with our hearts and voices raised
to God, who’s our center
of unity in praise!

1. How very good and pleasant it is
when the people of God in unity live.
It’s like oil anointing Israel’s high priest,
or the baptism water that makes us family.

2. Like dew from the mountain or grapes from the hills,
like wheat from the field, God gathers us still
to a banquet of blessing with the bread and the wine:
a foretaste of the feast of eternal life.