How would you respond if I publicly announce that you need to be of the same mind in the Lord with someone with whom you are in conflict? I always wonder about the fine points the Bible leaves out. I imagine the details of the conflict between Euodia and Syntyche to be too famous, too juicy, or too unworthy to bring before the live studio audience in Philippi. Perhaps the disagreement between the two is so well known that it bears no repeating!
Lack of authentic mindfulness can foster lack of unity, which can lead to unfaithfulness in community. Paul first admonishes the Philippians to “stand firm in the Lord.” He then stresses the need for unity. Regardless of the reason for the conflict, Paul encourages the two women to “be of the same mind in the Lord.” He urges others in the community to come alongside the women and support them in this matter.
Paul goes on to urge the readers to rejoice in the Lord always, to let gentleness be known to everyone and not to worry but in everything let their requests be made known to God. Is he also addressing the two women while reminding himself about how to live and function in a community or as a disciple of Jesus? Paul lists the qualities of true community and suggests that the Philippians make those their focus as they come together mindfully. Then he closes with this admonition: “Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me.” He sets himself forth as an example.
What conflicts in your community need people, including you, to come together to resolve or reconcile in order for the ministry or mission to produce fruit? Whose example do you choose to follow?Patient God, who loves and teaches us always, thank you for promoting much-needed reconciliation and healing. May we seek you always and everywhere. Amen.
Patient God, who loves and teaches us always, thank you for promoting much-needed reconciliation and healing. May we seek you always and everywhere. Amen.
The narrative in Exodus 32:1-14 reflects on the blindness of the people, but the focus is also placed on Yahweh’s intense anger and on Moses’ intervention. Yahweh’s mercy prevails, and Moses is revealed as the quintessential mediator. Psalm 106 recalls the folly of the people in making the golden calf. The sinfulness of the Israelites is laid to their forgetfulness. The inability and unwillingness of the people of God to remember is a damning sin that calls for a tough response. The Philippians text stresses the need for faithfulness to the gospel. Matthew’s version of the parable of the wedding banquet offers a negative example of faithfulness in the form of a guest who comes to the wedding without the proper attire.
• Read Exodus 32:1-14. How do you demonstrate allegiance to or dependence on God’s faithfulness in your life? What “golden calf” diverts your attention?
• Read Psalm 106:1-6, 19-23. Re ect on those times when you recalled the past, lamented, and cried for mercy.
• Read Philippians 4:1-9. Con ict creates discord. How do you handle con ict in your spiritual journey? in your church?
• Read Matthew 22:1-14. God continually invites us to divine encounters—with God directly and with others. How seriously do you take God’s invitations?
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