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.
In Exodus 33 Moses successfully argues that without Yahweh’s merciful presence Israel is no nation and that Yahweh’s and Moses’ efforts have come to naught. Psalm 99 mentions Yahweh’s royal rule, which brings to mind the human agents of that rule: Moses, Aaron, and Samuel. Each of these leaders facilitated Yahweh’s conversation with the people and Yahweh’s rule over them. The opening lines from First Thessalonians raise a question about the church’s understanding of evangelism. Paul and his coworkers experience a change in themselves because of the Thessalonians, who become a living proclamation of the gospel by virtue of their ready acceptance of it. In the Gospel reading, Jesus answers a question with a question and confuses his “audience” both then and today.
• Read Exodus 33:12-23. When have you most longed for a glimpse of God’s glory? How did God give you the assurance you needed?
• Read Psalm 99. Where in your life is forgiveness needed to restore a loving relationship? How have you experienced “a forgiving God”?
• Read 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10. As your Christian faith has developed, how have you seen it move “from head to heart to hands”?
• Read Matthew 22:15-22. How do you give to God “the things that are God’s”? What are some of those things Jesus wants you to give?
Respond by posting a prayer.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
View a growing list of resources for the spiritual work of overcoming racism.