“Therefore, my brothers and sisters, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, my beloved. I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. Yes, and I ask you also, my loyal companion, help these women, for they have struggled beside me in the work of the gospel, together with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life.” (Philippians 4:1 – 3)
This is not the first time Paul has used the concept of “being of the same mind”; he also says this earlier in the book of Philippians. But the biblical commentators in their comments give the impression that Euodia & Syntyche has some differences of opinion and approach. They are commended for their service to the believers, and numbered amongst Paul’s co-workers. One could wonder why the mention, but a reason has never been forthcoming. Let us move on then . . . . . for now.
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near.
Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Verses 4 – 7)
Being of the same mind is not a tangible thing. (Oh come on! Did you really think I was not going to build on the opening verses of this passage?!) Pragmatically speaking, and physiologically speaking, no member of humanity or creation has the same mind as another. Each mind is distinct, especially amongst humanity. There may be a sameness, but I really do not think that actually humanity and creation has a hive mentality. And this fact comes to a crux because each member of humanity has to have their own individual relationship with the Divine. Jesus Christ did not come to the earth to sprinkle holy dust and have it pass down from generation to generation.
I think where we get tripped up is that the fruits from that individual relationship can be very much the same. But because the fruits are not tangible (by that I mean you can not smell it or taste it or hold it or weigh it), they often do not have value in our modern world. Paul says “the Lord is near” and the theology that follows that assertion is also an intangible. Prayer, supplication, thanksgiving, and peace only have value and substance if that is what we want, and what we want to have & do.
“Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.” (Verses 8 – 9)
Truth, honor, justice, purity, and praise can be very powerful commodities, but again only if that is what your faith system and value system exhort you to seek. But just because they are intangible, does not mean they are not accessible, and achievable. Euodia & Syntyche may not have been of the same mind in their approaches, as the biblical commentators hint; but I think it is save to assume that the results of their work were a strong sense of the Presence of the Lord God (an intangible) and the the conversion of many in Philippe that came to form a powerful faith circle.
It is my prayer, beloved reader, that you value the intangibles of the faith life more than the worldly tangibles that our modern society tangles in front of us. And may you come together in your faith circles so that the Christian faith is presented as a united and positive force in the world. Shalom & Selah!