Because the Stories of old? They still impact us today.
We may be a small bunch writing on here, but these stories hold power and I love reading the words linked up each week!
Yet I want to write, to share it all, to show the wounds and scars and point to the One who heals all.
I’m processing and thinking and praying and trying hard not to cry it all out – again. ;) Bare with me, and thank you to everyone who walked with me this past week.
Also of note: I just wasn’t feeling it this week (see above, empty of words) and so I scanned through Galatians, Ephesians, and Philippians looking for one of the women barely mentioned in the Bible. I figured there couldn’t be much to say about her, and the post could write itself. And as only God can do, the first one(s) I came to are connected to how I feel about this past week.
Lord, you know me way too well.
So, join me as we look at Euodia and Syntyche, two women you’ve probably never heard of in your life. :)
- Euodia and Syntyche (who I will call Euro and Syn) were women in the same community of Philippi
- They were mentioned near the end of Paul’s letter to the church at Philippi
- These two women weren’t happy with each other
- Other women/the community knew about the disagreement
We don’t know much about these two women, and as far as I can tell, they only receive one verse in the Bible (Philippians 4:2). Clearly, they had fought or disagreed about something – because Paul, who wasn’t in Philippi, knew of the tension between the two women.
Now y’all, that’s just bad. When a guy (who isn’t as prone to picking up on girl drama) hears about your frustration with a friend…and he’s not even in the same city?
It’s not like they had texting, phone calls, or email back then. This wasn’t a quick spat before making up – it took time for this news to travel to Paul.
And at the end of the letter, when there’s so much more Paul could be writing about, he includes a verse specifically for these two ladies.
I plead with Euodia and Syntyche to agree with each other in the Lord.
Whatever had happened between them, it’s clear that it has caused a serious amount of distance and many people knew something wasn’t okay.
Syzygus and Clement (I mean seriously, what strange names. And we’re supposed to remember these names?! Yeesh. We’re going to call them Suzie and Clem. Because why not.), two other women in the community, are mentioned in the next verse.
Yes, and I ask you, loyal Syzygus, help these women who have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.
These women weren’t lazy or known for bickering. These women were believers, sharing the Gospel and working to tell the world about Jesus. But something got in between them and, because of the tension, we can safely assume the word of Jesus wasn’t being spread – the news of their disagreement was being shared.
Paul asks Suzie to help these women see the error of their ways, reminding her (as if she didn’t know who Euro and Syn were) that they served alongside Clem.
And then – it’s over.
Just like that, we don’t hear about them again.
But in the letter to Philippi we find other verses that were meant for the entire church at Philippi – but I bet Paul thought of these women as he wrote them.
And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ – to the glory and praise of God. (Philippians 1:9-11)
Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ…I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel. (Philippians 1:27, emphasis mine)
[Be] likeminded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 2:2-5)
These two women, Euro and Syn, had great reputations. They were known for advancing the Gospel, but all of a sudden their Stories entered a new chapter and their reputations did a 180. Instead of advancing the Gospel, word was spreading of their disagreement, the tension in their friendship.
Suzie and Clem, on the other hand, had maintained their reputations and were called upon to remind, instruct, and help Euro and Syn. Paul knew he could trust these ladies to bring their friends back to the truth of Jesus Christ and help them “agree with each other in the Lord.”
So where do you fall?
Which group of women to you belong to?
Me? Oh, I want badly to be part of the second group. Many days I fall in that category, ready to encourage and stretch out a helping hand. But for four years now, every time I read these two verses I’m reminded that really, I live in the first category, too.
These women, they believed in Jesus. They didn’t have any trouble opening their mouths and talking about Him, how He changes lives and heals the sick and wounded. But somewhere along the way, something happened between the two of them.
The Body of the Church broke. They took their eyes off Jesus.
If I think about it too long, my eyes water up and I feel like curling up and crying as I relive memories. You too?
Today, instead of giving into those feelings, lets turn instead to what Paul says next:
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.
Because he somehow knew we would laugh at the first mention of rejoicing in the midst of pain, confusion, questions, and brokenness, he throws in the word always. Then, he points out the fact that yes, he will say it again: Rejoice! We should be known for our joy always, and for the gentleness with which we speak and live our lives. Finally, he reminds us that the Lord is near.
Whether these two women became great friends again, we don’t know.
Whether your situation currently finds you in the midst of many questions and no answers or in a place of brokenness, the Lord is near to you right now.
In the middle of the dark night, He remains by your side.
Ladies came around these two women, but even if you have no one come around you – you aren’t alone. The Lord is near.
Perhaps you find yourself in the second category, able to help those that are hurting. Will you do that today? Will you reach out a hand, drop off a meal, send an email or tweet, write a card?
Because the ones in the middle of it all? They need to know they aren’t alone. They need a hug, a word of encouragement, and they need someone to acknowledge that they’ve made wrong choices but God hasn’t gone anywhere.
For you, today, in the middle of the right now, He is with you.
He is with us.
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!