Saturday, February 20, 2016

χαρὰ καὶ στέφανός

βλέπετε τοὺς κύνας

3:2 Be watching-out-for the dogs[a], be watching out for the evil workers, be watching out for the mutilation[b]. 3 For we are the circumcision, the ones worshiping in the Spirit of God and boasting in Christ Jesus and not putting-confidence in the flesh— 4 though myself having confidence even in the flesh!

If any other person thinks that he may put-confidence in the flesh, I more— 5 in circumcision the eighth day; from the nation of Israel, the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew from Hebrews; in relation to the Law— a Pharisee; 6 in relation to zeal— persecuting the church; in relation to the righteousness in the Law— having been blameless[c].

7 But what things were gains to me, these I have regarded to be a loss for the sake of Christ. 8 But more than that, I am indeed regarding all things to be a loss for the sake of the surpassing greatness of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for the sake of Whom I suffered-loss-of all things and am regarding them as garbage in order that I might gain Christ 9 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness from the Law but the one through faith[d] in Christ, the righteousness from God on the basis of faith— 10 that I might know Him and the power of His resurrection and the partnership[e] of His sufferings, being conformed to His death 11 if somehow[f] I might attain to [the power of] the resurrection-out from the dead.

12 Not that I already obtained it or have already been made-perfect[g], but I am pressing-on to see if I may indeed take-hold-of [h] that for which also I was taken hold of by Christ Jesus. 13 Brothers, I do not consider myself to have taken hold, but one thing I do: forgetting the things behind and stretching-toward the things ahead, 14 I am pressing-on toward the goal for the prize of the upward[i] calling from God in Christ Jesus.

15 Therefore, all who are mature— let us be thinking[j] this. And if you are thinking anything differently, God will reveal this also to you. 16 Nevertheless, to what thinking we attained, by the same let us be walking-in-line. 17 Be fellow-imitators of me, brothers, and be watching the ones walking in this manner, just as you have us as a pattern. 18 For many walk as to whom I was often saying to you, and now even weeping say, they are the enemies of the cross of Christ— 19 whose end is destruction, whose god is their stomach and glory is in their shame— the ones thinking[k] the earthly things 20 For our place-of-citizenship is in the heavens, from where also we are eagerly-awaiting the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 Who will transform the body of our lowliness[l] so as to be similar-in-form[m] to the body of His glory, according-to the working that enables Him also to subject all things to Himself.

4:1 So then, my beloved and yearned-for brothers, my joy and crown, be standing-firm in this manner in the Lord, beloved.

2 I exhort Euodia and I exhort Syntyche to be thinking the same[a] thing in the Lord. 3 Yes, I ask you also, genuine comrade[b], be helping these women who contended-together[c] with me in connection with the good-news, along-with both Clement and the rest of my fellow-workers, whose names are in the book of life.

4 Be rejoicing in the Lord always; again I will say, be rejoicing. 5 Let your kindness[d] be known to all people. The Lord is near. 6 Be anxious-about nothing, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgivings, let your requests be made-known to God. 7 And the peace of God surpassing all understanding will guard[e] your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

8 Finally, brothers, be considering these things— whatever things are true, whatever things are honorable, whatever things are right, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are commendable, if there is any virtue, and if there is any praise. 9 Be practicing these things which you indeed learned and received and heard and saw in me, and the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 3:2 - 4:9 Disciples Literal Translation)


If I were preaching on our Second Reading tomorrow (which I am not preaching at all tomorrow, not on this Second Reading or anything else), I might mention that many scholars (I do not deceive myself by taking a seat among them on stage, but only in the farthest and cheapest seat in the back corner of the audience) opine that Paul’s Letter to the Philippians is not a “unity” at all, but three or four letters from Paul that someone later cobbled together, and that a bit clumsily, to yield what we have today. 

And that our Second Reading (Philippians 3:17-4:1) is part of a letter that may go from Philippians 3:2 to 4:9 or so, in which Paul rails furiously against what some call the “judaizers” or “circumcision party” of people who came along after Paul, telling the folks of the churches Paul had established, that Paul was wrong in teaching that it isn’t necessary to first submit to the Law of Moses, be circumcised, and become a Jew before becoming a follower of Jesus Christ; but that it is indeed necessary to submit to the entire Law of Moses in order to be saved.

“βλέπετε τοὺς κύνας, βλέπετε τοὺς κακοὺς ἐργάτας, βλέπετε τὴν κατατομήν” Paul rages startlingly, “look out for the κύνας (dogs, scavenging canines, spiritual predators who feed off others), look out for the the evil workers, look out for the false circumcision.” Then he reminds them that we are the circumcision in the spirit of God. He says those enemies glory in showing you περιτομή, what they have cut off, the body that they have created by what they have cut off; but we glory in the new body that Christ Jesus will give us when he returns, a body like his own resurrection body. 

Doubting Thomas here, the skeptic doesn’t know quite what to make of Paul’s assertion that our citizenship is “in (the) heavens” (ἐν οὐρανοῖς - dative plural). He does not say “in Heaven” so that we visualize what we have come to believe, a place around the throne of God and the Lamb where we saints will stand singing the gloria in excelsis in Anglican Chant throughout eternity. Paul didn’t believe that. An apocalyptist, Paul anticipated the imminent eschaton, the end of the world and the Second Coming of Christ when everyone living and dead would be raptured into the sky for judgment and those who had been under the umbrella of the God of Jesus Christ would be eligible for salvation into the New Creation, the kingdom of God on earth under the reign of the returned Jesus Christ. So, I am not certain what to make of Paul’s statement except in that regard and context of his apocalypticism. 

Thomas again, onetime sometime amateur astronomer gazing into uranos, the heavens, the skies, and not seeing that, of billions upon billions of billions of heavenly bodies, Pantokrator is going to finish such a new creation of this one insignificant tiny Earth speck in anyone’s lifetime.

But then, WTH do I know, I’m certain of nothing, absolutely nothing. Except that χαρὰ καὶ στέφανός the names Stephen, Stephan, Steven, Stephanie mean “crown” and the names Kara, and I suppose Karen, mean “joy.” 

As far as τοὺς κύνας the dogs, the cutters, when they come to town
 I'd agree with Paul, βλέπετε and, adelphoi, KYPIYP, so just as well I’m not preaching tomorrow.

But I may or may not open this up in Adult Sunday School.

Thos+ just mucking along

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