Saturday, October 27, 2007

Philemon

Not a "book" but a brief and personal letter, this little letter hints at a tale of of renewal, refreshment, and ultimately restoration. The runaway slave, Onesimus, has come to know the Lord and is ministering to Paul in prison. Philemon, the former master, is likewise a Christian, and host of a house-church. Paul is sending Onesimus back to Philemon, but not to return to the duties in which he formerly labored--rather, to become a fellow-worker in the fields of the Lord.

Being in the Lord changes everything. It changes relationships--the hierarchy of the larger society does not force its way into the midst of our community. Being in the Lord may take away what we formerly considered entitlements--though it does not relieve us of obligations. Wherever we are, we are called upon to be useful, to forgive the debts and sins of others, out of reverence for the One who has paid everything on our behalf.

Lord, today let us be reconciled among ourselves. Restore the runaway to your presence. Renew our strength as we come to your hospitality. Refresh our hearts always in Christ. Amen.

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