15. Perhaps this is the reason he was
separated from you for a while, so that you might have him back
forever, 16. no longer as a slave but more than a slave, a
beloved brother—especially to me but how much more to you, both in
the flesh and in the Lord.
In this brief letter
written by Paul during his Roman imprisonment, he pleads to
Philemon for Onesimus, a slave that escaped Philemon’s home and
served Paul during his house arrest. We can see how skillfully Paul
made his appeal out of love and made it an opportunity for Philemon
to do what is right and accept Onesimus, as a fellow man and
brother in Christ. Philemon also accepted Christ through Paul,
therefore he had a strong enough brotherly relationship where he
could have demanded of Philemon to accept Onesimus as a brother but
he did not cross that boundary. He reasons with Philemon as he
wants him to voluntarily choose, but highlights the usefulness of
Onesimus by changing his title from slave to brother.
The name Onesimus means “useful and
profitable”. Paul claims that in Christ the useless person has been
made useful but being reborn in Christ, does not end our
responsibility to make restitution; it increases our obligation,
even when restitution is difficult.
In our lives we have
often come to a crossroad where we have been challenged, as
Philemon was here, and asked to step up to help someone or
understand a person’s struggle and to be their support. We
have been in positions where we have had to choose to be better men
and women and do the right thing.
We have all fallen
short of the glory of God, but God respected our boundaries and
allowed us to learn from our sins and mistakes and also gave us a
second chance to rise up and be honest. He respects our boundaries
and wants a relationship with us that is deeply honest about
everything - without us fearing the abandonment and
retaliation we've experienced in other relationships when we have
bared our souls. Do you feel free to share your
disappointment with God, your confusion, and even your anger?
What do you think would happen if you were completely honest with
God about your darkest sins and most hidden convictions?
Hasn’t God forgiven and accepted us as his child?
In our community, we
rarely admit our wrongs, make amends, and accept others through
forgiveness. We need to practice reconciliation and accept others
who may have wronged us or seek forgiveness from those whom we have
hurt. To practice what we preach, we must not sit on the throne of
judgment, but look back into our lives and see that we too have
been forgiven by a merciful judge. In our places of worship, do we
provide a safe space for those who have fallen short or are we
sitting on thrones of righteousness and judging others.
God, give us the courage
and obedience to follow you and to do your acts of kindness.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:
“What love we’ve given, we’ll
have forever. What love we fail to give, will be lost for all
eternity.” – Leo Buscaglia
Community Formation Around Resurrection Experience Acts 23:1-10 Vinod Johnson Carmel MTC, Boston, MA 6 When Paul noticed that some were Sadducees and others were Pharisees, he called out in the council, “Brothers, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees. I am on trial concerning the hope of the resurrection of the dead.” Sometimes, the only thing that keeps you going through a brutal winter is the hope for the spring. It may have been a hard hope to hold on to this particular year in New England - a year in which Boston considered dumping not tea, but the ever growing mounds of snow into its harbor. And yet, the waist deep snow has dissolved away. White desolation has given way to increasingly visible green shoots of spring. A resurrection is at hand! In this passage, Paul tries to defend himself before the Sanhedrin Council. He seeks to drive a wedge between the Pharisees who believed in resurrection and the Sadducees who did not; even though neither believed in the resur
Revelation for Liberation Acts 27:18-26 Sherine Thomas Long Island MTC, NY 20 When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small tempest raged, all hope of our being saved was at last abandoned. “After winter comes the summer. After night comes the dawn. And after every storm, there comes clear open skies” so said a Scottish clergyman from the 1600s. It’s been said, that hope can sometimes be the most dangerous weapon. However, it’s sometimes the hardest weapon to carry when you’re living with the loss of a loved one, something that almost feels like a terrible nightmare that’ll never go away. It’s a weapon difficult to carry when day in and day out no one seems to hear or see those tears that are shed or silent cries that are made during a heartfelt prayer. It’s a weapon difficult to carry as you see your loved one lying on that hospital bed. It’s a weapon difficult to carry as you search and seek out answers to tell a child as to why they’ve been a
PRIESTHOOD: THE ANOINTED MINISTRY Exodus 40:12-16 Bring Aaron and his sons to the entrance to the Tent of Meeting... wash them with water. Then dress Aaron in the sacred garments, anoint him and consecrate him so he may serve me as priest (Exodus 40: 12-13). Priesthood among the people of God was a divine command and initiation. God wanted some people to be separated for the special ministry among his people. God appointed Aaron and his descendants to take up this kind of ministry among the people of God. Priests are always separated and appointed as channels that connect God with his people. All throughout the history of Israel, priests played an important role in connecting people with God and to lead and guide them in the statutes of God. But there are incidents in the Bible where the priests failed in their duties and that led the people to go away from God. So the priests have a special and significant ministry to perform in this world among his people. Two important things