400 years ago, in 1619, slavery came to America. The New York Times has produced a stunning series of podcasts (click here) on the role of slavery in our nation — from establishing our bustling New World economy, to the pernicious face of racism in modern life.
This Sunday we’ll consider a New Testament letter that was used to support and condemn slavery. Paul’s Letter to Philemon was to be carried by a slave, Onesimus, whom Paul is sending back to his owner, Philemon. Paul respects Philemon’s ownership of Onesimus, but, nonetheless, pleads for his freedom.
What is especially stunning is the intimacy of the letter. Paul has become a true brother to Onesimus. As you read his brief letter, you are struck by Paul’s genuine love, need and concern for Onesimus.
This week we continue our new sermon series, Postcards from the Road of Faith. Paul’s 21-verse “postcard” to Philemon clearly has implications for public life. But just as powerful is its message for our private lives. Here is a letter about how God brings us the deepest spiritual friends and family – people that we, on our own, would never have noticed nor chosen.
Is God bringing an Onesimus into your life?