Given By Rev. Madison Shockley September 8, 2019
The letter to Philemon is one of the historical writings from Paul. He applies the principles of the Christian faith to an everyday problem. Paul was evangelizing in the Greco-Roman world. This raised many questions as they were not familiar with Jesus or the Jewish faith. They asked what this new faith meant for their daily living. A part of Roman life involved slavery. They were now told that once you were baptized, you were free within the faith. This was a radical concept. The slaves were now equals with their slave owners as Christians. This did not free them from slavery though. This was confusing. Philemon was a leader in the Christian community. One of his slaves converted and walked away. This slave went to Paul and offered his services to Paul. Now Paul had a problem. He had a runaway slave before him. Paul wrote this letter to Philemon asking him to do the right thing and sent the letter, carried by the slave, back to Philemon. We trust that Philemon did do the right thing. Today, we are Paul. We are acting as allies to those in need. We may not share their sexual orientation, undocumented status, racial, or gender so we may not fully understand their situation. This may make it difficult to be an ally. Still,we are asking our peers to do the right thing. We must speak to our peers on the basis of love, on what is right. We must remind our friends that it is not about laws but about what is right. Laws can be changed. We must listen to the words of Christ and learn to love.