1 Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother,
To Philemon our dear friend and fellow worker— 2 also to Apphia our sister and Archippus our fellow soldier—and to the church that meets in your home:
3 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
This week we will look at the book of Philemon (if you have the chance, watch the video “How to Read Philemon” by Tim Mackie on RightNow Media). It’s one of the apostle Paul’s shortest letters, and it’s written when Paul was imprisoned in Rome and addresses to Philemon.
From the letter two main purposes surfaces: 1) for Philemon to forgive Onesimus, one of his slaves. Onesimus wronged Philemon and ran away, but along the way he found Paul in prison and in the process became a follower of Jesus and an assistant to Paul; 2) For Philemon to embrace Onesimus as a brother in Christ and no longer as a slave.
In this passage we read about the church that meets in Philemon’s home and since SCF can not meet together corporately like we used to, this is a reminder that we can still be part of the church and be the Church even when we are not gathering at 53 Hengshan Lu on a Sunday afternoon.
“It is true, of course, that what is an unspeakable gift of God for the lonely individual is easily disregarded and trodden under foot by those who have the gift every day. It is easily forgotten that the fellowship of the Christian brethren is a gift of grace, a gift of the kingdom of God that any day may be taken from us, that the time that still separates us from utter loneliness may be brief indeed. Therefore, let him who until now has had the privilege of living a common Christian life with other Christians praise God’s grace from the bottom of his heart. Let him thank God on his knees and declare: It is grace, nothing but grace, that we are allowed to live in community with Christian brethren.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Authorities: Pray for wisdom in dealing with containment of the virus and in making decisions for the masses of people.