The letter of Philemon is a simple letter In the letter of Philemon we see the revolutionary power of friendship in Christ.
Firstly, Christ reconfigures all relationships so everyone is a family. As in a family, it is not a functional or conditional role. You don’t earn your stay. You are a family forever. It is grace.
Secondly, Christ makes everyone equal as everyone is a servant of God. There is no hierarchy of value in Christ. Even Paul does not elevate himself as he calls everyone his co-worker.
Thirdly, friendship goes deeper than social justice. For social justice is about everyone being treated fairly. In Christian friendship, it is not about fairness. It is about love and forgiveness by the power of Christ’s love, which is the only power than can bring real reconciliation.
With this letter, although Paul does not abolish the slavery of the Roman Empire, he completely demolishes all ideology of slavery of all time. And he does it through a personal letter for a friend. Paul calls Philemon to live up to the truth that in Christ, we are all forgiven sinners, co-workers for the Kingdom, and brothers as children of the Father.
Today is also Trinity Sunday which celebrates the truth that the essence of God is love, the three-personed God in relation to one another.
God has called New Life to build God’s Kingdom through such ideology shattering friendship.
1-What is the most unexpected friendship in your life?
2-What are some of the difficulties and joys of friendship in a diverse community?