Valerie is a 42-year-old, single, Reformed Christian lady who lives in Baltimore. She doesn't remember a time
before she knew and loved Jesus, but she does remember accepting John Calvin into her heart in March of 2000.
Valerie is a member of Christ Reformed Evangelical Church in Annapolis.
Though her career aspiration is to be a housewife, Valerie has not yet found anyone suitable who wishes to hire
her for employment in that field (or, more properly, anyone suitable has not found her), so in the meantime she
earns her daily bread working in communications -- editing, writing, print design and website management.
Philemon and Onesimus
St. Paul's letter to Philemon is one of the lectionary readings for this coming Sunday, so I read it this morning. The more often I read this brief epistle, the more vivid the story becomes to me. The tension is palpable. The strongest of emotions are depicted: fear and pride and love and courage. Paul's plea is a mixture of humble entreaty, confident expectation, authoritative urging, and the sort of powerful emotional manipulation that any Madison Avenue executive would envy (yet tempered by the sort of integrity that would be incomprehensible to many modern advertisers). How Philemon must have struggled with the temptation to bitterness and vengeance! How Onesimus must have struggled with the temptation to flee, or at least to make excuses! But they are called to exhibit the highest degree of love, to effect the most challenging of reconciliations. Most of this appears between the lines of the text, which, in the end, doesn't tell us the end. We're left to imagine their meeting -- the conversation, the body language, the facial expressions. It must have ended well. These verses are Holy Writ, which can't have been unfulfilled! But how did it go, exactly? How quickly did the tension leave their bodies to be replaced by tears of repentance, embraces of welcome, expressions of grace, gales of joyful laughter? What did they eat when they sat down for their first meal as brothers?
There is a conflict that is tearing my heart apart. I am not St. Paul. I cannot write pleading yet authoritative letters to bring about reconciliation. I can only wait and watch and hope and pray and love. I can demand the renouncement of only my own anger. But with God, all things are possible. He has perfect plans for this situation, plans to bless and not to curse, plans to work all things together for good for His called ones. He will, with inexorable gentleness, get His way. And I, with perfect peace, can cast my cares on Him and trust absolutely in His far greater care for me and for those I love.
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 9:05 AM
On September 6, 2007 10:10 PMAnonymouswrote... I read this to my husband and he said that it was "good". It made me cry. Prayer and faith are most defitnitely the best medicine I know. I love you. Keep praying. AR