Daily D – Philemon 15-16
Philemon 15, 16 ”It seems you lost Onesimus for a little while so that you could have him back forever. He is no longer like a slave to you. He is more than a slave, for he is a beloved brother, especially to me. Now he will mean much more to you, both as a man and as a brother in the Lord.“ (NLT)
Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is love and His Gospel is Peace
Chains shall He break, for the slave is our brother
And in His name, all oppression shall cease
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we
Let all within us Praise His Holy name
Christ is the Lord; O praise His name forever!
His power and glory evermore proclaim
His power and glory evermore proclaim
I asked our twenty-something administrative assistant, worship leader, and seminary student what her favorite Christmas carol is. She quickly responded with O Holy Night. We are in full agreement.
I remember singing this song one day years ago and coming to the verse above. I was older than I should have been when I realized what it says and what it means. Likewise, I was older than I should have been when I discovered where its message originated.
Born nearly one hundred years after the conclusion of the American Civil War, its shadows still shaped how we sang and preached the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ.
There is no caste system with God. Those called slaves and those called masters both stand in need of his grace and mercy. Slaves and masters are called brothers and sisters in God’s family. The ground is truly level at the foot of the cross and on the streets of gold.
Slavery and prejudice are evidence of the fall. Unity among all people groups in Christ is evidence of God’s saving, keeping, shaping grace. Our God does not favor one people group over another. He loves everyone, and so should we.
When we sing this verse, we sing truth. Let us together sing “Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus.” The Gospel is truly good news for those long abused, for those who long abused them, and for those who have been reconciled with God and with one another.
“Let all within us praise His Holy name.”
I will praise God for loving everyone, even me, and for making it possible for those from all people groups to come to unity by his grace, mercy, and perfect love.
Our Father, thank you for tearing down our barriers. Thank you for breaking our bonds. Thank you for bringing us together in one family by your grace, in your mercy. Thank you for level ground at the cross. Amen.
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Deuteronomy 6:4-9 “Listen, Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them be a symbol on your forehead. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your city gates.“
Deuteronomy 1:2, 3 It is an eleven-day journey from Horeb to Kadesh-barnea by way of Mount Seir. In the fortieth year, in the eleventh month, on the first of the month, Moses told the Israelites everything the Lord had commanded him to say to them.
Psalm 52:8, 9 ”But I am like a flourishing olive tree in the house of God; I trust in God’s faithful love forever and ever. I will praise you forever for what you have done. In the presence of your faithful people, I will put my hope in your name, for it is good.“