WEEKLY REFLECTION | Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost, September 4, 2022

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Today’s reading from the Epistle to Philemon contains some unusual features. In the first few verses, Paul writes:

When I remember you in my prayers, I always thank my God because I hear 

of your love for all the saints and your faith toward the Lord Jesus. I pray that 

the sharing of your faith may become effective when you perceive all the good 

that we may do for Christ. I have indeed received much joy and encouragement

from your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through 

you, my brother. 

I found his words very touching. In a world that all too often doesn’t seem to be interested in anything except what benefits the self, Paul is praising Philemon for his love and concern for other people. As a matter of fact, he is saying that he also is receiving encouragement from seeing the example his friend is setting.  He is so touched that near the end of his letter we find these words: 

I, Paul, am writing this with my own hand.

Normally, being someone who is fond of fountain pens and inks, this would catch my eye, and I would smile as I imagine the great apostle with a stylus in his hand.  But that’s not what’s important here. Scripture scholars believe that he usually dictated his letters to a scribe. In this case, what he wanted to say was so important to him, that he chose to write it out himself, with his very own hand.

If you read the entire tiny letter—a mere 22 verses—you will see that Paul did have an additional agenda: he wanted Philemon to welcome back Onesimus, a Christian runaway slave, and to treat him as a brother.  But that doesn’t detract from the message that the love and kindness which we show to others, give strength and heart to people beyond merely the recipients. When I encounter people who go out of their way to care for abandoned animals or visit lonely people or feed the poor and hungry, it helps cut through some of the dreary darkness I see in the world. It shines a light on the undeniable fact that there IS good to be found in humankind. As Paul said, sharing our faith through these acts of selfless love, lets us see the good we can do for Christ.

Joy to you **all** as we **all** continue to worship and serve together!

Mo. Laura+

Upcoming Events

Sunday, September 18 – The Great Chili-Lovers’ Smack-down | Potluck Picnic following morning service at St. Margaret’s, Emmaus PA

Wednesday, October 20 – Sunday October 23 – Icon Worship at St. Margaret’s, Emmaus PA