Last Sunday Paul’s letter to Philemon was the Epistle lesson and there is a great deal to learn about reconciliation from this little letter about a runaway slave. Reconciliation is more than the wish that we can all “just get along”, it is the active engagement meant to make it happen and it is based, for Christians on Christ’s reconciliation of the world to God.
Luther had a great take –
“What Christ has done for us with God the Father, that St. Paul does also for Onesimus with Philemon. For Christ emptied himself of his rights [Phil. 2:7] and overcame the Father with love and humility, so that the Father had to put away his wrath and rights, and receive us into favor for the sake of Christ, who so earnestly advocates our cause and so heartily takes our part. For we are all his Onesimus[es] if we believe.”
Martin Luther Preface to Philemon