The Hope of Liberation
Philem. 22 One thing more—prepare a guest room for me, for I am hoping through your prayers to be restored to you.
Paul is writing this letter in prison and is hoping that he will be set free. With faith that he will be freed, he asks that a guest room be prepared for him at the home of Philemon. There are two important aspects of this request and they include prayer, and action. The hope of liberation is not just on Paul’s part, but it is also something into which he asks the family of faith to participate. They, too, are to pray and in faith, prepare a guest room for Paul.
This hope of liberation is not only for Paul, but also for Onesimus. More than likely Paul is hoping to come to Colosse and personally see how the reception has been for Onesimus. It is through prayer and hospitality that God is able to bring about freedom for both a prisoner and a slave.
We are all prisoners of some sort in our lives. Maybe we have become prisoners of our fears, missed opportunities, broken relationships or physical ailments. Both Paul and Onesimus were prisoners of their circumstances and yet there was the hope of liberation. For Onesimus it was to return home and become loved and accepted as a member of the family of God. For Paul it was to be set free from the chains which he experienced in prison. For them, and for us, there is a pathway for liberation found in prayer, hospitality and participation in Christ’s activity in the world.
As followers of Jesus Christ we are called to action. That action includes prayer, but also participation in Jesus' mission in the world. Often that means we must be engaged in hospitality. Welcoming the stranger, or the one who wronged us, or even a friend, is a way to reflect the love found in God. The community of loving holy fellowship found in the Trinity is the same hospitality we are to reveal to the world around us.
It is in active engagement that we can be set free from our own imprisonment. It starts with prayer, leads us to a deeper relationship with Christ, and ends in loving others. In this way we live into the hope of liberation.
Lord, thank you for the hope of freedom found in and through you. Amen.