Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, March 12, 2018
New Message of Freedom
The concept of freedom was repeated over and over in this past week’s readings from Paul’s letters. Starting with the letter to Philemon, then 1 Corinthians and Galatians, these portions of the letters had various things to say about freedom.
I know that slavery was an unfortunate and hurtful reality in Paul’s time. Paul wrote about slavery as a fact. (Which it was.) He also wrote about sin, missing the mark, and turning away from God—repeatedly. He wrote about those things as facts, too. Yet, he wove these hurtful facts into the tapestry of his various letters and messages to the fellow believers.
Professor Williams wrote that Paul “may not have expressed opposition to slavery in the way we might want him to, but his message of a new people, formed by the gospel, challenged the social systems of slavery at their core.”  Paul even transcended these hurtful, difficult truths with the life-giving, transforming truths of the Good News. Praise God!
Both in Paul’s day, and ever since the first century, Paul’s message of freedom from sin and freedom from being chained to various idols must have seemed miraculous. Heaven-sent, indeed. This life-giving Good News was, in fact, from heaven.
Even still, in many parts of the world today, slavery still holds many people in chains. This Good News brings life and hope to many people who had (or still have) little or no hope. Praise God that people are continually trying to stop the slavery and trafficking of individuals. Please pray with me—and with Prof. Williams—to “forgive us when we have allowed others to be treated with less than the dignity for which [God] created them. Help us to see all people as [God’s] treasured possessions, and to work for an end to slavery and human trafficking in whatever form it may take. Amen.” 
Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.
 Meeting God in Paul: Reflections for the Season of Lent, Rowan Williams (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2015), 89.
 Ibid, 90.