Onesimus wept

Wondering Pilgrim

Church yesterday was an exercise in role-playing the 1st century church that met in the home of Philemon of Colossae. Creative imagination saw Philemon, his presumed wife Apphia and his presumed son and heir Archippus presiding over our regular congregation who had variously become the merchants, stewards and household slaves that met in Philemon’s atrium as a house-church.
The church meeting was in full swing when a messenger arrived bearing a letter from Philemon’s esteemed mentor, Paul. The porter was permitted to admit the messenger, who turned out to be Onesimus, a slave who had absconded Philemon’s household some time before.

Freeze-motion techniques enabled each group of participants to respond to what was about to unfold.

  • Philemon is suddenly confronted with a householder’s shame – a runaway slave.
  • Apphia presumably adhered to the strict Greco-Roman customs of managing the household. The absconding slave had disrupted the smooth manner…

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