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011. Paul Urges Philemon to Free his Slave Onesimus

ZwPI8cfkPaul Urges Philemon to Free his Slave Onesimus
About 5 minutes, from Paul’s brief letter to Philemon

Participants (No need to memorize lines; the aim is to relive sacred events, not to perform)
   Onesimus
   Philemon
   Paul
   Prompter          Shout a brief line and Echoes repeat it.
   Echoes             Children and all adults who want to take part. Echoes need no script.

Onesimus

Let go of me, Philemon! Let go!

Prompter & Echoes

Let me go!

Philemon

You stole from me, Onesimus, and disobeyed.
Have you forgotten that you are my slave?
I own you! I’m going to lash you!

Onesimus

I will never work for you again, you dirty pig!
I will die first!

Philemon

You will not get far, Onesimus!
I’ll make you pay, you lazy thief!

Prompter & Echoes

You’ll be sorry!

Onesimus

I break loose and run far away. (Go a distance from Philemon.)

Prompter & Echoes

Years pass.

Onesimus

I am now in Rome where I meet the Apostle Paul in prison.
This changes everything for me.
Paul tells me about Jesus, and I repent.

Paul

Onesimus, I appreciate your visits; you are a great help to me.

Onesimus

And God used you, Paul, to give me a wonderfully new life.
Everything is different now, not like when I was Philemon’s slave.
I swear I will never go back to that life. Never!

Prompter & Echoes

He would die first!

Paul

Onesimus, you are my son in the faith, and are living obediently;
I advise you to return to your former owner, Philemon.

Onesimus

What? Go back to Philemon!
Never! How can I return to slavery?

Paul

Philemon is a believer now.
I will write him a letter for you to take to him.
Things will be different.

Onesimus

Well, I trust you, Paul, and I trust God, so I will do as you say.
(Walk to Philemon.)

Prompter & Echoes

He trusts Paul’s advice.

Philemon

Onesimus! I don’t believe it!
I never wanted to see you again!

Onesimus

And I never wanted to see you again, Philemon,
but something happened to change all that.
The apostle Paul sent this letter to you!
(Pretend to hand a letter to Philemon).

Philemon

I read the letter twice, and weep.
I will read portions of it to you.

 

“Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, to Philemon our beloved brother,
and to the church in your house: grace to you and peace
from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
I appeal to you for my spiritual child Onesimus,
whom I have begotten in my imprisonment.”

Prompter & Echoes

Paul’s spiritual child!

Philemon

I keep reading.

 

“Onesimus formerly was useless to you,
but now is useful both to you and to me.
I have sent him, who is my very heart, back to you.”

Prompter & Echoes

What a surprising letter!

Philemon

Oh! I don’t know what to think!

Onesimus

Keep reading, Philemon, please.

Philemon

“Onesimus was separated from you for a time,
so that you could receive him back forever,
no longer as a slave, but as a beloved brother in the Lord.
If you regard me a partner, accept him as you would me.”

Prompter & Echoes

Amazing!

Philemon

“If Onesimus owes you anything, I will repay it.
Having confidence that you will comply,
I write knowing that you will do even more than what I say.”

Prompter & Echoes

Confidence in God’s grace!

Philemon

Onesimus! (Embrace Onesimus.) Welcome back!
You are no longer my slave; you are my brother!

Prompter & Echoes

Freedom in Christ!