Time: Onis’ 10th day at H.Q.
Setting: Paul’s room for prayer and study.
Participants: Onis and Paul
P: It is so good to have time to talk with you. You look like you are doing well.
O: Sorry Sir, I am not well. My sore is better and I am almost healed, but I am in a big mess on the inside.
P: (Patient silence)
O: I have heard and seen so much these past 10 days. I think I understand about Jesus dying and I know he is alive and real because I see it in how all of you live and love and pray and give.
P: Yes . . .
O: But I am not like all of you. I am a criminal and a runaway slave. I don’t deserve your kindness and I don’t belong in your group. I think I will need to leave.
P: Settle down, my son. You know, there is no one who ever entered the door of this house that is a worse sinner than me.
P: I was a pious, self-righteous Pharisee and I proudly hunted down the first Christians and had them killed.
P: I bear this grief and regret every day. But the number and severity of our sins is nothing compared to the infinite grace of God and the cleansing power of the blood of Jesus. You see, he chose to accept a most horrible, murderous death – crucifixion – so that we could be made clean. You only need to repent before him and all your sins will be forgiven.
Then the apostle and prodigal knelt together and prayed an earnest prayer.
Angels in heaven shouted and danced. Gospel H.Q. in Rome was lit up with Joy. Demas, Mark, Dr. Luke, Aristarchus, Epaphras . . . hug and call him “brother,” Paul hugs and calls him “son”.
In the days that follow, the members of Gospel H.Q. learn about Onis’ past. He informs them that his real name is Onesimus. He apologizes for leading them on, you see, his name means “useful” but in no way did he consider himself worthy of such a name. But everyone envelopes him with love and acceptance and he experiences peace and belonging like never before.