I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deacon of the church at Cenchreae, so that you may welcome her in the Lord as is fitting for the saints, and help her in whatever she may require from you, for she has been a benefactor of many and of myself as well.
Greet Prisca and Aquila, who work with me in Christ Jesus, and who risked their necks for my life, to whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles. Greet also the church in their house. Greet my beloved Epaenetus, who was the first convert in Asia for Christ. Greet Mary, who has worked very hard among you. Greet Andronicus and Junia, my relatives who were in prison with me; they are prominent among the apostles, and they were in Christ before I was. Greet Ampliatus, my beloved in the Lord. Greet Urbanus, our co-worker in Christ, and my beloved Stachys. Greet Apelles, who is approved in Christ. Greet those who belong to the family of Aristobulus. Greet my relative Herodion. Greet those in the Lord who belong to the family of Narcissus. Greet those workers in the Lord, Tryphaena and Tryphosa. Greet the beloved Persis, who has worked hard in the Lord. Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord; and greet his mother—a mother to me also. Greet Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas, and the brothers and sisters who are with them. Greet Philologus, Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints who are with them. Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ greet you.
This passage feels like Paul’s first century Friends list on Facebook, his lists on Twitter, his networks on Linkedin, his contact list in Gmail, etc. You get the idea. I love this list – I don’t know a whole lot about the people in the list, but there is deep connection and relationship that Paul shares. I love the little statements he makes about many of them – Epaenetus – the first convert in Asia for Christ (wow!), Mary – a hard worker among the church, those who were in prison with Paul – Andronicus and Junia, a beloved in the Lord in Apliatus, coworkers in Christ and so forth. I love all of this. I currently have 457 “friends” on Facebook – I wonder what it would look like if I went through all 457 and wrote about who they are any why I consider them friends on facebook. Those of us who are social media users each have these lists – are they more than just names on a screen?