SEQUENCE Philip, an apostle, follows the Spirit to approach a politically powerful Ethiopian eunuch (which could easily mean the man was not only black but gay).
Philip hears the eunuch reading Esaias [Isaiah] and invites the eunuch to hear the Christian interpretation, bears testimony that Jesus is the one Esaias described.
The eunuch invites Philip to travel with him. Philip gets into the eunuch’s chariot.
Both feel communion with the Spirit, find unity. The eunuch understands that baptism is the mode for making this feeling official. He wants to join the body of Christ.
KEY QUESTIONS 36 . . . the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?
37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
38 And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.
As they come out of the water, Philip is teleported. The eunuch goes on his way rejoicing.
THE WAY OF GRACE Brothers in Christ. Each sharing their gifts. Each moving from grace to grace.
Missing are the baptismal interview questions asking the eunuch to disavow cohabitation, renounce his upbringing. Missing is “I’m sorry, but I need clearance from Peter, James, and John.” Missing is Philip’s rehearsal of dogma that the eunuch may not have chosen his orientation but, by heckalmighty, he better not act on it.
WHAT HINDERS ME? Perhaps it’s simply that I won’t travel with someone else. I am alternately the apostle and the eunuch. The Spirit urges to approach an unlikely fellow sojourner. Do I let prejudice hold me back? BOTH the eunuch and Philip had to be willing to overcome prejudice.
CONCLUSIONS The shared journey in this scriptural account didn’t diminish or invalidate either man. They celebrated what they found in common. Then each went his way greater.
The body of Christ has need of every member (even the frightened bureaucrat who insulates him or herself in policy). Okay. I’ve journeyed with that person awhile, a long while. Sometimes I AM that person. I’ve celebrated what we share. I’ve experienced grace.
MY PRAYER Holy Spirit, send me farther down this road or beam me onto the next!