by The Rev. Danae M. Ashley
Then Philip began to speak, and starting with this scripture, he proclaimed to him the good news about Jesus. As they were going along the road, they came to some water; and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water! What is to prevent me from being baptized?” He commanded the chariot to stop, and both of them, Philip and the eunuch, went down into the water, and Philip baptized him. When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away; the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing.
Some days, reading Scripture brings questions tumbling like the autumn leaves swirling outside my window:
Do angels speak to modern people like they did to Philip?
Did the Spirit speak inside Philip’s head or was it like someone sitting next to him?
Do we understand what we are reading even now, with guidance?
When was the last time you or someone you know told a person about Jesus and they wanted to be baptized as soon as water was available?
How has the Church been a support or stumbling block to hearing the Spirit?
When the “Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away,” did the eunuch see him disappear before his eyes or did he look away and when he looked back again, Philip was gone? How did that feel to Philip?
What was it like to encounter either of these two men rejoicing and telling the good news? When was the last time someone experienced you or someone you know doing the same?
Could we write our own book of Acts about the marvelous works of God we have seen in our time? What would you put it in?
So many questions and no quick answers. This is one of the many aspects that makes our faith journey lifelong. This, and following Jesus. Following Jesus shapes us into our best selves, people who would run to a chariot if asked and baptize someone in a puddle if that’s what it took, not caring who was watching or what they thought. Are you there yet? I am still working it out. So many questions.
|Image: Boeckl, Herbert, 1894-1966. Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. https://diglib.library.vanderbilt.edu/act-imagelink.pl?RC=58594[retrieved October 9, 2021]. Original source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Abtei_Seckau_Engelskapelle_Bekehrung_des_%C3%84thiopiers.jpg.|
The Rev. Danae M. Ashley, MDiv, MA, LMFT is an Episcopal priest and marriage and family therapist who has ministered with parishes in North Carolina, New York, Minnesota, and is serving part-time as the Associate Rector at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Seattle and a therapist at Soul Spa Seattle, LLC. She has written for a number of publications, produced a play, and has been featured on several podcasts regarding fertility struggle and faith. Danae’s favorite past times include reading, traveling with her husband, dancing with wild abandon to Celtic music, and serious karaoke.