Daily Office Readings for Thursday of Proper 15: Year 2
“Then the Spirit said to Philip, ‘Go over to this chariot and join it.” (Acts 8:29)
There are three characters in the reading; there is Philip, the treasurer of Candice who happens to be a eunuch, and of course the angel or Spirit of God. The eunuch is returning from the Temple in Jerusalem where he was probably not welcomed due to his bodily defilement. But he is a faithful student of scripture and studies.
I wish we had the name of Candice’s treasurer; I don’t like referring to him as the eunuch. We learn that, like most of us, he needs assistance in understanding what the scripture is really saying. I like the way Philip obeys the Spirit and also how he assists this treasurer. He doesn’t go back to Adam and Eve, or Abraham or even Moses. No, he starts with Isaiah, he starts from where the person is in his reading. Sometimes we try to give a person too much information. The Spirit did not say go over to the chariot and rule it. The Spirit said, “Go over to this chariot and join it.”
Another part of our story that I really like is that after the explanation of the scriptures, which must have also talked about our Lord Jesus and the importance of Baptism, they come upon some water. Then “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.” (Acts 8: 36 and 38) As a priest I have used this model by Philip to baptize people who ask for it as soon as possible, normally at a Sunday worship service.
Beyond the lesson about how to coach or teach and of baptism, there is the listening to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. We today should not think that the Holy Spirit of God does not speak to us today, it still happens. At the end of this session both men go their separate ways: the eunuch, back to Ethiopia rejoicing; and Philip, again following the Spirit and proclaiming the Good News!
Let us hear what the Spirit is saying to and through the saints of God and then ponder anew what the Almighty can do. John