Friday, May 4, 2012

On the Wilderness Road

Our texts for this Fifth Sunday in Easter are Acts 8:26-40, 1 John 4:7-12, and John 15:1-8, which can be read here

I hate that we are only getting snippets of the many amazing stories from the books of Acts this year; it seems like our journey through Acts in the 7 weeks of Eastertide is always too quick and this account of the earliest Christians seeking to live out Christ's ways deserves more of our time (never fear...I am already plotting a longer Acts series for next year, and we'll do some Acts overview in Bible Study tomorrow).  Yet, if we only get a few Acts passages, I am so glad this story about Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch is one of them--because it offers us more things to consider than we possibly can in the 20 minutes or so we'll have together with this tale on Sunday.

So, in advance of Sunday, to get your mind working around this text, here are some things from the text to think about over the next couple of days, if you dare:

Notice the verbs in this story (you know how I love grammar).  What things is Philip commanded to do by the Angel of the Lord?  How do these calls to action speak with you, especially when you think about your own call to bear witness?

Notice that the verbal exchange recorded between Philip and the Ethiopian takes place entirely in the form of questions.  Crazy, huh?  What questions or responses do the four questions that shape this encounter raise in you:
  1. Do you understand what you are reading? 
  2. How can I [understand], unless someone guides me? 
  3. About whom, may I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else? 
  4. What is to prevent me from being baptized? 
Questions get me consider this:  as you think about your relationship with Christ or your understanding of him, what are the questions that burn within you?  And when you think about being a witness and talking with someone about things of faith, which questions might you most fear being asked?  Why?

Food for thought as we continue our journey of thinking about what it means to be witnesses, and as we prepare to sit with Philip and the Ethiopian in the chariot on the wilderness road on Sunday.

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