Summary: The story of Philip’s encounter with an unnamed court official, an Ethiopian Eunuch, raises numerous questions about ancient culture, Greco-Roman attitudes toward people from far away, sex and gender, and the differences in people’s social locations. It’s important that preachers and other interpreters tend to those questions, so they can both appreciate and be critical of the ways in which the book of Acts imagines the consequences that the good news has for all people. This story and the ambiguity surrounding the characterization of the court official can serve as a reminder of the ways that Christian communities struggle to identify and include people who are strangers or “outsiders.” It’s notable to remember, then, that at the close of the story the Ethiopian is not merely a convert, he is also a theologian who demonstrates his understanding that the good news is for him, as he is.
I wrote this biblical commentary for those preparing to preach or teach on the passage. Read the commentary at Working Preagcher.
At the threshold…
Summary: Questions about the past have a way of propelling me forward. At least that’s what I experienced once on a visit to Caesarea Maritima as I stared toward the sun sinking down toward the vast Mediterranean Sea. Knowing how we got somewhere is one thing; where we will go next is not so different a question. The vocations we chase after never end; nor do our attempts to make sense of them and their effects on our lives. I think this is one way that faith works and continues to disrupt and comfort our lives, by giving us the nudge to keep journeying and to keep our sights set on a future that exists–out there, yet to be discovered.
I wrote this meditative article for the publication Thin Places, which offers resources for spiritual growth and is published by Westminster Presbyterian Church of Minneapolis. The article appears in the June/July/August 2021 issue (Issue Number 107). Read the full article at Thin Places.
Bible commentary: general audience
apostle paul book of acts Caesarea Maritima contemplation future meditation mediterranean sea memory vocation