Acts 8:26-40 (NRSV)
Verse 26Then an angel of the Lord said to Philip, "Get up and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza." (This is a wilderness road.) Verse 27So he got up and went. Now there was an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official of the Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, in charge of her entire treasury. He had come to Jerusalem to worship Verse 28and was returning home; seated in his chariot, he was reading the prophet Isaiah. Verse 29Then the Spirit said to Philip, "Go over to this chariot and join it." Verse 30So Philip ran up to it and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah. He asked, "Do you understand what you are reading?" Verse 31He replied, "How can I, unless someone guides me?" And he invited Philip to get in and sit beside him. Verse 32Now the passage of the scripture that he was reading was this: "Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter, and like a lamb silent before its shearer, so he does not open his mouth. Verse 33In his humiliation justice was denied him. Who can describe his generation? For his life is taken away from the earth." Verse 34The eunuch asked Philip, "About whom, may I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?" Verse 35Then Philip began to speak, and starting with this scripture, he proclaimed to him the good news about Jesus. Verse 36As 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?" Verse 38He commanded the chariot to stop, and both of them, Philip and the eunuch, went down into the water, and Philip baptized him. Verse 39When 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. Verse 40But Philip found himself at Azotus, and as he was passing through the region, he proclaimed the good news to all the towns until he came to Caesarea.
My encounter on an airplane was nothing like Phillip’s life-changing visit with the Ethiopian. I mentioned to the gentleman next to me that I was flying to El Salvador. He asked, with a tinge of sarcasm, “So are you going to build latrines?” I replied, “No, I’m visiting a sister congregation and the students we sponsor, meeting with the leaders of the Lutheran Church, and teaching first aid for Global Health Ministries.” He was surprised. “I’ve only heard of people going to those countries to build latrines or roof a school!”
I knew nothing about my fellow traveler’s faith journey nor what thoughts about my trip entered his mind. I like to think he changed his view of how Christians relate to those who often are seen as outsiders. Will you or I be called this week to climb into someone’s chariot or wade into the water with them?
Lord, when I need to wade into the deep waters of life, buoy me up so I may proclaim the good news about Jesus. Amen.