Despite his being a religious outcast, the Ethiopian eunuch pursues God through the Scripture. After being marginalized and denied entrance to worship in the Jerusalem temple, he travels down the wilderness road reading Isaiah’s words aloud. Despite those who tell him “no,” this man seeks to know God.
This is the situation God calls Philip to enter. And in this particular instance God will surprise them both. In this moment, in the middle of nowhere, Philip becomes God’s representative for a member of Candace’s royal court who is asking for spiritual help. Philip’s religious beliefs inform him that the Ethiopian eunuch is not a person who belongs to God. Yet God’s Spirit tells him to join this man in his earnest pursuit of God. Philip obeys, helping this man understand what he is reading and bearing witness to God’s love.
God is full of surprises. Just when I think I have my faith figured out, God surprises me and invites me to consider a new way of understanding. Both characters in the story are surprised to learn that God’s love is more expansive than they can comprehend. God’s love is big enough to include them both. God’s love is large enough to include all of us. The surprising truth of God revealed on the chariot that day—and revealed to all of us through this story—is that God’s love invites and includes more people than we recognize. God loves all of creation.
When is the last time you were surprised by God? How did you feel, what did you notice, and how did this change you? How do we learn to welcome and receive God’s surprises in our lives?
God, thank you for continuing to surprise me. May I not grow stagnant in my faith. Help me listen to your guidance. Surprise me with your love and grace, even today. Amen.