We’re wrestling with the unsettling truth that proximity to God is both holy and uncomfortable. Our scripture lesson is one of many perfect examples—the story of the apostle Philip’s encounter with an Ethiopian eunuch. Fair warning: this means we are going to have to have our own uncomfortable conversation about the e-word—that once wide-spread practice that most of us now find embarrassing and borderline barbaric.
I’m talking, of course, about evangelism.
Because, this is a story about a time God called a believer to leave the safety and familiarity of his faith community and embark upon an encounter with a stranger considered foreign, inferior, and ritually unclean. What began with an open-ended prompt by the Holy Spirit ended with an unsanctioned baptism and a clear demonstration of God’s radical desire to reconcile A-L-L people through the salvation of Jesus Christ. That’s a message the church has been burying and domesticating ever since.