Mission in the Going 

On Sunday we read the story of the Apostle Philip and the man from Ethiopia. This story is important for us to hear, especially when we have completed ‘bricks and mortar” projects. When God is at work, bricks and mortar are only a small part of the process.

A commentator on Acts points to the greater story in all our “stories:”

The Holy Spirit remains the super-human reality of God. As such he binds together the history of Israel, Jesus, and the church. In Israel, the spirit was imparted to individuals. But now, as the creative intervention of God, the Spirit is the agent of Jesus’ conception and is poured out upon the whole apostolic community.

The Spirit sends Philip, not to a particular PLACE—but in a particular direction. It is like a college friend who flew missions for the Air Force in Viet Nam. Often he would receive orders to go to his plane and take off, headed in a particular direction. Once airborne, he would receive further instructions as to both his destination and his mission. He WENT first—and discovered his mission in the going!

Philip went until he saw—and heard a man reading from Isaiah. By the looks of the chariot and the man’s general appearance, this man was SOMEONE. As it turns out it was the secretary of the Treasury to the Queen of Ethiopia. This man was not a Jew, but he had a copy of Isaiah. It was clearly a moment beyond Philip’s experience, but God had SENT him and he could do nothing but try to learn the next steps in his mission.