The story of Philip and the Ethiopian is an important story of evangelism. Philip, as the story goes, was sent by the Lord to a road where an Ethiopian was traveling. The Ethiopian was reading Isaiah and needed help him to understand what it meant. Philip did that and it led to the Ethiopian’s conversion to following Christ.
There is so much we can take from this passage today. What is important for us is that in Philip we remember that the church is sent out into the world to help all people understand God’s truth and love. It is not something we can do from the sidelines, but it is an active engagement of the world to help all people hear God’s heart for them.
It is a work that is especially important today. We live in a time in which knowledge of who God is and discipleship of the Lord is at an all-time low. This is especially so in the United States, which is the world’s third largest mission field.
This doesn’t mean that people are not spiritual or have no concept of faith. Quite the opposite. We live in a time in which people are deeply spiritual, but do not connect their spirituality with the God of true hope, love, justice, and peace.
So, what do we do? Like Philip, we must go to the people and share the truth of who God is and what it means to love the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. We must be willing be led by the Holy Spirit and and share our stories through the use of our words, actions, and deeds.
Acts is a book of mission and, today, we are reminded that the church must see itself as a mission, especially for the neighborhoods immediately around our churches. We are called to enter into relationships, share our stories, and help people to understand the greatest truth and that is that God loves us unconditionally.
In our specific neighborhood in Latonia, I can only begin to wonder about how many people need the church to be like Philip and be willing to meet them where they are and share their stories. What would it look like if we did this? Indeed, who do we, as a church, need to go to so they will know God’s love for them?