A Eunuch meets St. Philip

Icon of St. Philip

Today’s readings find us out on the road with St. Philip where, filled with the Holy Spirit he is instructing the Eunuch in his chariot and then Baptising him.

Gone are the days where the disciples are blundering about, three stooges-like in their encounters with Jesus, gone are the days of cowering in fear after his Ascension. Filled with the Holy Spirit, the Apostles are on the go! Here the Word is spreading to Ethiopia, then Philip travels over to the Mediterranean coast, and up past the Sea of Gallilee into Ceaserea Philippi to continue the work of salvation history there. They are all over the place!

Divinely fitting too, the words we read in today’s Gospel, “They shall all be taught by God.”

The Apostles are taught by Jesus Christ, who is God; the Eunuch is taught by the Holy SPirit, who is God; Philip is filled with the Holy Spirit and following the promptings of spirit when he is led to the Eunuch’s carriage, engages him while the Scripture from Isaiah is being read, and then gets in an instructs him, and opens the Eunuch’s mind to the Truths of Scripture.

Interesting to note that all Philip really does, we read is ‘opened his mouth.’ We’re directly called back to many of the prophets, who wanted not to speak, yet God said he would ‘put the words on [their] lips’, in their mouths.

Sr. Philip baptizes the Eunuch

The Holy Spirit spoke through the prophets; and in Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist we are further strengthened through grace to be open to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. We’re all prophets now.

So a thought for the day; before you open your mouth today, pray for an outpouring of the Hoy Spirit. You may not end up baptizing a eunuch, but you just may offer a prophetic word, a healing voice, or be an instrument of God’s love to someone.

Amen!

St. Philip and the Eunuch

Lightoller and God

As we all know it’s been 100 years this weekend that the Titanic sank like tons of iron to the floor of the Atlantic Ocean.

Charles Lightoller was second in command on board the ship, and was one of the few surviving crew. His testimony has been crucial throughout the years in all of the hearings and subsequent recreations. What’s often gone unsaid is that Lightoller was a devout Christian, and ascribed his survival to his faith in Jesus Christ and a Biblical spirituality. Here is his testimony to the Christian Science Monitor:

While the Titanic was sinking, and during the whole time I was working at the boats, I held to the truth, thereby eliminating all fear.

I was on the port side where all boats were got away without a hitch, the last one, a flat-bottomed collapsible, floating off the deck. I called on men to follow me up on top of the officers’ quarters to cut adrift the last boat. We had no time to open it up, so just hove her down to the deck.

I ran across the deck and could see that all material work was finished, so from where I was above the bridge, I walked into the water.

The sudden immersion in this penetratingly cold water for a few seconds overcame all thought, and I struck out blindly for the crow’s-nest which is on the foremast and then just above the water. I found myself drawn with great force against the grating covering the mouth of the huge forward blower. In this position I went below the surface with the ship.

A doubt never entered my mind as to the ability of divine power to save me. These words from the 91st Psalm came to me so distinctly: “”He shall give His angels charge over thee.”

Immediately, I think, I was thrown away from the blower and came up to find a piece of wood in my hand which seemed to be attached to the top of the funnel by a wire. A second time I went down and again came to the surface.

My piece of wood was gone, but alongside me was the flat-bottomed collapsible boat which I had thrown down on the other side of the ship. This I laid hold of, but made no attempt to board it.

It was clear to me there was a divine power and it seemed perfectly natural to rely on it with the spiritual understanding spoken of in the Bible. With the sinking of a great ship like the Titanic, there was also the fear of suction to overcome, and at this time the forward funnel fell, throwing the boat, me, and other survivors about twenty feet clear of the ship, so that of suction we felt nothing.

About thirty of us floated the remainder of the night on the upturned boat. At daybreak we found two life-boats floating nearby, into which we were taken. Reaction or effects from the immersion were none; and though surprise has been expressed by very many, it only goes to prove that “with God all things are possible”.

Mary Magdalen

Statue of Mary Magdalen

This is our statue of St. Mary Magdalen, from this Palm Sunday.

It’s a beautiful statue, but the backdrop could use some work, because the cafeteria doesn’t really make for a very scenic panorama in the background here.

So, we’re working on that.

We considered bulldozing the cafeteria and installing a hardwood forest and a pond, but… you know how it is, change can be so difficult, and that’s a pretty big change. So we switched to plan B, which is maybe a nice cloth backdrop for Easter.

We’ll see what comes of this!

Splash, out.