Bishop Election Devotional for May 15, 2019
So Philip ran up to it [the chariot] and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah. He asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” He replied, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” – Acts 8:30-31
By Sawyer Vanden Heuvel (synod staff)
You may be wondering how this story of a disciple and his encounter with a eunuch relates to our synod electing a new bishop. I’ve also been wondering this very same thing as I have been thinking about this text.
Here’s how the story goes. Philip, a disciple of Jesus, is told by the angel of the Lord to get up and go towards the road from Jerusalem to Gaza. “So he got up and went.” Along the way, he meets an Ethiopian Eunuch. Now, eunuchs, as you may know, were men who had been physically altered and used as court officials or guards of women’s living quarters. The eunuch was on his way back from attending worship in Jerusalem. The Spirit then guides Philip to meet the eunuch and he follows. Once he got up to the eunuch’s chariot, he hears him reading from the prophet Isaiah. Philip asks him if he understands what he is reading and the eunuch replies, “How can I, unless someone guides me?”
In the church we need leaders who guide and direct. This is why we elect bishops. Someone who is not only called to proclaim the Gospel, but to also use the Gospel to guide us as a church. Guide congregations in times of transition, candidates for public ministry, deacons and pastors serving in the church and finally, us as the collective body of Christ. To be an example of Christ so we may act freely to live and serve out our baptismal calling.
After hearing Philip proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ, the eunuch asks Philip to baptize him. “What is to prevent me from being baptized?” Philip, who lives out Jesus’ command to baptize all, gets out of the chariot and baptizes the eunuch. The eunuch is transformed by the good news of Christ and goes on his way rejoicing. All because someone was there to guide him in the promise that God has for us.
LET US PRAY
Good and Gracious God,
Thank you for sending leaders to guide us. Send your Holy Spirit to guide us in this upcoming bishop election as we pray, discern, and vote for our next guide in the synod. Open our ears to your word and may we listen to your calling. We ask this in Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.
ELW 575 In Christ Called to Baptize
ELW 581 You Are Mine
What is preventing you from doing something today?
Who has been a guide in your life?
Have you been a guide to someone else?
Sign-up to receive future Bishop Election Devotions in your inbox.