Then an angel of the Lord said to Philip, ‘Get up and go towards the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.’ (This is a wilderness road.) So he got up and went.
Now there was an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official of the Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, in charge of her entire treasury. He had come to Jerusalem to worship and was returning home; seated in his chariot, he was
reading the prophet, Isaiah. Then the Spirit said to Philip, ‘Go over to this
chariot and join it.’
 So Philip ran up to it 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?’ And he invited Philip to get in and sit beside him. Now the passage of the scripture that he was reading was this:

 Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter,   and like a lamb silent before its shearer,     so he does not open his mouth.In his humiliation justice was denied him.   Who can describe his generation?     For his life is taken away from the earth.

The eunuch asked Philip, ‘About whom, may I ask you, does
the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?’ Then Philip began to speak, and starting with this scripture, he proclaimed to him the good news about Jesus. As they were going along the road, they came to some water; and the eunuch said, ‘Look, here is water! What is to prevent me from being baptized?’ He commanded the chariot to stop, and both of them, Philip and the eunuch, went down into the water, and Philip baptized him. When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away; the eunuch saw him no more and went on his way rejoicing. But Philip found himself at Azotus, and as he was passing through the region, he proclaimed the good news to all the towns until he came to Caesarea.
Acts 8:26-40
“What is to prevent me from being baptized?” asked the eunuch after he had heard the good news.
This was probably not the way Philip envisioned his day would go when the Holy Spirit sent him down a road he expected to go nowhere.  But an openness to the Spirit and a “why not?” spirit of adventure led to the beginnings of the fulfillment of Jesus’ promise that the Gospel would be spread to the “ends of the earth”.  In those days, many considered
Ethiopia the ends of the earth.
What is to prevent us? 

Three years ago our synod asked “What is to prevent us from setting a
goal of raising $250,000 to end Malaria?  We didn’t know where that road would take us any more than Philip knew what was waiting for him on the wilderness road to Gaza.  And years later we have raised more than
This Sunday is World Malaria Day.  The ELCA Malaria Campaign has raised so much money that the Holy Spirit is now sending us into our Companion Synod Namibia to begin a Malaria program there.  What is to prevent us from achieving the same success there that we have in other countries?
 We’ve just come out of Lent and Holy Week and perhaps Malaria Day was not on your radar and you haven’t thought about it.  What is to prevent you from thinking about it now?  What is to prevent you from
downloading a few resources, and giving people a chance to be even more
generous so that we can save more children’s lives, this time in Namibia?
What is to prevent us? The men at Nazareth Lutheran in Cedar Falls were looking for a building project.  “What is to prevent us from making much-needed repairs and renovations for housing at Wartburg Seminary?”  They asked.  What is to prevent us from getting together work parties to help with that project.
What is to prevent us?
We only need 35 more Portico members to take their Health Assessment for
our synod and congregations to save a total of $33,000.  What is preventing you from going straight from reading this blog to taking your assessment?
Go on. Take the Health Assessment.  Save yourself, your congregation and yourself some money


By Pastor Joelle Colville-Hanson
Director for Evangelical Mission, ELCA
and Pastor Mark Anderson, Assistant to the Bishop

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

About The Rev. Dr. Joelle Colville-Hanson

The Rev. Dr. Joelle Colville-Hanson has been Director for Evangelical Mission, ELCA for the Northeastern Iowa Synod since late 2013. Part of her job description is to help leaders and congregations use social media and other digital means for outreach and mission. She writes and edits this blog as well as runs the social media accounts for the synod.




, , , , , ,