Easter 5 – Year B
Inquiring minds want to know what horsepower chariot Philip had to contend with. Had the chariot pulled into a fast-falafel joint and reading passed the time (1 horse power)? Did the Ethiopian have a driver so he could read as they bounced along (several horse power)? Whatever it was, apparently Philip had an angelic booster on his side or at his back. Please, no Jr. Hi. jokes about backside boosters. Apparently Philip was in good enough shape that he could run and talk at the same time.
I often scratch my head about understanding what is understood. Said understanding always seems to come with a particular perspective, not an alternative one. When you hear Isaiah being pondered, I presume readers of these notes automatically think, "Jesus is what needs talking about here." But, with a head scratch, maybe they don't always go to that default?
Fortunately Philip arrived just in time to hear this particular portion of Isaiah. Some other sections would have presented a bit more hermeneutic alakazam to connect Jesus in such a way that a request for Jesus-authorized baptism would be the logical response by this Ethiopian eunuch fellow-traveler of YHWH.
It is this at-just-a-right-moment phenomenon that is of the most interest today. Providence is a powerful, sometimes too powerful, perspective. Even though we don't hear of it, one might presume that an angel of the Lord was preveniently whispering in the Ethiopian's ear to set off at just the right time for Philip to intersect his reading at a particular point in Isaiah. There are a lot of variables the angels had to attend to along the way, the speed of the horses, construction zones, thieves along the way, Dramamine's precursor, etc.
Providential moments can be seen as fated or an opportunity to make the most of an opportunity. Around these parts we tend toward the latter. This means our search for meaning can show up running along side and that we can strike up a conversation in the most unconventional of places and among the most unlikely of folk. The folks caught up overmuch in angels plotting ahead can miss an opportunity to engage an unaware angel. Whether you see life through the lens of "the hand of G*D" or "a god-damn fluke", may you be open to receive and to proclaim good news, where e'er ye be.