Friday, May 25, 2018

The Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time (B), June 3, 2018 - Mark 2:23-3:6


Byzantine mosaic


Does Jesus Still Thumb His Nose?

Two times at them he thumbed his nose,
Not meek and mild, this Jesus shows 
Religious  law is superseded
When graciousness for someone's needed;
The law to God does praise redound -
It's not the other way around!
Thus those who would refuse to bake
For couples gay now take the cake,
For in God's loving Parenthood
God set up laws for human good;
But time makes ancient good uncouth,
And those who stand abreast of truth
Will ask what Jesus might have said
Today, for he is risen from the dead!
His foll'wers find God's rule of love
The sole ingredient of God above. 

Scott L. Barton
(The two lines "Time makes ancient good uncouth" and following are from abolitionist James Russell Lowell's long poem (18 stanzas), "The Present Crisis." The lines were in "Once to Every Man and Nation" in the Pilgrim Hymnal (Congregational, 1958), although not in The Hymnbook (Presbyterian and Reformed, 1955).)

One sabbath he was going through the grainfields; and as they made their way his disciples began to pluck heads of grain. The Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the sabbath?” And he said to them, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need of food? He entered the house of God, when Abiathar was high priest, and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and he gave some to his companions.” Then he said to them, “The sabbath was made for humankind, and not humankind for the sabbath; so the Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath.”

Again he entered the synagogue, and a man was there who had a withered hand. They watched him to see whether he would cure him on the sabbath, so that they might accuse him. And he said to the man who had the withered hand, “Come forward.” Then he said to them, “Is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the sabbath, to save life or to kill?” But they were silent. He looked around at them with anger; he was grieved at their hardness of heart and said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was restored. The Pharisees went out and immediately conspired with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Trinity Sunday (B), May 27, 2018 - Isaiah 6:1-8 and John 3:1-17





Rembrandt: The King Uzziah Stricken with Leprosy (1635)
Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam

The Odd and Overwhelming Otherness of God

The odd and overwhelming
     otherness of God
- In which Isaiah stands as if
     he's some divining rod
Who's found the source of life
    and all creatIon's power -
Is followed by so deep a self-
     awareness, he just cowers
In his inadequacy:
     Woe! Lost! And unclean!
And he is doomed, for all
     the majesty that he has seen;
But God has means, it seems,
     the doomed one to reclaim,
The coal in tongs atones,
     and guilt departed is proclaimed.
But lest we think the prophet
     basks in holy bliss,
All-glowing with what must have seemed,
     with such an act, God's kiss,
The one who's touched, looks up,
     and from his bended knee,
And knowing what he's called to do,
     says, "Here I am; send me!"
Such odd, persistent grace
     comes when and where it will;
To you, to me, and everyone,
     So love its name fulfills.

Scott L. Barton
(Slightly revised from 5/31/15)

[The phrase "the odd, overwhelming otherness of God," and other ideas in the poem come from Walter Brueggemann's "Isaiah 1-39" in the Westminster Bible Companion series, pp. 57-60.]


In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lofty; and the hem of his robe filled the temple. Seraphs were in attendance above him; each had six wings: with two they covered their faces, and with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew. And one called to another and said: 

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; 
the whole earth is full of his glory.” 

The pivots on the thresholds shook at the voices of those who called, and the house filled with smoke.
And I said: “Woe is me! I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; yet my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!” 

Then one of the seraphs flew to me, holding a live coal that had been taken from the altar with a pair of tongs. The seraph touched my mouth with it and said: “Now that this has touched your lips, your guilt has departed and your sin is blotted out.” Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I; send me!”




Henry Ossawa Tanner: Nicodemus Visiting Jesus, 1899
Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia


John 3:1-17 (see also John 7:45-53 and John 19:38-42)

Winded

Nicodemus knew
That Jesus was on to something
With all that talk
About being born from above,
Even though he hadn't a clue
Of the wind's comings and goings.
Thus he went to that meeting
Where the blowhards
Wanted to do Jesus in,
And tried to talk some sense into them.
I wonder where he got such courage,
Going again by night,
The weight of the world on his back,
Or at least a hundred pounds,
To bury his rabbi,
Winded by the law of love?

Scott L. Barton


John 3:1-17 (with a reference to Numbers 21:9) 

Divine

It's not just at a football game
Where you will see the sign
That God so loved the world, God gave
God's son; for now "divine"
Means whatsoe'er is given from
The bottom of the heart;
And when that comes, like wind, unplanned,
You'll find your life can start
Again! You're born as if anew,
Since you've looked up to see
The love which from all poison now
Has set the whole world free.

Scott L. Barton
(Previously at 3/16/14)


Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. He came to Jesus by night and said to him, "Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God." Jesus answered him, "Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above." Nicodemus said to him, "How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother's womb and be born?" Jesus answered, "Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be astonished that I said to you, 'You must be born from above.' The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit." Nicodemus said to him, "How can these things be?" Jesus answered him, "Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things?

"Very truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen; yet you do not receive our testimony. If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.

"For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.

"Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him."

Thursday, May 10, 2018

The Day of Pentecost (B), May 20, 2018 - Romans 8:22-27; Acts 2:1-21



 Romans 8:22-27

Spirit Help

The headlines that I see each day
Confirm I don't know what to pray,
For would the Lord reverse the course
Of how things are, and love enforce?
With sighs too deep for words I long
For when none need to sing the song
Of self; and pray the love of Christ 
Will somehow reign, somehow, suffice.

Scott L. Barton

We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

+  +  +

Acts 2:1-21

The following five poems are each on the Acts 2 text, written each year from 2013-2017:

                                          
4th Century B.C.E. Thracian urn on display
Iskra Historical Museum, Kazanlak, Bulgaria

A Brief History of Bulgaria
                  or
Ode On A Thracian Urn

The Thracians with their works of gold,
And then Bulgarians of old,
The Byzantines of Empire East,
Then Bulgars once again increased,
Then people under Turkish "yoke"
(A word old hatred still evokes)
Revival that was long delayed,
Turks overthrown with Russian aid,
A culture trying to transpose
Until the Communists imposed
A system that would steal the hearts
Of each one's worth and diff'ring arts.

Oh, can a country grow in pride
When hist'ry o'er the years decries
First one group, then again, another,
Believing only blood makes brothers?
Oh, can God's Spirit work its power,
Not by religion, but by showers
Of truth and hope and understanding?
And can we all, our love expanding,
Perceive with empathy each child
Of God, who on the world still smiles?
Oh, let us put our racial pride
And fear, and wrongs, and guilt aside
And work like heav'n to make a world
Where flags of love are e'er unfurled.

Scott L. Barton
 

In St. Mark's cathedral, Korčula, Croatia

Grace in Croatia

I understood nothing,
In St. Mark's Cathedral,
Korčula, Croatia.
Some two hundred had come,
Despite buckets of rain,
Five in the afternoon.
I'd call their hymns praise songs,
Repeated, known by heart,
Yet beautifully faithful.
Their songs of mystery -
And love - and sacrifice -
And, I think, gratitude,
Almost moved me to tears,
Everything understood,
Though no words known to me.
How could this be, given
My inability
To say anything back
About that which filled them?
I, too, was full of grace.

Scott L. Barton



Pentecost, Pope Francis, and the Lightness of Being

It used to be that when the Pope
Would speak, he didn't speak to me;
He's always been the voice of judgment,
And of high authority;
Plus, as a pastor, I had seen
The damage done unto his flock,
When people to our doors appeared,
Cast from their church right down the block;
But this Pope speaks a different line,
The Spirit has him in its grasp;
The lightness of his being shows
A man (like God?) in on the laugh
Of Christ, who doesn't spare the truth,
Yet always sees the world with grace.
All understand! And at his faith
And hope and love I am amazed.

Scott L. Barton



                      Image from St. Mark's & Putnoe Churches: www.thisischurch.com

Oh, What Would They Do?

A sound like the rush of a violent wind
Filled the whole house with all of them there;
These tongues, or this ruach, this fire, appeared,
Like an answer to all of their prayers;
Oh, what would they do, with their Lord up and gone,
Out of sight, vanished, gone, disappeared?
Thus, fire from heaven, like Sinai encore,
All their doubts of the kingdom then cleared:
The news of salvation is not some obscure
Or exclusive thing meant for a few;
All manner of folk, of all nations on earth
Now are given the love that makes new.

Scott L. Barton


How Odd

How odd/ of God/ to choose/ the Jews
I used to like to say;
It was a favorite axiom
I might say some Lord's Day
To help the congregation see
These texts are not obsessed
With moral goodness all around,
But rather, how God blessed
A motley crew of liars, cheats,
And folk like you and me!
Which is, of course, good news today,
For, though we don't agree
On points of doctrine, song or style,
The Spirit gladly speaks
So people hear within their hearts
(Despite our own techniques)
That blessings far and wide abound;
Such things still come from God!
So go proclaim the love you have,
Not like a drunk - but odd!

Scott L.  Barton


When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability. 

Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. Amazed and astonished, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs—in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.” All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” But others sneered and said, “They are filled with new wine.” 

But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them, “Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel: ‘In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. Even upon my slaves, both men and women, in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy. And I will show portents in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and smoky mist. The sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the coming of the Lord’s great and glorious day. Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’ 

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

The Seventh Sunday of Easter (B), May 13, 2018 - Acts 1:15-17, 21-26 (with a flashback to John 15:16 from last week)



Election 

These days, if you're elected to the council or the session
It's hardly thought to signify apostolic succession;
And yet, although now church slates rarely come to be contested,
Matthias' choice to fill the slot back then has long attested
To how the hand of God is still at work in churchly calling:
Remember who chose whom, when you to office they're installing! 

Scott L. Barton

In those days Peter stood up among the believers (together the crowd numbered about one hundred twenty persons) and said, “Friends, the scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit through David foretold concerning Judas, who became a guide for those who arrested Jesus— for he was numbered among us and was allotted his share in this ministry....

So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John until  the day when he was taken up from us—one of these must become a witness with us to his resurrection.” So they proposed two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also known as Justus, and Matthias. Then they prayed and said, “Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which one of these two you have chosen to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.” And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias; and he was added to the eleven apostles.

Ascension of the Lord (B), May 10, 2018 - Luke 24:44-53 and Acts 1:1-11



John Singleton Copley: The Ascension (1775)
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Rejoicing in His Absence

Remember Cold Mountain, North Carolina, from the book or movie?
     Inman travels towards it, coming home from the Civil War,
         as we anticipate his return to his true love, Ada.
It was also the backdrop for a sunset I once saw near     
     Hendersonville.   
Just before the sun dropped, nearly three dozen people arrived.
     Couples with children. Couples without children. Middle-aged 
      people.
           And people in their eighties who had dressed up for the 
           occasion.
We all stood or sat on rocks in the gathering twilight, 
     taking in the show,
          the blues and purples and pinks, 
               talking and anticipating the grand finale.

Suddenly the sun came out from behind a long cloud, fiery orange,
     It lit up everyone’s faces as we looked back at the purple 
     mountains’ majesty.
          A mother told her daughter, “It’s almost gone.”
               Two lovers broke off their amorous attentions.
                    And several kids repeated, “It’s going!"
                         "There’s not much left!"  "There it goes!”

And then – it was gone.
     And there was an instant of silence.
          And then – applause!
                 Three dozen people on Jump-Off Rock gave their hearty 
                  review of the sun
                      at the curtain call of that day’s performance, along 
                      with those in supporting roles
                          - the clouds, Cold Mountain and all its neighbors, 
                          the Pisgah Forest,
                               the purples, blues, reds, pinks and oranges -
And, to my way of thinking, to the Director of the whole show.


Unlike sunset watchers, the early disciples didn't know when the return would be.
And yet, they rejoiced.
     They gazed.
          They worshipped.
                Maybe they even applauded, if people did that back then.
                     And then they returned.
And they waited for the gift that would make them witnesses to all the world,
    And proclaim good news when the news is bad,
          trust light when it’s dark,
               and even, although it’s increasingly harder, 
                   when convinced that we have it all, 
                        or deserve it all now, we, too, even now wait:
For a savior to be in our midst,
      for the kingdom to come,
             for our troubles to be healed by someone, 
                 because God knows we can’t seem to solve them all 
                 ourselves,
                    including all the troubles of the world 
                    which mirror our own:
For racism to be healed;
       for ethnic and religious warfare to be healed;
            for ageism and sexism and homophobia to be healed;
                  for the dead we have loved to be raised.

All  the evidence suggests that that savior packed up and left a long time ago.
     And yet, on this day we celebrate his absence!
          On this day we take a leap, because from that point on,
               he was going to have to be present in a new way,
                    if he was to be present at all.

Maybe the absence of God is underrated.
     Like silence, if we can get someplace without the noise and 
     clamor,
          we appreciate more the sounds that matter that we suddenly 
          hear.
               Like the absence of someone who cares about you,
                    it becomes clearer than ever how important 
                        that person was to you in the first place.

And so it is that in his absence, the Spirit of God will still catch you,
     and somehow, by some power completely outside yourself,
           you will, like those first disciples, no longer look up to the 
           sky,
                but at those around you, and you will minister to each 
                other
                     and to the world the way he ministered to them,
                          showing them forgiveness,
                               and challenging them to go beyond what they 
                               thought was possible 
                                    in terms of who could be called 
                                         a child of God,
                                             precious in God’s sight.

And what a beautiful sight that will be!

Scott L. Barton
(Reprised from 2015)

Then [Jesus] said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And see, I am sending upon you what my Father promised; so stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”

Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and, lifting up his hands, he blessed them. While he was blessing them, he withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven. And they worshiped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy; and they were continually in the temple blessing God.

+ + +

In the first book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus did and taught from the beginning until the day when he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. After his suffering he presented himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. While staying with them, he ordered them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for the promise of the Father. “This,” he said, “is what you have heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?” He replied, “It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. While he was going and they were gazing up toward heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”

Monday, April 30, 2018

The Sixth Sunday of Easter, May 6, 2018 - John 15:9-17; Acts 10:44-48

 John 15:9-17

Corrective

Perhaps the text appearing here in Eastertide
Forms a corrective to the solemnness oft tied
To Jesus' final discourse at this final meal -
Imagining he's sad, we think, so we should feel.
But I detect no sadness as he names his friends
To be the people who would love as he intends:
Not with reluctance, grimly, or with gritted teeth,
But here's the thing - it's joy to you that he's bequeathed!
He's chosen you! Oh, my; yes, you, to love like him!
The cup he offers you is filled right to the brim!
When taking on the love we see in Christ, we meet
O'erflowing, unadulterated joy. Complete!

Scott L. Barton

“As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.

 +  +  +

Acts 10:44-48

Corneille Michel I  (c. 1601 – 1664): Baptism of a Centurion
 
What Will Be Is Odd

When those of us today who feel not blessed to have the gift
Consider how, back then, it gave the circumcised a lift
To hear in tongues the Gentiles speaking and extolling God,
We should not be surprised to hear that what will be - is odd!
Imagination's eyesight cannot see beyond its nose;
(Who would have thought the Jews would be the ones whom this God chose?)
So never doubt the future brings what we can ne'er conceive,
A God who loves means there is always more that's up God's sleeve.

Scott L. Barton

While Peter was still speaking, the Holy Spirit fell upon all who heard the word. The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astounded that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles, for they heard them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter said, “Can anyone withhold the water for baptizing these people who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” So he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they invited him to stay for several days.

Monday, April 23, 2018

The Fifth Sunday of Easter (B), April 29, 2018 - John 15:1-8; Acts 8:26-40



Jean François Millet, In the Vineyard (1852-53)
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

John 15:1-8

Bushels and Bushels

These days, I'm not so much a friend of vines;
I cut and pull them down from where they climb,
Unfruitful as they are, I pile and burn,
Such wild things that destroy, I spurn;
But other plants when pruned yield better fruit,
The grower who increases light, astute.

At Christmastime, my son-in-law went out
And snipped and snipped, with hardly any doubt,
The crowded branches on the nectarine;
While I stood by, he narrated the scene -
"More light in here; take out this crossing guy" -
For what will be is more than meets the eye. 

And so it is with grapes that Jesus knew
The reason in the first place you pursue
Their growing, is to get the biggest yield;
And thus it is, that we are in this field
Because the Grower has as sole pursuit
That all of us together bear much fruit. 

Scott L. Barton

”I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinegrower. He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.

 +  +  +

Rembrandt: The Baptism of the Eunuch (1626)
  Museum Catharijneconvent, Utrecht
 
The Ethiopian Eunuch

The eunuch of the Candace*,
Although the Nubian queen's trustee,
Could not quite trust God's love extends
To one cut off; thus, life would end.
While wond'ring who Isaiah meant
About the one who underwent
Humiliation he, too, knew,
Then, Philip, through the words cut through
To tell how Jesus was good news
To anyone by life so bruised.
The eunuch found himself beguiled,
And baptized, smiled to be love's child.

Scott L. Barton

[Compare the end of verse 33, "For his life is taken away from the earth," with the Hebrew version of Isaiah 53:8c, "For he was cut off from the land of the living."]

*pronounced "KAN-de-si"

Then an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Get up and go toward 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.