Good afternoon everyone. What a beautiful spring day it is: people in shorts, running, biking, having lunch outside. Very pastoral.
This Sunday, our Scripture is taken from the book of Acts, chapter 8, verses 26-40. Our Tuesday Bible Study group just left and I am still buzzing from it.
One thing we talked about was word usage. We often take for granted the words that an author uses to tell a story, but anyone who writes can tell you that word selection is very important and is not done without thought. This was very true for the Biblical writers. They chose which words to use and not use (although we may miss this in the translations). When an author chooses to use a word many times, it can be an indication that he/her is trying to draw out attention to something.
Go ahead and grab your Bible and read the scripture.
Look at verse 26. Where is Philip called to go? Toward the south, on a wilderness road. Some people may have it read "a desert road." Now, think about the word desert. What images comes to play? What makes something a desert?
Now, read from 27-35. Take some time to absorb it in.
Now, take out your pencil and read 36-40. Circle how many times the word "water" appears. I have four times. But wait: if the road is a wilderness road or a desert road, where does the water come from?
What images or thoughts does this bring to mind? If this story was a metaphor, what would you say the water represents? And why would the author mention water four times when he could have done just fine mentioning it once?
Has there ever been a wilderness/desert/dry spell in your life in which refreshment or a chance of new beginnings came along?
What could the author of Acts be trying to say, what is it he is trying to teach us about God, about the Spirit, about Jesus, about ministry, about those we meet along the way?
Just some fun things to think about as we all go on our journeys this week.
Peace, Pastor G