Who Belongs Here?
It's a timeless question. Whenever a group grows and expands it needs to decide; who belongs and who doesn't? In Acts 8:4ff Philip deals with two people: Simon Magus and the Ethipoian Eunuch, both of whom are interested in being a part of the community of faith: one is a wealthy insider, connected to the community and well-respected who has some control issues. The other is a complicated person filled with disqualifiers: foreign, black, disfigured, politcally compromised...yikes!
The African cloth is the one wrapping itself around the cornerstone of Christ. The church wisely decided that it is not a commodity for sale, now matter how sweet the price. The gift of the Holy Spirit had to remain sovereignly free. And genuine interior faith, now matter how disfigured the container, had to be embraced and welcomed. That's good news for me!