This sentence is a summary of the book of Acts. From Aramaic-speaking Jews in Galilee, the Good News spread to Jewish communities throughout the Roman Empire and soon to Gentiles who spoke Greek. Acts tells how the Good News crossed not only geographical boundaries, but also cultural and linguistic ones.
It wasn’t easy. There was a big fight when Gentiles came to faith. Did they have to accept circumcision and the entire biblical law-give up their own culture and identity and become Jews-to be accepted? Prodded by Paul and his co-workers, the church decided no, only faith in Jesus was needed.
Whenever the Good News encounters a new culture, similar questions arise. Sometimes, the message comes with the cultural baggage of its former home. We need the guidance of the Holy Spirit to discern how to relate the message to each language and culture.
Still, the Spirit leads. Together we catch a glimpse of the fullness of God’s love. As one church leader has said, the gospel is unique: the more it is translated, the closer it gets to the original.
Ruler of all, you welcome all the families of earth into your family. Give us wisdom to discern your leading in our context. Amen. — PS