I always feel sorry for the person assigned to read on Pentecost Sunday. That long list of unpronounceable names is enough to give one nightmares. It reminds me of the time I was in seminary. On Christmas Eve, the pastor of my home congregation asked me to read Luke’s Christmas story. And didn’t I stumble over the name of Quirinius. Thankfully, I have that mastered after 34 years of ordained ministry.
Why don’t we just skip over these names? Well, because they are a representative sample of “every nation under heaven.” Acts begins with Jesus’ words: You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. (Acts 1:8) Not that Jesus expected the disciples to travel extensively, but through their work, and with the leading and guiding of God’s Holy Spirit, the message of Jesus would spread throughout the world.
Some of those devout Jews who were in Jerusalem would be touched by God’s Spirit. They would return home with the story, telling it at every roadside inn they stopped at, every marketplace they shopped in, and to their family and friends back home. With the Spirit’s help, they spun the first World Wide Web of good news.
Spirit of God, use me to continue spinning the web of the good news of Jesus. Amen. — DAB