What a way to begin a story. Mark’s gospel begins in the thick of things with John the Baptist at the side of the river Jordan shouting “repent!” Luke’s gospel begins with a dedication to a faithful reader. John’s gospel begins cosmically, way back at the beginning of time with “in the beginning was the Word.” And Matthew’s gospel begins… with a list. A long, tediously precise list of names. Beginning with Abraham, the father of all nations. Through King David, Israel’s most celebrated King. On through the Babylonian exile. Name after name after name all the way down to Jesus. It might be the least exciting way to show someone your family tree.