Here is another article from the Bennington Banner. The original link is here:
Ever have one of those moments when, all at once, you get it? Something you’ve known or experienced one way, all your life, and suddenly you get it, like you’ve never gotten it before? That detail you never noticed? That joke that never jumped off the page?
In comedy they call this a “way-homer,” the joke that you don’t get until you’re on the way home from the comedy show.
Well, I had a “way-homer” moment myself, just this past week.
This past Sunday was the Pentecost. Pentecost is the day that the Holy Spirit comes to the Christ’s followers. They are each touched with the Spirit as with a tongue of fire, and they begin to speak in different languages, preaching the Good News of Jesus in words for everyone to understand.
It’s a beautiful moment; it’s the fulfillment of Christ’s promise that we’ll never be alone. It’s also the moment that part of the mission of the church is made clear: this is no tame path for those living in Jerusalem and its surrounding area to take and hold, but a movement meant to sweep across the world, changing everything everywhere. Thus many countries with many different languages and cultures are named in the text, and each one is made part of the movement by virtue of the fact that they hear the words in their own language.
It’s a moment when the mission of the church going forward is made clearer.
But my “way-homer” moment comes from the fact that it is ALSO a moment when the nature of those who founded and would become the church, right up to you and me, was made clearer.
In the Acts of the Apostles the people all begin to hear the preaching in their own languages, empowered by the Holy Spirit, and some say the Apostles and the other disciples are “filled with new wine.” In response, Peter says, “People of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning ”
Hear what Peter does NOT say. He does not say, no these are not drunk as you suppose, because we NEVER drink; because we drinking is BAD; because drinking is a SIN.
No, he says, we’re not drunk, because it’s only 9am.
It’s too early to be drunk.
There’s an old story in which someone comes up to a bar and orders a whiskey, and the bartender says, isn’t it a little early for that, and the person replies, hey, it’s noon somewhere!
I don’t know what the appropriate time for the Apostles would be. Was it noon? Three? Six? Who knows?
But we do know that Jesus told story after story about people attending parties, or throwing parties; he ate at the houses of notorious partiers. Of himself, he says that he came “eating and drinking, and they say, `look, a glutton and a drunkard’.” The Pharisees say, “John’s followers fast and pray, but your disciples eat and drink.” They say this at a “great banquet” thrown for Jesus.
At this “great banquet” I don’t think they were talking about drinking Kool-Aid.
Don’t hear me wrong. I’m not saying that we should all go out and drink ourselves blind.
But what I am saying is that this reveals something important about the followers of Jesus. When he ascended, he left his church in the hands of men and women who had baggage. They weren’t clean, and holy, and perfect. They were flawed and decidedly imperfect, just like you, and just like me.
They knew who they were and they lived authentically into who they were, always striving to grow, but confident that Christ’s call in their lives was to do the best they could, authentically, and trust him to redeem the rest. Above all else they, in spite of their flaws and foibles, they worked tirelessly for the Kingdom: a world in which God’s grace was made manifest for all people in all cultures in all places. They understood that the places that they were rough around the edges did not prevent them from being the tools God was using to change the world, but rather demonstrated to the world that God could and would work in and through all people, despite their imperfections.
Again, this doesn’t mean that we should surrender to the destructive forces that beset our lives or our loved ones. Rather it means that we can trust that God loves us as we are and that God chooses to use us, for God’s work, just as we are.