Postponing Pentecost reflections

“How can they be drunk?” asks Peter, in all innocence. “It’s only nine o’clock in the morning!” And every time, I have to smile, or smirk, or weep at his innocence, or naïveté.

As in the rest of the gospel stories, Peter blurts out whatever he thinks, oblivious to his own unsophistication. Jesus would have had some pithy retort to set him straight – I can’t come up with one just now, only prosaic wisdom like “Wine knows no time;” – but anyway, Jesus wasn’t there.

I’m going to try between now and the end of Sunday to reflect a little more deeply, a tad more prayerfully, perhaps more inspirationally on the Pentecost event and our own Pentecosts; in the meantime, apparently, I am stubbing my toe on Peter the Rock.

One novelization of Jesus’ life which I read posited that Peter’s nickname “the Rock” was the result not of his loyalty or solidity but was given because he was as dumb as a rock. (I can’t remember offhand whether this was Christopher Moore’s Lamb – funny, maybe a little edgy for the tender-hearted – or Testament, by Nino Ricci.)

But Peter evangelized. He had the Holy Spirit to give him voice and he had the prophets to lend him words and he had the life of Jesus in all of its glory to offer.

Who needs a world-weary, sophisticated cherry on top?

My “sophisticated cynicism” can sometimes block me from hearing really good news. Between now and Sunday, my challenge to myself (one of them) is to listen to Peter. The one filled with the Spirit and sent out by Jesus himself, who knew all too well his occasional obtuseness. My challenge is to rest a while in the world of someone who can’t imagine anyone getting drunk at nine o’clock in the morning, to be infected by his innocent inspiration and overflowing, effervescent joy. I can think of worse worlds to visit.

Wish me bon voyage!

About Rosalind C Hughes

Rosalind C Hughes is a priest and author living near the shores of Lake Erie. After growing up in England and Wales, and living briefly in Singapore, she is now settled in Ohio. She serves an Episcopal church just outside Cleveland. Rosalind is the author of A Family Like Mine: Biblical Stories of Love, Loss, and Longing , and Whom Shall I Fear? Urgent Questions for Christians in an Age of Violence, both from Upper Room Books. She loves the lake, misses the ocean, and is finally coming to terms with snow.
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