All the Christian archetypes were already in place on the very first day.
The story opens with that small group of believers isolating themselves all together in one place …Like in John’s gospel when they were all gathered behind locked doors, as the text says for fear. Fear of the people who didn’t get their church. Fear of impurity. Fear of reprisal. Fear of dilution. They were afraid of other people so they all stayed together. Had they actually known better they would have been even more afraid because what was about to happen would have freaked out even the bravest amongst us. The danger they were in wasn’t from outsiders – it was from a God who is about to crash the party and bring in everyone they’re trying to avoid.
And here we all are still, just like at Pentecost. See, we still have fear and isolation in the church. It’s called sectarianism. So nothing’s changed there. And those people who did the whole crazy speaking in tongues thing that frankly I don’t really get…well, there’s the Pentecostals. Nothing’s changed there. And then the first time people started speaking in tongues there were probably also the polite people who know better than to lose control in ecstatic religiousity. We call them Presbyterians I believe. Nothing’s changed there. Then that long list of how many different nationalities were present was of course added by the first UCC’er or other good liberal flashing their multicultural credentials. Nothing’s changed there. Then there were those who witnessed this powerful act of God---this Pente-chaos--- and, in an attempt at intellectualizing the experience of the faith, all they could think to say was “well what does this mean”. So they were like, the first Lutherans. Nothing’s changed there.
And those who said “They are drunk on new wine” must have been some Evangelicals focused on the personal morality of others. Nothing’s changed. Then finally there’s the nice but completely naive guy who says” O come on there’s no way they can be drunk…it’s only 9 o clock in the morning” So there we have what we call the Methodists. Nothing’s changed a whole lot.
People are people. There are the emotional ones, the judgmental one, the naïve ones, the proud ones and of course the ones like myself who insist on categorizing and naming everyone as though people can be reduced to a label. I mean honestly…it’s ridiculous.
So there we all are even from the beginning. Flawed, smug, confused, embarrassed and embarrassing…and the very people to whom God sends the spirit. Because see, God hasn’t changed either. Just like that first Pentecost God still messes up our plans and interrupts our pride.This is what is so dangerous about the whole thing.
(excerpt from last year's sermon)