Ignoring all the truly profound elements of today’s scripture–the story of Pentecost–I am drawn to one intriguing line: “They can’t be drunk, it’s only 9:00 in the morning.” Interesting that Peter doesn’t defend his companions with a stronger argument. Perhaps one that focused on how moral they were–too moral to be anything but sober. Why not a defense of sobriety based on their upstanding character? Instead, he implies that drunkeness is something much better saved for later in the day.
That was back when followers of Christ were not so sure of their “correctness”. Now a follower of Christ is pretty clear that whatever they do, it is not only “right” but more “right” than anyone else. In fact, I think one can say that Christianity has been highjacked by those who are sure they are more right than anyone else. An example (it seems extreme, but unfortunately, it isn’t) is the now famous quote of Reverend Dennis Terry, Baptist pastor in Louisiana:
“This nation was founded as a Christian nation…there’s only one God and his name is Jesus. […] If you don’t love America and you don’t like the way we do things, I’ve got one thing to say — Get out! We don’t worship Buddha… We don’t worship Mohammed. We don’t worship Allah. We worship God. We worship God’s son Jesus Christ.”
In other words, if you don’t think and believe as we do (not sure who “we” is. Greenwell Baptist, I suppose) then you are simply wrong. No room for disagreement. When did Christians become so confident in their correctness?
Peter doesn’t say that he and the disciples were far too moral to be drunk. He just lets us know that they have the good taste to wait until later in the day. Peter has two things to teach today’s Christians: first, it really isn’t 5:00 somewhere. And second, a little humility can go a long way.