Mistakes Happen

We heard last week how Peter's first sermon to the in-crowd - the believers - did not get any response.  No cheers.  No thousands clamoring to be part of the next "new" thing.  Not surprising.  These guys hung out with a convicted person executed for treason.  (And, yes, they are guys.  Women are starting to be written out of the early Christian narrative.)  Who wants to hang with THAT crowd?  And Peter's choice of topic in that first sermon?  "We need to replace the betrayer who, as a reward for his wickedness, tripped and fell in the field he purchased with the blood money of betrayal and he burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out."  Where do I sign up?

Fast forward to this Sunday's scripture reading which immediately follows Peter's first sermon to the out-crowd; which at this point consists only of fellow devout Jews who are in Jerusalem for the Festival of Shavuot, i.e. Pentecost.  Peter begins, "Men of Judea..."  (See previous note on gender.)  After some "skillful" exegesis of scripture - I would call it proof-texting - and some questionable rhetoric - I would call it weak hermeneutics - there is a clamorous response of 3,000 persons.  (Where does one baptize 3,000 men in one day in Jerusalem?)  "Men, what should we do?" the men ask. 

And like every good (and bad) preacher, teacher and leader has done before him and after him, Peter makes his first mistake with his answer.  "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that our sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit...Save yourselves from this corrupt generation."

Actually, Peter makes a BUNCH of mistakes.  Those of us in yesterday's Bible study were part of the discussion around one of the mistakes; a pretty significant one.  Compare Peter's first words in this passage with Jesus' first words in Mark 1:15.

More "fun" to come in Sunday's message.  The point being: Mistakes happened in "The Old Normal" which brought us to this mess that we are in.  And mistakes will happen in "The New Normal."  My hope for things unseen is a hope that - at the very least - the mistakes are different than those already made.

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