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A Sobering Assessment

Three flaming alcoholic drinks. Blog title, "A Sobering Assessment."
A Sobering Assessment

Acts 2:12-15

“All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, ‘What does this mean?’ But others sneered and said, ‘They are filled with new wine.’ But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them: ‘Men 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.”

This is the introduction section to Peter’s sermon on Pentecost. The tongues of fire had come down, the people spoke in tongues, the Church was born. What a huge occasion! This is a turning point in the history of Christ’s disciples. A turning point for the world.

And the second sentence of the sermon is “We’re not drunk.”

As far as sermons go, that’s probably not the strongest opening.

Sermon openings are hard. I always try to start my sermons on a bit of a lighter note. I try to find that hook that will give us an engaging on-ramp to the meat of the sermon. The opening of a sermon is probably the part that I re-write the most. Quite frankly, the most important part of the sermon is right up toward the end, when I tie up everything that I’ve been talking about in some sort of coherent theme. But if you whiff on the opening then you may as well quit right there. It’s really hard to make someone un-bored, even if you’re bringing the fire later.

So you have to open strong.

I thought.

Unless you’re Peter.

This is a top five non-Jesus sermon, and it starts by talking about how he’s not drunk.

Not fair.

As a preacher, I just wanted to vent my outrage to the world. It’s not fair that I have to work hard to come up with something engaging, while Peter could get away with just setting the expectations bar at “Probably not drunk.”

Some people just have it too easy.


Rev. Jeff Fox-Kline

Twelve Corners Presbyterian Church


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