by Jeff Rainwater, 24 April 2017, Cheyenne, WY
you will say
and other names
Disturber of the Peace!
(my absolute favorite,
if you use the word…
But were you there
when Mighty Wind
when Now walked in,
to greet sacred Past
it is New Wine
that was poured.
Spirit, Peter named it,
and I’m sure I heard
Grace never tasted
 Acts 2:13; Acts 2:15, Peter’s reply. There is an irony here I never caught before. The complaint was literally, “these men are full of sweet, new, wine.” The implication is clear, ‘they’re drunk.’ But Jesus has spoken of new wine before in Luke 5:37, comparing his presence with the disciples and perhaps the Kingdom itself as ‘new wine.’ (In Greek, a different word from Acts 2:13, but same idea). The complainers were more right than they knew. Were the disciples full of new, sweet, wine? Yes! Just not the wine the complainers were thinking of.
 John 19:12, of Jesus; Acts 21:38, of Paul, falsely
 Or blasphemer; Matthew 26:65, of Jesus; Acts 12:13, of Stephen, falsely
 Mark 3:20, of Jesus
 Acts 24:5, of Paul
 Matthew 12:24, of Jesus
 Luke 5:37
 Acts 2:17, referencing Joel 2:28-32, Joel suggests this is a singular event, but Acts later attests to the Spirit being poured out on many occasions, as a continuing fulfillment, that I suggest continues through the present in new, sometimes equally disruptive, ways.
 Psalm 119:103; Psalm 34:8; and again, Acts 2:13, new, sweet, wine. Oh to taste sweet wine of Jesus’ grace given by the Spirit!
A note about this poem: In July 2016, I was an observer privileged to be present for the election of the first openly gay Bishop within the United Methodist Church. She was elected because she was the best candidate, leading all ballots throughout the process. The election has been challenged because she chooses to live an authentic and open life in all its dimensions including her marriage to her spouse, Robin Ridenour.
Today, I leave for Newark, NJ, to stand with many others in support of Bishop Oliveto. Since her election 8 months ago in Arizona, it has been my great honor to serve on Bishop Oliveto’s Cabinet in my continuing appointment as Wyoming District Superintendent. She is my Bishop through and through, deserving in every way of the office she now holds, but to me she is more than that. Bishop Karen and Robin both have become family. As I pray for justice this week, I wish all could come to know this remarkable leader of our church as I have. I wish all could see how the Spirit is at work in the Mountain Sky Area.
For those that question the motives behind Bishop Oliveto’s election or object to my support of her or of the full inclusion the LGBTQ community within the life of our church, I offer this poem as a reflection on that day in July when history was made within the denomination I love. Whatever happens now, that moment cannot be undone.