The bishop ascends his throne
amid songs of joy
and a blare of trumpets.
He is red-robed for the feast of Pentecost,
and his retinue is slowly filing into the sanctuary.
More red robes.
I picture apostles huddled together in an upper room.
They hadn’t bathed or shaved or laundered their robes for days.
I picture Peter boldly proclaiming,
“Men of Jerusalem, we are not drunk.
It is only nine a.m. We have not been drinking,
we have been touched by Spirit.
Listen while we tell you who this Jesus really was.”
Then they got down to the wet business of baptizing three thousand,
and the next day they had to figure out what to do with them.
“Veni, Sancte Spiritus,” someone intones.
I can tell you those apostles didn’t speak Latin.
And I can tell you where Christianity took
its first wrong turn.
When it stopped being persecuted.
When it went Roman.
When it jumped at Constantine’s offer
to make it the new state religion.
Peter and the rest of the twelve, though, they did it right.
Their early church gave people fresh new hope.
People danced in it.
At what point did its teachings harden
like cement around our ankles?