Learning Acts 2:22-39 by heart

For a group biblical storytelling performance, I have been assigned this passage. And this is a pretty tough passage in my opinion! It quotes a psalm, so there’s poetry. It addresses the crowd and assumes knowledge that everyone has. It brings up David (as in King David of the Old Testament), and brings him up as an authority. Peter is talking, so it is first person. Peter’s speech will be started by someone else and then it will be my turn. I have until August to get this perfect. I have it all by heart now — been working hard for a month. I read it over and over, I broke it down and recited a few lines at a time. I made gestures to trigger my memory. I wrote it. I hunted for repeated words, or opposites. I sorted out verbs. I sorted out directions. I have it by heart — but now I need to internalize it and study it and go deeper.

So I’m going to be blogging on it, likely mixed in with other stuff as need be. Mostly up to now in my blog I’ve been studying John the Baptist and then because of John, Elijah. I feel pretty satisfied with the deeper depths I’ve found — I feel a need to pause and rest on John the Baptist.

Oddly my first “love” of the bible was Peter. He is so “human” — he makes mistakes, he says goofy things.  I remembered that just a couple days ago — in my passage I am saying Peter’s words, as Peter, and he was my first bible study. There’s a nice feeling about that. Am I coming back to a familiar friend or will I find things anew after all these years? I rather suspect I’m going to be finding new stuff.

Here’s the background: The Pentecost has happened, the Holy Spirit poured out like tongues of flame. While believers were filled with the Spirit, bystanders were baffled? What was going on. Peter has started to explain, and my part adds to the explanation.

The start: You who are Israelites, listen to what I have to say

So do I say that meanly, like — hey you idiots, listen up (I don’t think so!)

Do I say that gently — excuse me, you all, in the crowd, who identify as Israelites, if you have a moment?  (my test audiences have hated this)

How about with authority? How about with sadness? How about with energy? How about with mixed feelings?

Peter has to be angry — his Lord and Messiah and best friend and teacher, Jesus, was killed in a terrible way under false reasons and lies and Peter was so afraid then, and even though He came back, well now He has ascended to Heaven. It’s a goodbye even if it isn’t death. Peter has to be mourning and angry and sad and a bit lost. And so many people look to him for guidance. Yet the miracle of Pentecost is the Holy Spirit — the love of God poured out and over and in — and Peter surely feels this Love. Yes? So He’s also at this moment more loving and confident of God than of any time before in his life. He’s at some amazing mountaintop, metaphorically, of spiritual emotion and assurance and leadership.

And starting the whole Tell off with just the right tone, that’s the key. (I don’t set small goals….)

I visualize (and have started practicing) saying this while looking here and there into the crowd, as if looking for those specific people that I’m talking to. Then firming up my voice for the “…listen to what I have to say….” Basically — my mom voice only louder — “Listen to what I have to say”.

Have I overlooked anything obvious so far? Any thoughts?

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