You ever been to a party where you're the only person who is entirely sober? Perhaps you're the driver for a cheerfully inebriated partner, or stricken by some lurgie which requires you to take antibiotics which suddenly turn lethal - or simply ineffectual - with the addition of alcohol. Perhaps you simply don't drink. Whatever the reason, you suddenly realise that just about everyone else seems to be on another planet, leaving you with your feet firmly on the ground. And you find their hilarity not only hard to enter but also downright irritating.
I guess this is how it was at Pentecost, when the disciples of Jesus were thought to have drunk "new wine" - the only explanation their listeners could arrive at to make sense of their exuberant joy in proclaiming the Gospel. And it's a bit like what people must feel when they meet my companions on last weekend's Cursillo in Perth - puzzled, excluded and somewhat irritated. How can perfectly sensible and sober people of mature years go off to a monastery for a few days and come back so inexplicably cheerful?
Now, you'd think that I'd be in a position to explain, wouldn't you? I mean, I was running the weekend - in charge of the team, making decisions about how things would be done, watching the weekend unfold. And yet when it comes down to it I can't tell you what happened, exactly. All I know is that these very different people arrived looking tense or uncertain and left transformed, smiling and joyful. As if they had enjoyed a couple of glasses of wine, in fact. And though I had a wonderful team of people working under me - people who also were unfailingly cheerful despite being worked off their feet - I am unable to put my finger on any one human contribution which would have brought about this transformation.
Of course, experiences like this are considerably more than the sum of their parts, and the team - paying to come and work and perhaps deliver a talk that they've sweated blood over - are motivated by something way beyond the ordinary. And the shared joy at the end of it is enviable - and in the end inexplicable. It just is.