A few of us had gathered in the church there. Not quite sure what we were doing, but we all seemed to have landed on the same idea. Get down to the place and wait. So we did. Some chatted, those who were better at small talk, the rest of us let the memories clatter about in our heads. There were so many, and our minds seemed keener all of a sudden, things that had been cloudy were coming into a sharp focus. Snatches of stories he had told us, lines of wisdom and advice. Things we thought we’d forgotten now came out of the dark and slotted into place. Someone suggested we pray for a while so we bowed our heads. And then it happened.
The clap of thunder, so loud I swear it was as if the whole church shook. I looked up and blinked, there was light everywhere, flames and flickering shadows. It was is if everyone’s head was lit up, on fire. I could hear muttering, but I couldn’t make out what the others were saying, whether they were praying or whispering to each other. Then there was another crack, not thunder, but the door bursting open. And we looked back to see a crowd peering inside. Peter got up and I thought he was going to slam the door on them, it was the kind of thing he would do, but he didn’t. Instead he hauled it wider and waved at people to come in. Men, women, teenagers, children, dogs.
They all piled in and there was so much noise. They were saying something about a dazzling light over the church, so Peter jumped up on a chair and began telling them about Jesus. In my mind’s eye I saw that night again, when we huddled in the garden in the dark, when the temple guards came to arrest Jesus and we all buckled and ran. Not now. Now there he was, Peter, up there, telling them what it was all about. And the others weren’t running either, they were moving amongst the crowd, checking people were okay, encouraging them to take note. It was the strangest thing. If you’d have asked us a day earlier what we would have done in that situation I’m sure we’d have all said – ‘Run! Get out of that limelight. Double quick!’ But we didn’t. It was just like he’d said, ‘You’ll know what to say when you’re in the situation.’ Peter spoke his heart out, and at the end a huge crowd wanted to get baptised. So we got buckets and cans and bowls and made it happen. Not organised, not very tidy, water everywhere. Dogs yapping and children running and playing and laughing. But people were smiling, and saying it was a new start.
It really was. The start of something big.
Amazing to think that what began as a small gathering of uncertain followers has since developed into 2 billion Christians worldwide.