Cross appeared on darkened wall, aglow with Easter hope

COFFEE WITH WARREN, with Warren Harbeck
Cochrane Eagle, March 27, 2013

A cross of sunlight appeared on wall at Coffee Traders, anticipating Good Friday and Easter. Photo by Warren Harbeck

I was about to sit down for my usual Saturday noon-hour visit with friends at Cochrane Coffee Traders a few weeks ago, upstairs in the room with the big table, when suddenly an amazing image appeared on the wall. What I saw was resplendent with the Christian meaning of Good Friday and Easter.

The venetian blind covering the southeast-facing window was closed at the time, leaving the room dimly lit. It was partly cloudy that day, but soon after I arrived the clouds must have parted briefly, allowing the sun’s rays to poke through.

The blind protected the room from the full glare of the sun, but a beaded shaft of sunlight slipped through the tiny holes for the cords, and a pair of horizontal bars of sunlight slipped through two slits.

That’s when I noticed the pattern those little hints of sunlight were projecting onto the teal-blue wall to my left. They had formed a cross!

I reached into my pocket, grabbed my iPhone and took a photo of the cross of light. Then the moment passed as quickly as it began and the cross faded from view. I guess the clouds had once more veiled the sun.

But that image has lingered with me, whispering little reminders of what the Bible says about the death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. And I’ve been listening. For this week’s column allow me to share with you some of what I’ve heard.

Good Friday is the day each year when Christians especially reflect on that day 2,000 years ago when Jesus was crucified. His long hours of agony on the cross began at 9 a.m. Around noon, the sky turned dark for three hours, then He died – but not until He’d forgiven those complicit in His death.

Here was the One who had said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life” (John 8:12-13). Here was the One who had opened the eyes of a blind beggar so he could once again see the light (John 9).

But now at His crucifixion, darkness enshrouded the land. Had the darkness of human willfulness actually extinguished the Light of the World?

By no means!

That is the point of Easter, the day each year when Christians commemorate Jesus’ rising from the grave on the third day following His crucifixion. And here, the witness of the Scriptures is absolutely clear: Unlike the momentary sunlight cross created by the parting clouds that day at Coffee Traders, and contrary to popular expectations of His own day, Jesus’ light could not be extinguished – ever! Consider these words from the beginning of the Gospel of John (1:4-5):

“In him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.”

Yes, as that old gospel song proclaims so joyfully:

At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light,
And the burden of my heart rolled away,
It was there by faith I received my sight,
And now I am happy all the day!

Hallelujah, Hallelujah!

© 2013 Warren Harbeck

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