Light radiates hope

COFFEE WITH WARREN, with Warren Harbeck
Cochrane Eagle, March 26, 2020

Setting sun breaks through dark cloud cover as seen from Hwy 1A on a Lenten evening to give Cochrane artist a lesson in hope and joy. Photo by Rose Palen

I often think about the Christophers’ motto, “It’s better to light one candle than to curse the darkness” – particularly relevant in these dark days of Covid-19.

But a photo I received the other day from our Cochrane coffee companion Rose Palen added a giant exclamation mark to that thinking. Why, isn’t that thought at the very heart of these Lenten days leading up to Easter?

Rose was returning home from a Lenten service in Calgary early one evening last year. The sky was so heavily overcast it felt like night. But then, as she travelled west along Hwy 1A, the sun broke through straight ahead. An artist with a keen sensitivity to the moment, she pulled over and took the photo accompanying this column.

“To say God caught my attention is obvious,” she says. “The scene had a very powerful pull that evening. The contrast of the bright light against the darkness was absolutely stunning. It filled my heart with joy, made all the more powerful as I had been feeling sad all day. Our Lenten services were centered around the theme of healing. So in a way, this wondrous site produced a feeling of hope and joy.”

Yes, Rose, hope and joy! It occurs to me that hope and joy are intimately associated with light in another context that many over the ages have found deeply inspiring: the story of Jesus, “the Light of the world” according to the Gospel of John. But that Light was a threat to the darkness, so the darkness tried to extinguish the Light. And indeed, if the crucifixion on Good Friday were the end of the story, the darkness would have succeeded. But then came Easter!

As the preamble to John’s account puts it, “The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:5).

And as the Light shines in the darkness, so may we shine through the clouds of covid-19 and radiate hope and joy to many.


© 2020 Warren Harbeck

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