I was in elementary school when my family went to a Good Friday service. At the time, we attended a small community church in our suburban home, but on that day, we ventured into the city to partake in the tradition of a Good Friday service. We dressed up and entered. At first, when we walked in, I felt taken aback. The stage was dark and the only decorations were a banner of Christ on the cross and a replica of the wooden cross. I will never forget its size. It was hypnotizing. It stood on the side of the stage and dared anyone in the congregation to consider the severe gravity that it represented. I was young, yet I sat and stared.
The service continued and we took communion. The first time I left my seat was to take the elements. Timidly, I followed the example of my parents, but bravely led the way for my younger sister. As we proceeded down the aisle, the large, wooden cross only grew more daunting. So many questions stirred within me as I took each step. I will never forget this moment in my faith journey.
Even our exit made a meaningful addition to this memory. As we swung the heavy doors open after the service, light streamed in. This was when it hit me. As Christ died on the cross, there was great darkness, an immense depression. There came a great unknown, a moment when all seemed hopeless. People continued on with their lives, wafting through the rumble of the previous events and the death of the Savior. Three days later, however, the rock was rolled away, the doors were opened, and light again shone.
There was no meshing of the darkness and the light. The light did not slowly creep over the darkness, but rather overtook it. In the absence of one, there was only the other. I had never reflected on Easter and the miracle of the crucifixion and resurrection to this extent until that day at the church. Years later, I still remember the clarity that I felt. On Good Friday, one is supposed to rest in the darkness, let it encompass us, however outward or inward it may. Now, we can experience this burden, this heaviness of the light again being eclipsed. There is no unknown, for the resurrection decimated even the threat of a world in the absence of light.
Turning to the Bible, John 1:4-5 (NIV) reads, “In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” In essence, this verse defines the gloriousness of the resurrection. It equates lights to life, and Christ gave us light. When He rose again, not only did light shine victoriously, but life also resounded. Another verse, John 12:46 (NIV), again declares that Jesus is light, saying, “I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.”
The reason that Jesus bestowed his presence on earth was to come and save us from our sins, which are the manifestation of the darkness of the world within us. He came to give us light, to show us the purity, grace, gentleness, and goodness that comes with accepting His light and then shining it, reflecting it back on Him for the rest of our days. As Psalm 27:1 (NIV) reads, “The Lord is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?” The truth of the resurrection is exactly this: He is our light. He is our salvation. There is nothing, no darkness, to fear.
In closing, I also want to share with you that this will be the last Bible Spotlight piece that I will be writing. It has been a pleasure to share my writing with all of you throughout this last year, and as this is the last month of clay publication, and ultimately the last year of the platform, I want to thank all of you devoted readers. I truly am appreciative and humbled to be alongside you all in my faith journey. In closing, of this piece and of my tenure with you all, I want to share the following lyrics from Chris Tomlin’s song “Whom Shall I Fear”:
“I know who goes before me
I know who stands behind
The God of angel armies
Is always by my side
The one who reigns forever
He is a friend of mine
The God of angel armies
Is always by my side”
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