A northern Ontario man was surprised to wake up in the middle of the night, 1:30 am, to see beams of brightly colored lights shooting up into the sky. Timothy Joseph Elzinga came out onto the street in the freezing weather to watch the lights as they changed between yellow, red, green, and blue. The phenomenon is called light pillars.
Light pillars appear when either natural or artificial light bounces off ice crystals floating close to the ground. In this case, the air was so cold that ice crystals were forming in the air, reflecting the city’s street and business lights. “It was very bright in person, like nothing I’ve ever seen. It almost seemed supernatural.”
You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
– 1 Peter 2:9
I am not a person who likes darkness. Darkness is disconcerting to me. In fact, I like to be sure the lights are on in whatever room I happen to be.
Although I love the writing of Barbara Brown Taylor, I literally suffered through her book, Learning to Walk in the Dark. She embarks on a journey to understand darkness, which takes her deeply into unlit caves and other dark places. She learns to eat and cross the street as a blind person, discovering the mysterious ways of “dark emotions.” She rereads scripture to see all the times God shows up at night. She eloquently describes a spirituality of the nighttime, teaching us how to find God even in darkness, and giving us a way to let darkness teach us what we need to know.
Still, the book did not dispel my dread of the darkness. It is true, though, that to get to the light, it is imperative that we walk through the darkness. Without a doubt, life offers periods of darkness to every person. And when we walk through dark times and finally make it to the light, we will have strengthened our spirituality.
So we travel on with faith and courage, grateful that time and time again, God calls us “out of darkness into his marvelous light.” And that reality is supernatural.