In the winter, when I go into the bathroom, I am covered with rainbows. On the wall of our upstairs bathroom hangs a mirrored and faceted cross, a gift from John and Linda, my brother and sister-in-law. Now before you tell me that the bathroom is a strange place to hang the cross, I want you to know that it has turned out to be the ideal spot.
There is a skylight in the bathroom, and during the darker months of the year when the sun has shifted toward the south, the midday light shines right on the faceted cross, which acts as a prism, scattering the spectrum here and there around the room. You couldn’t avoid the colored light if you tried.
We are now moving out of the dark months of the calendar, at the same time that we are approaching Good Friday, the day when the sun was darkened and the One who is our Light was crucified. Nevertheless, we can’t escape the Light, even on Good Friday. It is never extinguished.
As the Gospel of John tells us. “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it” (1:5).
Darkness cannot swallow up the light. This we know, because the light burst forth in splendor on Easter. On Good Friday itself, as the sun’s light fails, we catch glimpses of the greater Light.
We see this, for example, in the “seven last words” of Jesus from the cross. Among them:
‘Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing’ (Luke 23:34).
‘Father, into your hands I commend my spirit’ (Luke 23:46).
We see it when the veil of the temple is rent, symbolizing our free access to the divine.
We hear it in the words of the centurion who says, “Truly this man was God’s Son” (Mark 15:39 and Matthew 27:54).
We glimpse it in the crowd of people who “returned home, beating their breasts” (Luke 23:48).
And, now, post-Resurrection, we may perceive it in our own lives, in our own dark moments, whenever there is a movement of love or trust or repentance, whenever goodness is apparent in the face of pain or evil.
In winter, in our bathroom, you can’t brush your teeth or sit on the toilet without rainbows adorning your body. Like the sunlight hitting the faceted cross on the bathroom wall, the holy light of Jesus’ cross and resurrection illumines all our human activities, including the ones we consider most earthly.