A Glory No Darkness Can Overcome // Easter 2024

We’re anticipating a total solar eclipse in the Midwest this April—our second in seven years, no less. If you’ve never witnessed a total eclipse, it can definitely be a fun photo opp, but not even the best equipment can ultimately capture the true experience surrounding such an event.

Day gradually turns to a somewhat eerie, dusk-like appearance as distant stars become visible. Evening insects begin to chirp as though the sun is setting. The last glimpse of sunlight, shining like a diamond, fully fades. Then, in totality, as the sun is overtaken and you can look with the naked eye, a shimmering ring of fire comes alive, dancing around the circle of the moon. This brief pinnacle feels impossible to describe—an awe-inspiring display that understandably drives some to chase these eclipses around the globe. I found the 2017 experience worship-inducing, a glorious thing of beauty in creation I then could not have imagined and now hope to witness once again.*

As the celebration of Easter also approaches, this collective anticipation brings to mind some very particular historical moments of darkness and glory portrayed in the story of Jesus.

First, the darkness. Through a mock trial, Jesus was falsely accused and sentenced to death. At His crucifixion, as He hung suspended between Heaven and Earth, for about three hours, “there was darkness over the whole land...while the sun’s light failed” until He took His last breath. This lengthy and unnatural darkness, coupled with an earthquake and other inexplicable events, caused even some involved in His execution to question who this man really was. His followers had questions too. They had once heard him say, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” But what could this mean now that His life was over? His light was gone.

Three days later, the answer came. As from eclipse totality the moon soon gives way again to the sun’s blinding brilliance, the stone was rolled away from Jesus’ tomb, revealing the power and glory of God as His breath returned. The true light of the world stood radiant, full of life again.

Even in His darkest moment, Jesus was overcoming the darkness we so often see around us and even in us, if we’re honest. It’s a darkness that destroys and divides, ready to overcome us with death, to separate us from our Creator and all we hold dear. Yet in that darkness, though it seemed momentarily obscured, the unfathomable mercy and glory of God was still on magnificent display. Jesus walked through the valley of the shadow of death and allowed the darkness to crush Him, but it could not overcome Him. And He will not allow it to fully overtake anyone who follows Him even today. Instead, He offers His own light to show us who God is and guide us in a better way to live now, and the glory of new life through a resurrection like His to come.

Any sort of eclipse can be fascinating to watch, and the rare beauty of a total eclipse an incredible sight to behold. But knowing the one who arranged sun and moon so precisely to create this effect is truly a glory beyond words. Let this created wonder remind you of the Creator and move you toward Jesus, the true light who “shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome.”

Scripture: Luke 23:44;  John 8:12 & 1:5 (ESV)
Art: An image of the 2017 eclipse from southern Illinois

Will you be able to view the April 8 eclipse where you are? Check your zip code for timing and details.

*(And, praise the Lord, we did! In the same location as last time, no less. Photos below from 2024.)

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