Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Chippewa Cross

Apparition - (ap-pa-ri-tion) n. - 1. a ghostly figure; a specter. 2. a sudden or unusual sight. 3. the act of appearing; appearance.

The above photo is being called an apparition by some. Yet by others it is being called a naturally occurring phenomenon, caused by a combination of light and an imperfection in the glass. Still others are calling it a miracle of the Lord. This is not the first instance of a cross appearing in a glass door or window. There are documented accounts of similar apparitions in Coachella, CA (2002), and Thermal, CA (2005).

I took this photo this afternoon, at the home of Manuel and Maria Mireles, of Sylmar, CA. In fact, if you look closely, you will see my reflection in the window. Hearing from a friend in church (who lives on the Mireles's street) that large crowds gathered around the window to see the cross, I thought it could be a rare and wonderful opportunity to share the Law and the gospel with people who were mesmerized by, even worshiping, an apparition. My mission today was simply to do a little recon, with the hope of bringing a team of evangelists to the street during the weekend.

When I walked onto the driveway of the modest Chippewa Street home, I was greeted by a man named Areal. Areal was atop a ladder, doing some repair work on the house's rain gutters. I asked Areal if he was the homeowner. He shyly said that he was not. He said he was a friend of the family.

I told Areal that I had heard about the cross in the window, and out of a sense of curiosity I came to see for myself. He smiled, telling me that many people come every day to see the cross. Areal came down from the ladder and excused himself, saying he was going to get the homeowner.

A few moments later, Areal came back out of the house with Maria Mireles behind him. Maria was soon joined by her husband, Manuel. I explained to the couple that I was with a Christian radio station called Way of the Master. I asked them if I could conduct a taped interview with them regarding the cross in their window. They declined to be interviewed on tape. Maria said that they were trying to be very careful not to draw too much media attention. It appeared that the Mireles's were following the counsel of the local archdiocese, of the Roman Catholic Church.

Although they did not wish to be interviewed on tape, they were friendly and eager to share with me the story of what they called "the luminous cross." According to Mr. and Mrs. Mireles, the cross first appeared on Palm Sunday, of this year. They have lived in the house for twenty-eight years, but have never seen anything like the cross in the window.

Mrs. Mireles invited me into her home. She escorted me to the bathroom where the window was located. Inside the bathroom was a small floodlight. It seemed out of place in the small bathroom. Mrs. Mireles told me that at night the cross can be seen not only in the window, but outside the window, in the driveway, whether or not the light in the bathroom is on.

I gently asked Mrs. Mireles what she thought was the source of the light. She believes it is a miracle from God. She told me stories of people who claimed to be healed emotionally and physically after seeing the cross. She told me the story of an architect who came to the house to drop off blueprints. After seeing the cross, he suddenly became aware of his sinfulness and his need to change his life. The architect also said that his wife was now willing to go to church for the first time.

Mrs. Mireles also showed me the display/altar on the dining room table. Atop the table was a statue of Mary, about 3' in height. Also on the table was a cardboard display containing a series of photos. Some of the photos were of the cross in her bathroom window. Yet others were of the appearance of a cross, in the glass door, of a Coachella home. The fact that other such apparitions have appeared in other homes only bolster Mrs. Mireles' belief that the cross in her window is a miracle from God.

According to Mrs. Mireles, as well as others I talked to who live on the street, large crowds of people gather every night, at 7:00 pm, to pray the rosary in front of the window.

I thanked Mr. and Mrs. Mireles for talking to me and for inviting me, a stranger, into their home. They seem like a very sincere, unassuming, gentle couple. As I walked out of the house, a crowd began to form. Several families stood in the circular driveway captivated by the cross in the window. I saw cars stopped in front of the house, with the gaze of the occupants transfixed on the cross in the window. I watched as an investigator gathering information--making mental notes while remaining emotionally detached. But then something happened that broke my heart.

I watched as a family of three slowly walked down the sidewalk, toward the house. I believe they were walking slowly for two reasons. The youngest member of the family, a little girl, couldn't have been more than five years old. The other reason was that the mother of the family was, I assumed very ill. She was bald and her features were gaunt. She very much had the appearance of someone in the midst of a cycle of chemotherapy.

More than the sickly appearance of the mother, it was the demeanor of the little girl as the family walked away from the cross in the window that broke my heart. She was weeping very bitter tears. She didn't want to leave the cross. Her parents had to literally pull her away from the window and physically escort her down the street. There seemed to be no consoling this little girl.

Seeing the distraught little girl, and watching all the people shuffle up to the window and gaze at it, snapped me back from taking in the sights and sounds to focusing on the mission--not that of an investigator, but that of an evangelist.

So, what is the image in the window? Is it a miracle from God? Is it something that is occurring naturally, due to the combination of the glass in the window and the lighting in the bathroom? Or is it something else? Could it be something sinister--evil? Could it be this?

"No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light" (2 Cor. 11:14). While I do not believe it is a miraculous sign from God, I also do not want to look for Satan under every rock. So, I cannot say with certainty what is the origin of the light, in the window. What I do know is that hundreds of spiritually-minded, religious, and likely lost people are making short pilgrimages to see the cross on Chippewa Street. What better place to proclaim the truth! What better place to bring the Law to the proud and grace to the humble!

I will gather a team of evangelists to make not a pilgrimage, but a missionary trip, to Chippewa Street, on Saturday night. Our tactic will not be to attack the validity of the apparition. Rather, we will use the apparition as a springboard into conversations with people who are already thinking spiritually. I hope to capture many of the conversations on tape and video.

So, please pray for us. Pray that we will be bold, yet gentle witnesses, on behalf of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Pray that the Lord will use us to lovingly present the Law and the Gospel to lost and dying souls. Pray that the Lord will choose to glorify Himself, by drawing people to genuine repentance and faith in Christ.

I hope to post a report following our mission trip to Chippewa Street.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

My brother, very good objective report. I have had a terrible cold the last fews days and would like to be with you tonight knowing Ty and Lisa are out of town celebrating her birthday. I still need some rest to shake this remaining cough that vibrates to my bones when it erupts.
I'll be praying that there will be a REAL openness to the grace miracle of faith in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Praying His protection on you and the team. Wear the Armour of Light.

Me

Anonymous said...

i visted this house were my friend lives.But as i stepped near the house i felt a cold presence run all over my body as i saw the cross. But im a very sprit sensetive as i like to call it. I couldnt breathe i was taking hard breaths and i asked my friend to leave and we went back to his party. hours pass by and we decide to go back as i we went back i was afraid but i went anyways so as we got there i was brething normally and the cold sense i had was gone and we enter the house we see three crosses one was blue one was red and other was orange. so ethier yes its a apperation or maybe a sign from God but i always go there every weekend now just feel if that presense is their so far i havent had any luck.

My story Of This House

Tony Miano said...

Anonymous,

Thank you for sharing your experience. Even though I have no idea who you are (or if you will ever visit this blog again), what I'm about to say, I say because I care about you.

If the "presence" you felt at that house was of God, you would have been drawn to repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Anything else is either self-induced emotion or of the Devil.

More important than how the cross in the window makes you feel is where you will spend eternity. And the cross in the window cannot save you. You can only be saved by what Jesus Christ did on the cross, and His resurrection.

Your only hope is to come to the realization that you have broken God's Law (The Ten Commandments) and, if He gives you what you deserve for breaking His Law, you will spend eternity in hell as the just punishment for your sins against Him.

If you are unsure what I mean when I say that you have broken God's Law, then honestly answer in your heart the following questions.

Have you ever told a lie? Have you ever stolen anything (regardless of the value or how long ago you stole something)? Have you ever taken God's name in vain--meaning that you used the name of the God who gave you life as a cuss word or to express excitement or disgust? Have you every looked at someone with lust in your heart? If you answered yes to these questions, then, by your own admission, you are a lying, thieving, blasphemous, adulterer at heart.

Again, I say these things to you because I care about you. If you were to die today and stand before God, He would punish you for every time you sinned against Him in thought, word, and deed. And the just punishment for your sins is eternity in hell.

This should concern you. It should concern you much more than anything you might experience in front of a lit window.

Since God is a good God, He must punish sin. And since He is a good God, He provided the only way to escape His wrath. He sent His only Son, Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, into the world. Jesus lived a perfect, sinless life. And He died a horrible, bloody death on the cross. In doing so, He took upon Himself the punishment you deserve for sinning against Him--the punishment you will receive if you do not repent and, by faith, receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.

Three days later, Jesus Christ rose from the dead, forever defeating death, and is alive today! He is the true Light that came into the world. The light in the window is not.

To repent means to turn away from your sins--to flee fron your sins and run toward God. I beg you to repent, recognize that you (like everyone else, including me) have sinned against God, and beg God to forgive you. By faith, ask Jesus Christ to be your Lord and Savior, save you from the just punishment for your sins, and give you the free gift of eternal life.

The promise is that if you repent and believe the gospel, when you die and stand before God, instead of receiving what you deserve (eternity in hell), you will receive what you don't deserve (His grace, mercy, and the gift of everlasting life with Him).

Only God the Father, by the power of God Holy Spirit, through faith in God the Son Jesus Christ--One God in Three Persons--can save you. You cannot save yourself. No religious system can save you. No luminous cross in a bathroom window can save you. Repent of your sin and believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This is your only hope.

Again, I say these things because I care about you. I don't want you to go to hell. I would love to see you (whoever you are) in heaven, one-day. I do not sit in judgment of you. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, and that is God. I speak to you as one who has been born-again (saved) by the grace of God alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone.

Please consider these things carefully. Your eternal life depends on it.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful message. I visited the Luminous Cross today, I wanted to be near God and asking for more peace and love in my life. I wish more people would believe in God and repent to save themselves while they still can. I pray everyday for all of us to believe in God. God is good he would not hurt us. He loves us, we need to build a relationship with him. He will answer our prayer, be patient and pray.