Psalm 148: 5 Praise him, sun and moon, praise him.
Psalm:104:20 The moon keeps track of the seasons, the sun is in charge of each day.
Isaiah 55: 6 Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near.
Where were you on August 21, 2017?
That was the day that I experienced a total solar eclipse, which you probably already know is when the moon crosses in front of the sun and casts its shadow on the Earth. Totality comes to areas of earth where view of the sun is completely blocked for a few moments. The eclipse was the big thing happening in the United States where I live, all across the areas in the path of the partial or total eclipse.
Years ago people would have been terrified during an eclipse because they didn't know what was happening. Some were sure the world was coming to an end. Some thought an evil spirit was swallowing the sun, and maybe they'd gone partly blind because they dared to try to look at it. Some would run and hide as best they could. Contrast that with 2017 where great masses of people were doing all they could to be in the path of the totality.
This experience got me to thinking of how this experience spoke to me of God. This could be considered many ways. But what I would like you to think about is the great effort people went to be there in the totality--so they could experience a few moments of quiet, calm, and peaceful darkness, maybe experience the sun's amazing corona (crown) in a way they'd never experienced before. I wondered, how often do I go to that much trouble to find a quiet place to be with God, one where the things of this earth are stilled and I can find that still voice of God speaking? What about you?
My husband and I were among those not content to experience a partial eclipse because we lived close enough to the path of totality that we could easily drive there. We drove south to Clemson, South Carolina and joined others on the lawn at a hotel near a restaurant. We were wearing our special dark eclipse-viewing glasses to keep the retinas of our eyes from being damaged. We didn't want to go blind! People were warned not to take photos unless they had special filter and a tripod; I had brought neither of those. One man wore a welder’s helmet for eye protection.
I had really wanted to see the corona (crown of light around the sun) at totality. But that was not to be for us. Just about the time it was getting close to the totality, the sky clouded over and it began to rain. We hurried back into our car, all the time watching it getting darker and darker outside. The temperature got cooler and then everything got really quiet. And we knew this meant that the sun and the moon were lining up so that where we were, the moon was completely blocking the sun's image.
I called my parents on their cellular phone to see if they were experiencing the eclipse. They were, happily drinking soda and eating store-bought treats called Moon pies and Sun Chips. Afterward we found a restaurant to eat at, then entered the bumper-to-bumper traffic that would last all the way home.
Even that ride back home made an impression on me. All these people had wanted to experience this incredible moment of science. I have my Eclipse Totality 2017 t-shirt to prove it, but don't need it to remember this day forever. I hope to be able to experience another solar eclipse coming to the United States on April 8, 2024.
But now I am thinking of some questions that I would like to share with you. Also, I encourage you to ask your own questions and talk about these with the people around you.
- What can each of us do to intentionally put ourselves in a place where the glaring, everyday distractions of this world can be blocked out, as close to "totality" as possible-- so we can listen to God speaking the things that we need to hear? How are our lives different when we make that special effort regularly?
- What special place do you have where you feel closest to God, with the distractions of the world blocked away as much as possible? Do you make the effort do go there as often as you need to? if not, what might help to make the change?
- What reminders do you use to prompt yourself to spend quiet time in God's path even if you live in a world that may seem bumper to bumper obstructions all the way?
- Have you ever had times when you were trying to listen to God's voice and find that quiet center--and then something like storm clouds and rain came and blocked it? Did you perhaps go away realizing that you'd experienced God there anyway, even amidst the storm?
- What stories and experiences serve as reminders that it is worth it to go the extra effort to seek God's presence in all things?
Prayer: Loving God, we thank you for your presence with us at all times, even when we let things distract us from you and your plans for us. We humbly pray that in our days ahead we find ways to be especially close to you. We pray that we may totally devote time to get close enough and quiet enough for long enough to hear you speaking to us. May we seek you and find you in all the times of our life, and share the Good News of your love to those who may never have had a chance to truly discover the mystery and wonder of living in your presence. In Jesus name we pray, Amen
Continuing to thank God for His totally cool awesomeness and praising Him in all things.
Have a blessed day!
PS. Did you know that you can donate eclipse glasses to Astronomers without Borders. One place is: http://www.astronomerswithoutborders.org/…/arc…/listing.html