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Looking Back at the Eclipse…

Last Monday, we experienced a total eclipse of the sun. It might sound like it wasn’t such a big deal – but it was! A number of years ago, back in 2017, when the last solar eclipse touched parts of Indiana, we only experienced a partial covering of the sun. In other words, it wasn’t nearly as dramatic as what we saw this past Monday. It was after the last experience that I remember getting out my phone and marking the exact date and time of the next eclipse in my calendar app. It seemed so far away yet when it finally came to pass, it was as fresh as if I had found out about it last week.

I have always been something of a space nut – in fact, as a boy, I watched the Mercury series of launches with my Dad and decided that I wanted to be an astronaut. However, I needed glasses and back then, it disqualified me from even thinking about it. In all honesty, I probably would never have had the nerve to actually travel to space but I love watching the stars and the movement of the different heavenly bodies around the cosmos; even to this day.

I have my own telescope and study the winter sky, thinking of the constellations as my old friends each December when they arrive. Sure, I watch the summer sky as well, but the air is so warm, that it is difficult to really see the sky without the heat disturbing the visuals that appear through the lens of my telescope.

The sun, during this past eclipse, was 400 times farther away from earth as the moon was. And… the sun is also 400 times larger than the moon. If you do the math, that means that the sun and the moon appeared to be exactly the same size – and that is how it seemed Monday afternoon when the eclipse started. I just can’t believe that this is all random. What we saw was an awesome display of the sense of order that God brought to creation. Thus wasn’t some fluke… this was God’s handiwork in full view for all of us.

The the sky started to darken and the geese in the lake behind our home came up on shore, quietly laid down, curled up and started to head to sleep. The birds stopped singing, the wind picked up, the hues of color changed and we even experienced our automatic lights come on to illuminate the driveway and front of our home. Oh, and the temperature dropped at least 10 degrees as darkness set in.

I don’t even know what I thought it would be like – but it was remarkable and did not disappoint. In all honesty, I don’t think that I would travel to a distant destination to observe it, but how can you beat perfect weather, no clouds, family and friends breaking bread together – all in our own driveway. And the wonder of actually experiencing a total eclipse of the sun. It was surreal.

Some of our family members ranked it as one of the best days they have experienced – ever! We were blessed to have our three children and only missing one of our grandsons, in addition to other family members and close friends. None of us will ever forget the events of the day.

Yes, I was tired afterwards… dog tired… we cooked, smoked a mountain of food and then cleaned up everything after it was over. We couldn’t have done it without much help. But that’s where families pitch in to help one another. It all happened so quickly that I am a little sad that it is over. Sometimes, we go overboard in trying to explain or even understand what has happened. I usually find myself at a loss for words when things of this magnitude happen. I have decided that simpler is better.

So… our verse for tonight is the introduction to the Bible – a deceptively simple verse that hardly gives us a glimpse into the complexity of God, His love story with us and lessons He teaches His people. Moses, the author of the Pentateuch, starts his teaching of the people of God with the first verse in the Scripture. Moses tells us, in Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth…”

Of course, Moses goes into the entire creation story, but the first line introduces the Israelites to the fact that God created everything in the entire cosmos – the heavens and the earth… And we know from John’s Gospel that God created it “ex nihilo” – from nothing! How magnificent is that!

My encouragement this evening is that the heavens and earth were created by God to be in communion with us. We, through the sin of Adam and Eve, found ourselves separated from God; however, the rest of the Bible recounts the process through which we are reunited for eternity with God through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.

My prayer this evening is that we will let the magnificence of God and His creation wash over us without explanation. That we will revel in our relationship with the Father and His Son. And that we will continue to be energized by nature – one of God’s spiritual pathways. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…

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