It’s been the topic of conversation for weeks now. People planned parties or traveled hours to find themselves in just the right spot. Specially designed sunglasses were sold out everywhere. The total solar eclipse that took place on Monday afternoon seemed to captivate nearly everyone from Seattle to Miami.
That is, until many Americans woke up Monday morning to thick clouds overhead. In some locations that were expected to be excellent viewing spots, instead there were thunderstorms and just the faint, dull glow of the sun behind the cloud cover. It dampened, if not totally eliminated, the intriguing effects of the eclipse.
Still others who weren’t dealing with poor weather conditions didn’t have the opportunity to witness this meteorological phenomenon because of their more distant location from the “path of totality” where the full eclipse took place.
And yet, throughout the day, from Stanley, Idaho, to Nashville, Tennessee, those who had some of the best views shared breathtaking images and fun pictures of what they witnessed. They channeled their excitement to make sure those outside the path got to experience even a little taste of the fun. No matter where you lived, you could feel included in the adventure by watching live videos shared online or hearing firsthand accounts of those who were close to the action.
Between my own brief glimpses at the sun (wearing the appropriate glasses, of course), it dawned on me that this national eclipse enthusiasm is a pretty perfect representation of what the Christian life ought to look like.
At any given moment, we may look up (or down or all around us), and feel as though we’re simply missing out. When it comes to our faith or a sense of God’s presence, our lives might feel more than a little cloudy, as though God seems strikingly absent. We are, at times, indifferent, frustrated, or disappointed with God.
And yet, in those very moments, we turn to those around us. The ones who can describe for us all the ways they see God doing incredible things in our lives—even when we can’t see it. We’re surrounded by what the bible calls “a great cloud of witnesses.” The ones who reflect the love and compassion of God when we feel distant from the One who is the source of all love. Our friends and neighbors, sisters and brothers in faith who carry the load during the times we’re unable to do so.
Whether we’re intrigued by an eclipse or in search of God’s peace, we give thanks for those who ensure we don’t miss out on either.
– Katy Warren, associate pastor