In August of 2017 much of the United States experienced a solar eclipse. For those along a narrow band that stretched across the country it was a total eclipse of the sun. Where we live in Florida about 80% of the sun was covered by the moon, enough to dim the sun’s light and diminish the August heat.
The solar eclipse mesmerized the nation. People were gazing upward at the sky instead of downward at their cell phones. Few people were pointing their cell phones at themselves for “selfies” and many were pointing them toward the infinite sky. There were exclamations of amazement, ooohs and aaahs, and applause. Strangers gathered in open places and celebrated together. For one day the heavenly spectacle distracted from the troublesome issues that plague this fallen world. It was good to look beyond ourselves.
The solar eclipse celebration was a reminder that we yearn for transcendence. We want to be amazed by something that’s truly amazing. Brother sun and sister moon provided a few such transcendent moments in their sibling rivalry of a race across the sky.
Solar eclipses happen very infrequently, but that doesn’t mean we have to forsake an upward, transcendent gaze on a daily basis. We humans are so horizontally oriented; we need to go vertical more often! We spend so much time looking around at our problematic situations and looking down at other people that it’s no wonder life isn’t very joyous. How about a more frequent gaze upward?
Up is the direction we look to see the sun, moon, stars, sky, and clouds, but it’s also the metaphorical direction for focusing on the ultimately transcendent: God. Unfortunately, we’re so focused on all that’s dark and wrong and not right with our lives that our view of God is obscured resulting in a near total eclipse of the soul.
Ironically we found the alignment of sun and moon in the solar eclipse to be overwhelming, while we can so easily find God, who created the sun and moon and everything else in the cosmos to be underwhelming. We need to look upward again, but in a different way, focusing on the Creator rather than on that which has been created. Oh, and we can forgo the solar glasses when looking to God (they would provide absolutely no protection from the blinding glory of God, if He would choose to reveal Himself in such a tangible way). More than lifting eyes upward we need to turn our minds, imaginations, hearts, and souls upward, toward Him. Focusing on the solar eclipse was amazing but keeping our primary focus on God is even more amazing, changing our perspective on everything!
“I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven, and my sanity was restored.” (Daniel 4:34)