I recently witnessed my first total solar eclipse. It swept over Nashville in full regalia, drawing locals and travelers out into fields and up onto rooftops to witness what everyone was calling a once-in-a-lifetime event. The next total eclipse where I live will occur on August 15, 2566 — sadly, I have plans to be dead. My friend, Mary Katharine, called me the morning of the big event to give me a solar eclipse pep talk. Knowing I was busy and scattered she rightly implored me, “Pay attention to what’s happening today. The Lord went to a lot of trouble to make this happen for us.” She was right. The heavens declare His glory, and I best lay my trifling concerns aside and look up.
My sister-in-law’s parents, Jim and Lin, flew in for the occasion. Jim is a space enthusiast, which worked out great for me because this meant he pretty much took care of all the preparations. He staked out our spot in the field four hours beforehand, secured our NASA glasses, spread out refreshments on a picnic table, and most importantly, procured the Moon Pies®. When a once-in-five-hundred-years event comes to town, I recommend partying with the experts.
Up until this day, I’d witnessed one or two partial eclipses. But nothing could prepare me for the phenomenon that is the moon fully blocking the sun. The difference between a shaving of sunlight and none at all is starker than you might imagine. In Nashville, totality was reached at 1:27 p.m., lasting nearly two minutes. In the precious hour leading up to this moment we witnessed the moon steadily slide across the sun until a burning red crescent was all that was left, then a mere sliver, then total blackout. For one minute and fifty-five
We threw off our glasses and for a short duration beheld the spectacle unfiltered. Bare-eyed I saw the Bailey’s Beads Effect, the flecks of light that pass through the moon’s mountainous terrain. I saw the corona waltzing around the edges of the moon’s disc. My nephew, Will, thrust his fist
I don’t know what it is about our daily concerns, the harried running to and fro, even the formidable persistent trials that keep us from worshipping the Creator of the universe. Too often, I take for granted that the Lord fashioned the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land, the mountain peaks and rainforests, the moon, sun, stars, and the solar eclipse. This is the same Lord to whom David exclaimed, “What is
The moon continued to plod west to east, pausing not nearly long enough for us to begin to comprehend what we were seeing. Just like that, the sun’s rays slipped out from behind the other side of the moon. By 3 p.m. the eclipse was over. But the magnitude of what we’d all witnessed, the display of God’s splendor, would remain with me forever. Our false gods may promise the world, but our God created it, sustains it, and rules over it. And no other god can do that.