Heaven’s stars and constellations won’t show their light.
The sun will be dark when it rises;
the moon will no longer shine. -Isaiah 13:10
The kids are ready with their backpacks, lunch sacks, cereal box viewers, and Moon Pies. Yes it’s the first day of school here but it’s also eclipse day everywhere!
The Bible makes several references to the phenomenon we will see today: the total darkening of the sun by the moon. Scripture usually speaks of the darkening of the sky as an act of God that proceeds God’s judgment and consummation of creation. In the New Testament’s gospels we also hear about an eclipse-like event at the crucifixion of Jesus, when the sky turned dark from noon to 3pm. His death is a cosmic event that changes all of creation. Other religious traditions offer various interpretations of eclipses.
To me, a spiritual meaning of the eclipse today is in the headlines. Headlines that carry news of division, terrorism, war, corruption- rarely good news. But today all of the headlines are: “Worldwide View of Total Eclipse” and “Half the World Will Watch the Sun”. For a few moments, together we will recognize that we share a planet and a universe. Right wing and left wing; Shia and Sunni; White and Black; Poor and Rich; East and West. How we need cosmic events, not to warn of impending doom, but to draw us out of our self-made echo chambers and into the all-encompassing light (or dark!) of day.
Somehow the eclipse reminds me of when I would need to be up at 3am to feed our infant children. I was so sleep deprived. I would stumble over to the crib. But some wizened mother had told me at that moment, to think of all of the mothers up feeding their babies all over the world. I’d settle in to the rocking chair and let my mind wander to Tanzania and Sasketchewan and the Philippines and think: surely there are millions of women with me now.
There are 6 billion people in this planet with you today as you view (safely!) this eclipse. Be encouraged. Be untied. And witness this act of God!