Have you purchased your special sun glasses? Are you ready for the eclipse? The big event of the moon passing between sun and earth is coming Monday.
Last summer was the first I had heard about the big solar event of 2017. Even then, a whole year in advance, the hospitality industry was gearing up for this unique opportunity. Eclipse watchers are saying Wyoming is the place to be. Of course, no one needs to tell us Wyoming is the place to be. We know.
In contrast to the rest of the animal kingdom, we humans have some understanding as to what will be happening in the universe during an eclipse. The moon briefly blocks out the sun casting a shadow upon the earth. From a dove’s perspective or the doe’s perspective, there must be the ominous thought of danger mixed in with confusion as darkness imposes itself on expected daylight.
I suspect for our ancient ancestors such a cosmic event was cause for concern. Fortunately, for us, we have enough insight to know an eclipse is not the end of the world. Instead, we see it as an opportunity to explore the mysteries of the universe, to learn something more about God’s mysterious creation.
Religion and science are quick to point out that human beings are late players in the evolutionary scheme of life. Our earliest ancestors had to live in an extremely scary world, hiding in caves, constantly on the alert to seek shelter from dangerous threats; yet, today, we sit at the head of the table at the top of the food chain. Such high status easily gives us permission to overestimate our importance.
Viewing this eclipse is one more opportunity to confirm that we are prone to think more highly of ourselves than we ought. We all enjoy our position of high privilege. As much as we like to think we are in control, the earth turns without our consent, the sun shines without our permission and the moon casts a brief shadow to remind us that there are powers greater than human self-centeredness, which holds up all of life in this wonderful and mysterious universe.
What a treat to see this eclipse from our backyard. It will be a humble reminder that we are not master of the universe. For those who seek to know the power behind the celestial power that moves the universe forward, the cross of Christ reveals a glimpse of that power beyond and behind creation power as our benevolent God. Creator of the universe. Author of life. Redeemer of our soul. Sanctifier of all life. Enjoy the cosmic show.
Doug Goodwin serves as pastor at First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in downtown Sheridan.