This Monday the continent of North America will have a rare front row seat to an eclipse of the sun, when the moon will silently, slowly pass between the sun and the earth for a few fleeting moments—a moment NASA is calling "one of nature’s most awe-inspiring sights" (https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/eclipse-who-what-where-when-and-how). How rare this moment? As it turns out, a solar eclipse occurs every 18 months somewhere on the face of this earth. But because 70% of the earth’s surface is water, most solar eclipses occur where there is no one below to witness them. Not so this time. For the first time in 26 years this nation will host this eclipse. In fact 12 million Americans are living in the 70-mile wide "band of totality," stretching from Lincoln Beach, Oregon, to Charleston, South Carolina, and will hopefully (depending on the cloud cover Monday) have the chance to personally witness that singular moment when day will turn to night.
And no, that band of totality does not include Berrien Springs, Michigan. But the good news is we will witness 84.86% of a total eclipse of the sun (with the partial eclipse beginning at 12:58:56 PM ET, the maximum eclipse occurring at 2:22:14 PM and the end of partial eclipse at 3:44:28 PM). If you’re going to be somewhere else, here’s a website to calculate the magnitude and times for the eclipse where you’ll be (https://www.space.com/33797-total-solar-eclipse-2017-guide.html).
So amateur astronomers that we all are, let’s meet beneath the heavens of our Creator on Monday afternoon and be awed with the clockwork precision and splendor with which He guides this universe. "The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands" (Psalm 19:1).
WARNING—DO NOT OBSERVE THE ECLIPSE WITHOUT PROTECTIVE EYE WEAR. Amazon has had to recall "eclipse glasses" sold through the internet because it has been unable to confirm this model of glasses was manufactured by a recommended manufacturer. Go to https://eclipse.aas.org/resources/solar-filters for a list of reputable manufacturers.
Let’s be honest. In this alignment of what to us earth children are the three most important heavenly bodies in the solar system, perhaps the universe—there is an awe of the mysterious, the mystique of Creation itself. I like the way Jeffrey Kluger put it in an essay for TIME: "Despite all the hype, the moon has nothing planned for Aug. 21.... The sun has nothing special planned either.... That’s how things go in the clockwork cosmos, and yet once in a while, there’s poetry in the machinery. Once in a while, the wheels click in synchrony and the indifferent universe offers up a rare spectacle... as the moon’s orbit crosses in front of the sun at the precise spot to eclipse its face and appear to snuff its fires" (TIME August 21, 2017).
"To eclipse its face and appear to snuff its fires" - do we do that, too, with the Sun of Righteousness, eclipse Him in front of others? How easy it is for me - by my careless words, my vain actions, even my private thoughts - to eclipse the face of Jesus. How careless of me to slip between someone else and the Savior, so I block the beam of glory Christ was hoping to shine into that person’s life at that very moment. Like the lightless, gloryless moon, I intentionally or accidentally inject my "self" into the picture and block what could have been a beautiful moment between God and that soul.
"I [GK ego] am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I [ego], but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me" (Galatians 2:20). Through this quiet daily confession, you and I can reverse the eclipse. Instead of ego eclipsing Him, let’s ask Him to eclipse us. Then no one will need protective glasses.