Today marks a historic event– the solar eclipse. For our nation, this will be the first coast to coast total eclipse in 99 years (1918). Additionally, it will be the first total solar eclipse of its kind for the US since 1776 when we became a nation. The path 67 miles wide from Oregon to South Carolina will leave us in darkness for minutes. I am ready and armed with my Nasa specific glasses and can hardly wait!
The Apostle Paul writes:
Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom… (I Corinthians 1:22)
The more I study Scripture, the more I realize that the vastness and depth of Scripture are beyond the capacity of our human minds to completely comprehend. We can spend years in seminary and apply hermeneutics, a discipline including written, verbal and non-verbal communication, to interpret Scripture. We can apply exegesis tools focusing primarily upon the word and grammar of texts in order to try and understand Scripture. Certainly, these things are very helpful. But even so, it is impossible to mine the depths of Scripture in its entirety. Paul explains to us that the Jews looked for signs from God and there were many. For example, the men from the east (the Maggi) saw the star in the east recognizing this as a sign about the King of the Jews being born.
We note also that mid-first century Roman historian Thallus makes reference to the darkness of the sun at the time of the crucifixion. Some believe this to have been a solar eclipse.
Are these random events or are they signs from God? Did the Jews have a better understanding of God’s intervention in our physical world?
As Christians, we mine the depths of Scripture and the more we learn, the more we see the natural world we live in lining up with Biblical events. And that brings me to our present solar eclipse. Is God giving us a sign just as He has in the past and if so what is He saying?
I have read countless articles concerning this and I have come to one conclusion. God is still on His throne and He is still saying in every way possible that His love endures forever and His purposes will stand. He is never changing, all knowing and deeply concerned for the people He created. He sees our nation as one created under God who has slipped from God but desperately trying to find our way back. He hears our prayers and He knows that apart from Him we cannot fix the state of the world. So perhaps He is sending a sign– a moment in time where we are in total darkness; time enough for us to think about a world without Him; time enough for us to ponder the beauty of light; time to recognize that total darkness — is a picture of life without God. And then…. the darkness breaks and is pierced by the light and once again we experience the sun rise.
Could it be that the solar eclipse is a sign from God that we need His light to shine in our dark times? Church, it’s time to pray for His light to shine. It’s time to remember that Jesus is the light of the world and He is the One who redeems and brings hope.