Total Meaning
Total Meaning

Total Meaning

Total Meaning

Seven years ago I walked into a meeting room to listen to our ministry leader give a monthly update. He said something along the lines of “This year I experienced one of the most profound moments of my life, in fact, apart from the birth of my children, it was likely the most profound moment.” What was it? A total eclipse of the sun. We were living in Little Rock at the time, not in the path of totality, and I didn’t care to take the drive up to Missouri, but after hearing this, I was sure we would drive wherever we had to this time.

For us, that ended up being Terre Haute, Indiana. There we could visit with some old friends, a pastor I attended seminary with, and also take in the eclipse. My favorite memory of the experience was my friend saying beforehand, “I don’t see what the big deal is. The sky gets dark. So what. That happens every night.” But when he donned his safety glasses and gazed upward, he was first to cry out “Wow! That’s incredible!” It wasn’t quite the life changing experience my former ministry leader had, but it did stand out for a few reasons:

  • It’s a national event that everyone was talking about. Most events that draw national attention have a negative bent (elections, tragedies), and yet this was a moment for everyone to enjoy simply asking, “What did you think of the eclipse?”
  • Everyone was out on their porches. How often does everyone come outside and talk with neighbors? Usually only on Halloween or during a power outage. Here there was a collective joy and intrigue.
  • Not only was everyone out on their porches, but they were all looking up at the heavens. I was reminded of Psalm 8:3-4 “When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained; What is man that You take thought of him, And the son of man that You care for him?” (NASB). Staring at the heavenly bodies puts our short lives in perspective.
  • Something so rare to us, the blocking of the sun in the middle of the day, is the natural result of God setting in place heavenly bodies that keep spinning in their path year after year. These motions are so precise and predictable that scientists can estimate the paths of eclipses hundreds of years in the future.
  • One reason we find the oddity of an eclipse so compelling is because of the break from the ordinary pattern of day and night that dictates the rhythm of our lives. We wake and sleep according to the motion of the sun and earth. Every day is driven by these motions. To break the pattern rightly causes us to pause and ponder the meaning of life.

Our Hearts are Meant to Worship

Our hearts are drawn to the heavenlies. We can’t help but look up at that which is greater than ourselves. We don’t worship the sun and moon, instead they serve as a reminder that One greater than any heavenly body set all things in motion. When the rhythms of life are interrupted, we pause and seek meaning and understanding. And, most importantly for those who follow Jesus, we turn to worship. Psalm 8 ends with our declaration: “O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth!”

I pray that as a church we look for meaning in what God is doing in our midst, week in and week out. When we see what seems to us like an interruption, a break in the pattern, rather than allowing that to turn to frustration, let’s consider our response to the eclipse, one of wonder and awe, and turn to God with a similar response of worship!

Photo by Eclipse Chasers 

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