What is it about weather events that brings us to a screeching halt and makes us aware of our finite being on planet Earth? Along with thousands, we made our pilgrimage to Marion, IL to see a 2:26 minute total eclipse while the phenomenon crossed the United States bringing glimpses of the moon covering the sun to millions. Tom Skillings, the WGN TV weatherman in Carbondale, was so overwrought with emotions—- he was moved to tears that rendered him speechless. Surprised by his reaction he said, “This has never happened to me before.”
Larry, my husband, said this is a lifetime event; we must go. Due to traffic, it was an eight hour trip both ways. We gathered together at the town square where we met people from as far as England to as close as our neighboring town, Lake in the Hills. Later, we met Dan, a Physics Teacher Assistant at the University of Chicago who had a wealth of cosmic knowledge. We all shared where we came from and why we traveled to this little town. Glenn, from Northern England, had the best photo set up having witnessed a complete solar eclipse in the 1960’s; the rest of us, using our solar glasses, were in a state of amazement as the moon ate up the sun causing the crickets to chirp and the street lights to turn on at 1:30 PM. We cheered, clapped, and some of us sobbed as we witnessed for the first time the diamond ring corona. We thought of ancient people who would sacrifice to a sun god to keep it burning. Someone suggested we sacrifice my 6’2″ Larry. Yes, as strangers we became instant friends, by teasing one other. But he said, “No, I’m too big. How about my slightly under 5’O” wife.”
On our way home, I thought of another time when night ate up the day. “At the sixth hour darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice. ” Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?”, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me” (Matthew 27:46)? At that moment, He carried all our sins on the cross and breathed his last while the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.
The darkness I experienced in the early afternoon reminded me of the darkness Jesus experienced on the cross as he paid the price for you and me with his own blood. I look at the brightness of the moon and feel the warmth of the sun and wonder why he loves me so much. Like the apostle James, I ponder. “For what is your life? For you are a vapor, that appears for a little time, and then vanishes away” (James 4:14).
But one day, because of his love, he will come for us; it will be like no other day. “The dead in Christ shall rise to meet him in the air. And then those that remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air” (1 Thessalonians 4: 16-17). Now there’s an experience and a reunion I don’t want to miss.