Tuesday, August 22, 2017

A Heavenly Phenomenon

        The sarcastic question of the morning was, “Did you see the eclipse yesterday?”  Of course I had to also reply with at least an equal measure of mockery, “Whaat!  There was an eclipse yesterday??”
                A lot of us, obviously (that’s kinder than “Well, duh!”), saw the eclipse yesterday.  We planned our days around it—been planning it for years!  At the bare minimum, most folks were at least prepared with those special glasses.  Some of us skipped that step.  On a grander scale, there were plenty of parties complete with thematic snacks of Moon Pies, Sun Drop sodas and shaded Krispy Kreme donuts.  Yes, right up there with Thanksgiving, the eclipse was celebrated with the easy opportunity to eat a lot and, hopefully, take a nap once it was all over.
                I’ve seen a couple eclipses before.  I knew the basics which I could expect.  Shadow and eerie light.  Crescent shaped projections in the shadows on the ground.  There had also been plenty of information from the experts on television and shared on social media.  Many people were well prepared about what to expect, how it would happen and why it would happen a certain way.  All of that, however, was only one big science project.  There was much more to see.
                In so many places, the eclipse was an occasion to have a party.  There were plenty of gatherings of friends.  Families got together and the eclipse became enough of a distraction that they didn’t even fight with each other.  It was interesting to me how an astronomical event revealed a more heavenly phenomenon.
                The party I went to was unplanned.  It just kind of happened.  Colleagues in the church office slipped out the back door into the courtyard.  We started watching together.  Some church members were already waiting for us, and more joined in.  We were in awe watching the moon passing in front of the sun.  We laughed at how silly we looked in our eclipse glasses, and then we made someone else take our picture wearing them.  We marveled at the shadows and the light.  Our experience of near totality was greeted with smiles and laughter… and fellowship.
                Back the clock up a little more than one day.  As First Baptist Church of Augusta gathered to celebrate their 200th anniversary, I coulnd’t help but notice how that happened.  A large crowd was anticipated.  I showed up expecting to see people selfishly  jostling for the good seats in the sanctuary and saving seats for their families and friends.  I even expected to see some folks in a huff that others were sitting in their spots.  I looked around.  I was blessed to see something different.  In the pre-prelude moments, I saw clusters of church people clogging up the aisles… visiting with each other!  Friends who hadn’t seen each other in a while were catching up, and hugging and taking photos together.  This was happening all over the room.  I pointed it out to my pastor who labeled what was happening with this beautiful and immediate deduction, “That’s what’s supposed to happen every Sunday.”
                It happened again on Monday.  As the moon was blocking out the sun, you couldn’t help but see the light of the world.


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