Eclipse Protection

If I have my facts straight, only the U.S. will experience a total eclipse of the sun on August 21. People are planning Eclipse Parties, buying special glasses, and doing all sorts of eclipse-related things. Some schools are beginning the school year a day or week later in order to avoid harm to students’ eyes. I even saw a piece on the news about whether one should protect the eyes of their pets. Our church is going to give out 200 pairs of approved Eclipse Glasses along with our nice Bookbag Tags on Backpack Sunday. Fortunately or unfortunately, I will be on my last overseas mission trip of the year, and will be in the Philippines.

I’ll miss the whole thing, except for the fact that I figuratively or literally experience eclipses on a daily basis. I think most of us do! The word “eclipse” is from Greek, ek or “out,” and leipein or “to leave.” There are things that I “leave out” every day. Sometimes it’s God. Very often, it’s people. I face issues, difficulties, opportunities, adventures and oftentimes put the object of my worry or affection in between God and me. I am also blind to the needs of others due to my priorities. Just like the moon is between us and the sun, there are things between us, God, and others. This fits another definition of “eclipse” – “to obscure, to block out; to deprive someone or something of significance, power, or prominence.”

Haven’t we deprived God and others of their true significance, power, or prominence? Since this eclipse is a solely American event I can’t help but ponder the way that we as a nation have set up idols to block our view of God and people. When we say the Pledge of Allegiance at our Monday Rotary meetings, I have found myself cringe occasionally at the part that says, “With liberty and justice for all.” Does everyone truly have liberty and justice?  As a nation we have allowed Jesus to be eclipsed. The moral fabric of our nation has been eclipsed by our penchant for all things self-centered.  Our individualistic tendencies have overtaken community, bi-partisanship, and teamwork.

I saw these words on the locker-room door at Spartanburg Methodist College about a week ago: “If you’re not prepared to put the team first, turn around.” From Congress, sports teams, churches, and marriages, we must stop letting our egos overshadow and eclipse God and others. Oh, how we have deprived the capital “S” Someone of significance, power, or prominence. We have done the same with others. Last year at St. John’s UMW’s Apple Fest fundraiser, we had some items that we wanted to give to a local charity. They drove their truck under the overpass between buildings and got stuck. No one knew exactly what to do. I can’t remember who figured it out, but there is a lesson for me, maybe all of us, when we get so full of ourselves that we get stuck and can’t see God or anyone else. The solution was to let the air out of the tires! I need to let the air out of my ego.

As a nation and community, as individuals, we can learn from this solar eclipse. There are people in darkness because we want things our way or the highway. We must quit our posing and finagling to get our way. The story of three Holstein cows comes to mind. They were tired of their black and white lives, looking the same day in, and day out. They found some purple paint, and had a blast rolling around in it. They were covered in purple paint. Their owner was impressed and thought about charging people admission to his barn. One day, however, when the cows were out in the pasture, it rained. All the purple paint was washed away. No more pretense, no more all show and no dough.

The Sun will come out after the eclipse and we’ll see clearly again, too. I Thessalonians 5:4 is instructive about August 21 and every day: “But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness.” Ephesians 5:8-11 also says it well: “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.” My Dad’s favorite passage is hard to beat, too: “So let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16).

Eclipse Photo

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5 thoughts on “Eclipse Protection

  1. As I understand it – there’s only a small portion of the states where they can safely view the Total solar eclipse without glasses for a small window of time (barely 2-3 minutes), for the vast majority of us – we’ll be able to see the eclipse, but we’ll miss out on the same fine detail and must have eclipse glasses or else risk our vision. I’m an hour or so away from the area that’s expected to be in the path of totality … and I’m hoping to have a small road trip that day. But if I can’t, I still have some solar glasses so that I can see it in action – safely.

  2. Dr. Tim:
    As is always, your messages are very clear and to the points. The above “Eclipses Protection” reminded me of the 32-years that I was a City of Boston Firefighter, Officer and Chief Officer. I saw numerous Firefighters whose egos grew larger as they were elevated in the rankings from FF-private to LT, Captain and Chief Officer. Their personalities changed as they were no longer “one of the boys.” Others did not let their egos get out of hand and were well liked in the ranks. Yet, when that proverbial bell rang out, summoning Firefighters of all ranks to an emergency, all pulled together to save lives and property in the face of the dangers at hand until the goals and objectives were reached. The danger that we faced were “eclipsed” by that danger. After the danger was squelched our personalities returned to normal in the bright light of….ourselves.

    I look at the coming eclipse as no big deal. It is being hyped to nth degree by the news media, advertisers (for money) and by each other. Local and state governments are declaring “states of emergency!” Schools are closing or, keeping students inside to protect their vision. Now, protecting children’s vision is surely a fine idea. We are all urged to purchase special eye-wear for protection and to better see this eclipse. Thought: What happens if areas that would see the eclipse were covered in clouds? Have a nice bright day!

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