Is America’s Great Eclipse a Sign from God?

A reminder of humanity’s small part in God’s universe

One day last week, a strange pack of 3D-like glasses showed up on our kitchen counter, and I remembered that on Monday, I will be in the direct path of a total solar eclipse. Where I live in Columbia, SC, a city billing itself as “The Total Solar Eclipse Capital of the East Coast,” people will experience 2 minutes and 36 seconds of total solar joy.

Total solar eclipses are normal astronomical events that occur with surprising regularity. It is possible that Thales of Miletus was able to predict a solar eclipse in the 6th century BC; and modern astronomers can calculate their occurrences for millions of years in either direction, past or future. A total solar eclipse is visible from somewhere on earth almost every 18 months. Yet, most people may only come close enough to the thin trajectory to see this kind of eclipse once in a lifetime. The last total solar eclipse in the continental US was in 1979; the last transcontinental total solar eclipse was 99 years ago in 1918.

Yet, eclipses remind us that what is rare for most humans is simply a regular astronomical event to God. To people, the occurrence of an eclipse is like a thousand years, but to God its occurrence is like a day. Are they signs from God?

If so, it isn’t their irregularity that makes them special. Perhaps, it’s that God is working through the normal, natural cycle of our universe—ever-present, though not always noticed.

Total solar eclipses create spectacle whenever they occur. Though totally natural, they feel weird. Animals act strange, switching to a nighttime routine as the totality occurs, and eclipse chasers travel the world to see total solar eclipses whenever and wherever possible.

Communities all across the U.S. including churches …

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