What the Upcoming Eclipse Reveals About Us

A Once in a Lifetime Event

“Are you going to go see it?”

If you were to ask that question to a random person walking down the street here in Vermont, without any context, they would immediately know exactly what you were asking about.

The upcoming total solar eclipse.

There are various kinds of eclipses. We viewed one from our front drive way a few years ago. But a total eclipse is rare. The last one in Vermont being recorded in August 31st, 1932.

For this event, Vermont is expected to be flooded with visitors. Estimates have been given of two to three hundred thousand people this weekend, coming to watch from the shadow. For Vermont, this is a huge number of people. The whole state only has about 630,000 residents.

Everyone here is talking about it. My kids’ school was giving away eclipse glasses last week. While typing this post, my phone buzzed. It was a local friend asking: “Plans for the eclipse?” I scroll through Facebook and every other post it seems has something to do with the eclipse. Some social media posts are people asking about the best spots for viewing. Others are just annoyed because for a few days traffic is going to be a nightmare. Some are suspicious about the event because of governments urging people to stock up on goods for a couple of weeks and some states closing grocery stores. A few see apocalyptic significance in the event.

The Wonder and the Spectacle

Why all the fuss about this event?

Vermont.gov has dedicated a page to the event. At the top it says:

Start planning to view the next solar eclipse in Vermont. Vermont’s location within the 2024 total solar eclipse’s path of totality makes it a good place to take in the wonder and spectacle of this natural event.

See www.vermont.gov/eclipse

People are coming “to take in the wonder and the spectacle.”

Human beings are wired for wonder and spectacle. We long for greatness, to be awed. The hundreds of thousands coming to view the eclipse are proof.

We were made to bask in glory. Our hearts long to be overcome with beauty and greatness. This is what is at the heart of our deepest longings—meaning, purpose, love, beauty.

Yet, ironically, we cannot even look at it without aid. The glory of the sun is so great that even when a total eclipse is happening, you should not look upon it. One can only look at the sun with special glasses.

Likewise, the Scriptures teach us that we cannot look upon God and live (Exodus 33:20, also 1 Timothy 6:15-17).

Only with aid can we “see” God. God is too great and too glorious and we are too sinful and too weak to behold him.

It is only through Christ that we can truly “see” God. Jesus Christ, the God-man, is the solar filter we need to behold God.

The total eclipse is whispering to us. It reveals to us that there is greatness outside of ourselves that we all long to behold, yet we cannot view it or participate in it without help.

If you view the eclipse this week, it will only be with solar glasses.

Remember Jesus.

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