Monday, August 21, 2017, millions of people will look to the sky. With anxious anticipation, they will wait for the moon to completely cover the sun. Depending on where you live in the United States, you could be in the path of complete totality ~ where you can view the entirety of the sun’s coverage by the moon. I am lucky enough to live in this narrow band, in Southern Illinois.
Monday, I will travel with middle school students and teachers to a “Solarbration” in a local city. There, wearing our special glasses, we will witness this spectacular cosmic event with thousands of other Americans.
Scientists say that moments before totality the moon casts strange shadows across the earth. Our own shadows are said to appear sharper than ever before. Animals behave strangely, confused by the appearance of nighttime. And for seconds before complete darkness, beads of the sun’s light illuminate a beautiful angelic halo around the moon, while wisps of solar gasses and light escape from behind it.
But darkness only lasts a minute or two before the light of the sun is revealed once again.
I have found myself thinking a lot about darkness lately. It is unfortunate that we live in a world where so much of it exists. The light of peace, kindness, and love appears completely blocked by hate, violence, and injustice. The darkness is unnerving. It is uncomfortable. It is scary. However, similar to the eclipse, it sharpens the appearance of our presence on earth.
I teach at a Catholic grade school. My principal ends each morning’s announcements with a call for all of the students and staff to “be a light to the world.” Our time on this earth can spread darkness or light, and I believe we all have the capacity to spread light.
Ephesians 5:7-14 says ~
Therefore do not be partakers with them; for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret. But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light. For this reason it says, ”Awake, sleeper, And arise from the dead, And Christ will shine on you.”
Whether your religion calls you to expose darkness and be a light to others, or your agnostic beliefs are rooted in goodness and justice, we can all learn quite a lesson from tomorrow’s total solar eclipse. May you shine bright and spread sunshine, my friends.
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” ~Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
~Think on These Things~