When Hope is Eclipsed, We Look Up

They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going… -Acts 1:10

I stood on the buggy church lawn, clutching a box with a pinpoint hole in the top, taking short glimpses at the sky through a pair of borrowed ISO-approved eclipse viewing glasses. August 21, 2017 – the day of the anticipated solar eclipse that would sweep across the country, causing millions to pack into cars and dare to enter the zone of totality. I hadn’t joined the wayfarers; I wasn’t close to the totality zone, but the “they” of the news and online science reports said we’d get an 80% view in Virginia.

It’s not every day that millions of people are staring up at the sky. Everywhere, people stood in backyards, along roads, and in office parking lots. People stared at the sky, held boxes and homemade contraptions, and kids ran around the legs of the adults. My brother in Charleston, SC texted me pictures of the “night” descending on their downtown. I scrolled through Facebook seeing black, white, Asian, Latin American, Indian, and African faces donning the same goofy glasses, taking the same photos of the same August sun hiding behind the darkened moon. I saw Republicans and Democrats, young people, elderly people, CEO’s, stay-at-home moms, teachers, landscapers, and pastors not just staring at the sky, but interacting with the people around them. Smiling. Being people, just people under a sun.

Just being.

For two minutes and forty seconds, we were unified in what we really are— earthly human beings who were created to get outside ourselves, look up, with a desire to be part of something bigger. Under Someone bigger.

The solar eclipse induced the dose of humanity we’ve been missing. The solar eclipse induced the dose of humanity we’ve been missing. Click To Tweet

After what has seemed like weeks and months where hate, bigotry, racism, white supremacy, and fear have touted the daily headlines, a darkened sun made us all look up. In looking up, we don’t deny what’s happened.

In looking up, we, as the Church, don’t stand motionless in our call to be harbingers of justice, salt and light.

In looking up and pausing from our work, we don’t put aside the hard work that healing and building and re-building relationships takes in such a time as this.

In looking up, we aren’t saying it’s time to move on to the next exhibit or that white supremacists are done their rallies or that the Church can now just shrink back to the safety of our buildings and predictable congregations.

It’s in looking up at an eclipse with millions of other image-bearers when we recognize we are all insignificant creatures with faulty vision, defective understanding, and overblown perceptions of ourselves, where the cosmos is concerned.

It’s in looking up in awe at a covered sun that we realize we are all insanely loved by a Creator-God who didn’t stay up in the sky but rather moved into the neighborhood as a Palestinian man.

It’s in looking up and around that we see beauty in the diversity standing on the sidewalks, at pools, in parks, on the city streets, and at the beach. It’s in looking up from the mess that we being to see—and appreciate– the dramatic difference light makes when it’s not hidden, when our humanness is celebrated, when we know who ultimately wins. It’s in looking up and around that we see beauty in the diversity of our humanity. Click To Tweet

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