Monday, August 21, 2017

Thoughts on the eclipse

Some thoughts on today’s eclipse-

I decided I wanted to see it in totality, and since Florence had only around 99%, I had to go somewhere else. Cathy and I scoped out the Santee Indian Mound a couple of weeks ago, went at the same time as today’s event. Found it to be perfect. Traffic down I-95 was crowded, but never bad. Can’t say the same thing for coming back. Cathy and I decided to take the back country roads home. It gave us time to talk about the eclipse and other things.

If you haven’t been to the Santee Wildlife Reserve and Indian Mound (and Fort Watson), and you live in the area, it’s worth the time. Maybe not in the heat of the summer, but it is a great place. We figured it would not be crowded, and honestly, it wasn’t. There were several hundred people spread throughout the reserve, but no place really crowded. Before the eclipse started, it was fairly quiet and peaceful. There were people talking, children playing, a few dogs running around. There was no loud music, no drinking, just folks getting to know each other. We were from all over the east coast- Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, New York. People were sharing stories of how they got there, about other things to see and do in the area, and sharing glasses, solar binoculars, and solar telescopes. We were all different ethnicities, and probably a wide variety of political persuasions, but none of that mattered. We were there to see something magnificent up in the sky. What united us was greater than what divided us.

The sky started out cloudy, but by 1:30 it was clear blue! We watched as the moon made its way across the sun. Right before totality, maybe 3 seconds before, when we could see the first diamond ring- which we had been talking about- the crowd moaned with delight. Then when totality came, everyone cheered. You could see three streams of gasses coming out from the corona, just about equally spaced around the sun. To the north west we could see a few stars. Cathy pointed out one of things I had not thought about- for 360 degrees, a full circle, the clouds reflected the sun like it does at dusk. Those red clouds that we usually see only in the west, were all around us. The temperature cooled down about 20 degrees, and it was like an early evening gathering with some close friends.

We watched the diamond ring show up again 2 minutes and 36 seconds later. As the sun started showing up again, everybody broke into singing George Harrison’s Here Comes The Sun. Seems like everyone knew it. We were smiling, shaking hands, talking about how good it was to be there. I’ve been in a few worship services like that. It changes your heart.

Of course, the traffic was horrendous getting out. What was easy coming in was a parking lot going out. But that was okay. We were all taking our time, letting each other in the line, talking to people on the side of the road, offering water and soft drinks to people, wishing them a good trip home. Some even talked about trying to make it to Carbondale in 2024. We will see.

As Cathy and I drove home, two thought came to me. The first is the opening lines from Psalm 19-

The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the handiwork of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words;
no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.

And the second was this- what united us was greater than what divided us.

God, that it would always be so, I prayed.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Jesuses Resurrection

We have a large whiteboard in one of the hallways at church. We put it up several years ago and asked people to write on it things they were thankful for. For a long time, people did that. You would walk by and see where folks had written things like God’s grace, my family, trees, food, and laughter. You would often see them name of someone that a person was thankful for.

Lately, that’s been dying down. Not many people are writing things on the board. The newness has worn off.

Except for our children.

And they write on it every day. They draw pictures, scribble lines, and just mark it all to bits. And they write whatever is on their hearts and minds.

Like today’s photo. They have been learning about the death and resurrection of Jesus. They have learned songs and made crafts that express it. And one of them wrote what he or she was thankful for- “Jesuses Resurrection.”

They have learned how to spell resurrection correctly, but haven’t learned about the singular possessive of a noun that end with ‘s’.

But I’ve been thinking about this.

If Christ is in us (1 Corinthians 1:27), if we are the Body of Christ (1 Cor. 12), if because Christ lives, we too shall live (John 14), then maybe that little child had it right. We are “little Jesuses” and we too will live! I am thankful for Jesuses resurrection, too!

Friday, March 24, 2017

“By God, Excalibur!”

I’ve been thinking about how to live in these contentious days. It does not seem to be getting easier to be a civilized person. And to be a follower of Jesus during all the hatred that is coming from the highest of offices is quite a challenge.

As I was praying this morning, I remembered a drawing that I have yet to hang up in my new home. (We’ve not hung any pictures yet.) Thirty years ago I met an artist in Hendersonville who did wonderful works with crayon and ink. She made a drawing for me of my favorite quote from Camelot (based on the book The Once and Future King, by T.H White). Here’s the quote:
“By God, Excalibur, I shall be a King! This is the time of King Arthur, and we reach for the stars! This is the time of King Arthur, and violence is not strength and compassion is not weakness. We are civilized! Resolved: We shall live through this together, Excalibur: They, you and I! And God have mercy on us all.”
Violence is not strength and compassion is not weakness! I love it!

Excalibur was the mighty sword Arthur drew from the stone. What if we decided that our Excalibur would be the “Word of God” (see Ephesians 6:7), and that Word is Jesus (John 1)? Could we live empowered by the Spirit, so that we faced this world with compassion? Could we actually be different from the prevailing crowd?

To quote Arthur from another movie, “It is a dream I have….”