Don’t look at sun; look at the Son

OK, is it over yet? You know — that newly-diagnosed disease called “Eclipse-o-mania” – has it passed?

Have you ever seen anything like it? People all over the country going ga-ga over a few seconds of darkness! I must admit, I was a bit flummoxed and flabbergasted over all the hub-bub about this solar eclipse. It seems that people were traveling all over the country to get into the path of the totality of the eclipse.

I heard about one family where the parents wanted their kids to experience it, so they drove over 15 hours from upstate New York to get to North Carolina to see it. They were there for a couple of hours prior and then almost immediately afterwards, they headed back to New York!

People were taking extraordinary precautions to make sure they did not look directly at the eclipse, whether they had purchased special glasses, or made homemade viewers from colanders and shoeboxes and the like. Some even purchased glasses for their pets!

Now lest you think I am totally NOT into the eclipse, let me tell you that I too went outside to see if I could possibly see some evidence of the eclipse where I live.

We were not in the direct line of the 2,500 mile-an-hour movement of this rare phenomenon; we were only supposed to get an 85% coverage! But I wanted to see if I could take a picture of it without looking directly at it – I had no plans of buying those glasses – but alas, all I got on my camera were normal shots of the sun.

It did get somewhat darker, though. I spoke with one of my friends in the Salem, Oregon area, one of the first areas of the country to get the totality of the experience.

He was talking about how he watched the whole thing first-hand and had a great view – right in front of his television set! I mean, who would want to fight all that traffic just for those few seconds!

Quite frankly, in these parts, there has been a lot of discussion about the eclipse and the whole issue of the judgment of God. Many people have wondered if this really is some sign from heaven regarding the last days or the fulfillment of prophecy or the like.

Over the years and in the past, people have often thought that things like eclipses were to be feared as a definite sign of the judgment of God. In fact, in February 1998, four members of a family in Haiti were found dead in their home the day after a solar eclipse passed over that island.

Apparently they had died from what police said was an accidental poisoning. Thousands of Haitians have held onto the superstition that an eclipse will blind or kill them. This family had been so filled with anxiety over the coming eclipse that they had overdosed on sleeping pills in an attempt to overcome their fears.

But suffocation was also a factor in that they had plugged all the openings in their home to block out the light from the sun!

Now I have not heard of anything like that in this country – yet! But I do know that there have been a variety of statements about eclipses and the judgement of God.

Anyone can go to the Scriptures and study the whole issue of the place of eclipses in biblical prophecy. I am indebted to my friend, Dr. Gary Gromacki, a Bible and Theology professor at Calvary University in Kansas City, Missouri, for his brief study on the subject.

After looking at various prophetic Scriptures on the subject, including Joel 2, Matthew 24, and Revelation 6, 8, and 16, Dr. Gromacki concludes his study with these words: “Whether these judgments are eclipses or supernatural darkenings of the sun that cannot be explained naturally it is difficult to determine. But Paul says that as believers in Christ we have been transferred from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light (Col.1:13). Jesus is the Bright and Morning Star and the coming King of Kings who will rule this world in righteousness and do away with all war and terrorism (Rev.22:16).”

We can get all excited about a momentary darkening of the sun, a phenomenon so rare that it perhaps may never again happen in our lifetime.

People will risk everything to look at it, or to avoid looking at it. But the greatest tragedy, unnecessary as it is, is that millions of people are still afraid to look at the Light of Life, Jesus Christ. “In Him (Jesus) was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.” (John 1:4-5)

The best solution to the darkness of our world is simply to look at Jesus. Bible scholar N.T.Wright explains why: “The [Person] who walks out of [the pages of the Gospels] to meet us is just central and irreplaceable. He is always a surprise. We never have Jesus in our pockets.

He is always coming at us from different angles … If you want to know who God is, look at Jesus. If you want to know what it means to be human, look at Jesus.

If you want to know what love is, look at Jesus. And go on looking until you’re not just a spectator, but part of the drama that has him as the central character.”

I know it sounds trite, but it is indeed true: Don’t look at the sun; instead look at the Son!

God bless…

Chuck Tabor is a regular columnist for the Times-Gazette and the News Journal. He is also the former Pastor of Port William UMC.

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Chuck Tabor

Contributing columnist