Yesterday I watched the complete solar eclipse coverage from coast to coast on CNN. As millions of people exclaimed with wonder and joy witnessing the spectacular celestial alignment, I couldn’t help but feel goosebumps.
It was a delight watching grown adults turn into literal star-struck children; tumbling over their words with half sentences and excited exclamations. I got emotional thinking that we, as Americans, needed an event like this. A moment of collective joy where we sat in wonder at the glory of nature, the universe, and our place in it.
Before the eclipse, there were a few conservative Christian leaders saying that the eclipse could be a judgment of God against the United States (here and here). That we should see this naturally occurring, entirely predictable, amazingly awesome moment as a dire warning of God’s anger and wrath being poured out on the United States.
Why is it that some brothers and sisters in Christ always see the possibility of a significant collective experience as only being a portent of evil and/or wicked? Is it negative attention seeking? Paranoia? Psychological “transference” onto others the anxiety of some personal issue?
I don’t know about those negative Christian leaders, but I do know it can be so tempting to be energized by bad news. Expecting the worst gave me something or someone else to worry about, instead of focusing on my own issues and anxieties. It is also a lazy way to get the adrenaline pumping. That’s not wisdom or a healthy way to operate in the world. It’s discouraging and could lead to “bearing false witness” which is also very unhealthy.
From my limited perspective, God blessed our nation and people with a collective joyful experience. The eclipse brought a blessing, not a curse. Wouldn’t it be great that when we think about the larger picture, we would assume the best and intentionally look for blessings and not lazily expect curses?
When I remember the eclipse of 8/21/2017, I will remember how the afternoon light got really weird. I remember the joy of hearing the kids having fun at the elementary school around the corner, excited adults acting like children on television, talking to Dan, and watching Anderson Cooper actually smile with joy for the first time in a long time while reporting the news. I will also remember saying a prayer of thanks to our Creator for this moment of joy literally sweeping across our country.
It was a great day and beautiful moment.