Eclipse

sun eclipse
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Eclipse means to hide, to conceal, cover or darken. It also denotes casting a shadow upon something. In the ancient Greek language, eclipse meant “to abandon.” This month, the earth’s moon will cover, conceal, and totally darken the sun in places on earth. In the United States, a total eclipse of the sun will occur on a path from Salem, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina.

A total eclipse of the sun which occurs close enough for our eyes to see is rare. This is because the moon is vastly smaller than the sun it covers in an eclipse. This means that a narrow band of the earth is the place where a total eclipse can be seen. Eclipses occur regularly on the earth. Three partial eclipses will occur in different parts of the world next year: February 15, July 13, and August 11.

The soon to arrive eclipse across North America has created significant activity in national media. An eclipse has always caused human excitement. Babylonian records recorded an eclipse 1600-1700 years before Jesus walked on earth, and scientists have used eclipses of the sun to learn about the relationship of the earth and sun in our solar system.

An eclipse is also beautiful and dangerous at once. Without safety protection for our eyes the concentrated solar radiation can burn the cells of our retina. Rather than taking the risk, there are many photographed images which can be safely viewed. These will do no harm to the eye. There is no hazard with a photo.

A total solar eclipse does not last long either. Sorry to rain on your picnic, but most  take a brief 7 minutes 31 seconds.

But, there is an infinitely greater reason to be excited about an eclipse of the sun. Do you remember the Greek word for eclipse means abandonment? Perhaps they exclaimed, “The sun has abandoned us!” It is possible to imagine the fear that could occur if it was thought the sun had ceased to shine on the earth. Life would cease. We all fear change, especially with things we do not control.

The Bible tells us that one day in the future, the current sun will cease to shine. There will be a new heaven and a new earth. Both the old testament and new testament speak of this. There are two words we pronounce the same: sun and son. The first sun will eclipse, it will someday be darkened. Read Joel 3:15. The second Son has walked as a man upon the earth. He was crucified on a cross on this earth. That day the sun was darkened for 3 hours not 7 minutes. Looking at Jesus will never harm you. Jesus died that all who believe in Him will not perish but have life everlasting! He made the sun. He directs the eclipse that is soon to come, and He does not abandon us. He will never leave us or desert us. There is no eclipse with Jesus! Enjoy the eclipse of the sun if you wish. Be safe, and be reminded the Son of God came so we would not be abandoned in our sin. Fix your eyes on the Son who is able to save and who does not blind you.

It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon…

Luke 23:44

More Than All

Socrates is considered a wise man. Perhaps he is best known for his gifted ability to question everything and everyone. Today we know it as the Socratic method.  The Socratic method of teaching is to ask question after question until students or readers arrive at their own understanding.

The method of Socrates can lead us to truth. Here are the questions:

  1. How much is abundantly more than all?
  2. If all is done what more can be done?
  3. Is there a limit to more than all?
  4. Do you know any human who can actually do abundantly more than all?
  5. Is “more than all” even possible?

Nature provides us with a specific example which can enable us to understand the truth, the answers to these questions. The natural world exists to point us to truth.DSC_0007_462_483sig(Beaded water on Indian-Grass)

Our example is the grasshopper. Specifically, Melanoplus bivittatus, or the Two Striped Grasshopper. The two-striped grasshopper is one species of more than 20,000 species world-wide. The two striped is the grasshopper with, as expected, two yellow stripes which run from their head to mid-wing forming a triangle. The ultimate habitat for the two-striped grasshopper is prairie. The two-striped is a herbivore, a plant eater. It eats flowers and grass. Flowers like Stiff Goldenrod and Monarda, and grasses like Indian grass and Big Bluestem find their way into the stomach of the two-striped. This grasshopper lives in a beautiful world. DSC_0020_464sig(Stiff Goldenrod)

DSC_0023_465sig(Soldier Beetle on  Gray headed coneflower)

DSC_0068_478sig(Ripening Indian Grass Seed)

In a prairie, there is always a harmonious balance. The eaters seldom overcome the plants. Plants dominate. But grasshoppers and their kind can and have overpowered everything. The over-abundance of grasshoppers and locusts is common in world history. Consider two. The first occurred in the United States. It is recorded in history as the grasshopper plague of 1874. In July of that year millions of Rocky Mountain locusts flew into the prairies of the Dakotas and all the way to Texas. By 1874 much of what had been prairie had been repurposed to become farmland growing wheat. This plague of locusts destroyed everything-even wooden tool handles!

The second plague occurred much earlier in human history. The setting was ancient Egypt. It is recorded in the Bible in the book of Exodus chapter 10. In this chapter, it is recorded that the locusts covered the entire country of Egypt and “darkened” the land, and after they were done eating, “not a single leaf was left on the trees and plants.”

Now, return with me to the first question: How much is abundantly more than all?

Few of us have ever seen a plague of locusts like that described in these two accounts. We realize that it must have been a natural disaster of the greatest magnitude, yet since we have never seen such a swarm of locusts, we cannot fully understand. But these plagues bring within sight of the truth. While these plagues contained millions of grasshoppers-neither were more than all. We can see the truth standing on the history of these locust accounts. No human could create the vast swarms contained in these plagues. No human could even make 1 grasshopper.DSC_0044_471sig(The Two-striped Grasshopper

God is our More Than All. He is able to do abundantly more than all. There is no limit to God. It is God who does “abundantly more than all.” This brings us to one of the greatest truths the human mind can consider. Since God is able to do abundantly more than all, like creating swarms of locusts and grasshoppers. Can God be abundantly more than all for you? What are your needs? What benefit would there be for you and I to trust ONE who is able to do abundantly more than all?  Does it help to know that this ONE who is able to do abundantly more than all so loves the world? The not so lowly grasshopper is just one evidence of the infinite powers of More Than All.

 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21

 

Unchangeable-Always Good

George Washington Carver (1864-1943)

My day began with thoughts about this man. George Washington Carver has long been one of my never met heroes. Of course, meeting him would be impossible, my birth came after his death. Regardless, he remains a man to look up to.

He was called the “plant doctor” from the time he was a young boy. It could be argued, that his understanding of plants has never been equaled by another human. He once said no book went into his laboratory with him and that “God alone drew aside the curtain” to reveal truth about the plants he was studying. He was a genius with plants, and he always gave God credit.

What continues to bring me to reflect on this man-even today-is his love for and trust in his eternal Heavenly Father. It would have been an honor to listen to George W. Carver speak, to speak with him and learn from him. Yet, today, you as you read, and I as I write, we can learn from Carver the truth that God revealed to him.

Reflect on Dr. Carver’s words as you begin your day, or as you conclude it and prepare for a night’s rest. “Our creator is the same and never changes despite the names given Him by people here and in all parts of the world. Even if we gave Him no name at all, He would still be there, within us, waiting to give us good on this earth.”

Carver knew of the eternal constant of God, that He is unchanged from eternity before to eternity after. Carver also knew that whether we claim there is no God, or attempt to say He does not exist; that God is always present, always God, always loving each one of us with perfect love. We cannot easily dismiss Carver’s words as trite.  These words came from a man who had studied creation in detailed ways few humans ever have. Carver knew God was Creator, he learned from God’s plants.

The writer of the book of Hebrews reminds us of this truth with these words: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8) We can believe Carver’s words about God, He “waits to give you good” today.george-washington-carver-393757__480[1]