Pastor’s viewpoint: May 5, 2018

Published 1:41 pm Saturday, May 5, 2018

Just after the first of this year, I heard there would a total eclipse and the centerline of totality would cross northeast Georgia. We have a small cabin south of Clayton and so we made plans to be there for the eclipse. We drove up Sunday afternoon after church for the eclipse on Monday and it’s a bit hard to describe except to say, “It was almost everything we imagined and more.” I say “almost” because I thought it would be totally black at some point, but it was not. I add “more” because it was so much more compelling than I’d thought.
We got the boat ready, but at the last moment, decided to simply stay on our dock and watch the eclipse from there. We watched it until about 90 percent of totality when a large cloud covered the sun. Then we noticed the sun across the lake and ran for the boat. Crossing the lake, we found a great place to watch the remainder of the eclipse. It grew darker and darker and, during the last few moments before totality, the temperature dropped and the mountains and water around us took on an oily green tint … we, and several others later, said it was “eerie” and “spooky.” That’s the more, and suddenly there was a large black circle in the sky with a golden ring around it. We took off our glasses and sat in awe of God’s universe!
“After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light.” (Matthew 17:1-8)‬‬
Social media was filled with speculation that this eclipse was a sign from God announcing some divine event. They are likely wrong, although it is a sign from God about the creation and stability of the universe. According to NASA’s Eclipse Web Site, “During the 5,000-year period from -1999 to +3000 (2000 BCE to 3000 CE), Earth will experience 11,898 eclipses of the Sun. The statistical distribution of eclipse types for this interval is as follows: 4,200 partial eclipses, 3,956 annular eclipses, 3,173 total eclipses, and 569 hybrid eclipses.”
If we can record and predict eclipses over 5,000 years, it seems rather obvious that an intelligent mind created this universe … that’s the sign!

Charles “Buddy” Whatley is a retired United Methodist pastor serving Woodland & Bold Springs UMC and, with Mary Ella, is a missionary to the Navajo Reservation in Arizona.