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THE BLOG by Pastor Rick Vale
Thoughts on the April 8, 2024 Solar Eclipse, as seen in Anderson, Indiana

No one produces a show like our God. It was a spectacular hour and a breathtaking few minutes Monday during the total eclipse of the sun, over Indiana.

We sat out with our neighbors, donned our ever-so-chic and safe, government-approved shades, ate chips and popcorn, watched, and waited.

We checked the status of the sun with our shades on and watched as our neighborhood moved to twilight. We saw birds return to their nests as all around us shadows deepened to a magical dusk…slowly those birds stopped chirping.  The “sunlight-activated” lights on the outsides of our condos blinked on…and in a moment, it was dark…and incredible.

In the distance we heard the cheers of crowds gathered close by, someone begin setting off fireworks.  It was a moment. 

A memory from 1980 came knocking about that time and I was back in May of that year, another time when the sun “went out”. That time, however, what was going to happen next was unknown…the government closed everything down and ordered people home. It was a Sunday, and many congregations were ordered home. Mount St. Helens had erupted, and a sickeningly black and boiling cloud of ash was crossing the state of Washington. No one knew what to expect. Was the ash poisonous? If it rained would the rain be acid? What would happen in the dark. And it got dark, really dark.

I was wondering, last Monday, if that time in 1980 was a bit like those people long ago who didn’t expect an eclipse and faced an unknown without precedent but filled with fear.

As this entire memory passed through my mind in an instant, I was snapped back into the moment by the cheers of my neighbors and the distant crowd when suddenly a spark of light caused the sun to look like a diamond ring. I saw it, brilliant against a dark sky, without my government-approved shades, and then put them on to see what an infinitesimal sliver of sun had peeked through.

Yet looking around it was suddenly, noticeably, brighter. The “diamond ring” itself was stunning, but the fact that so little light could have such a grand effect on the earth was what struck me.

I immediately felt/heard The Spirit remind me about the power of light, and how little light it takes to change the landscape. Names started passing through my mind. Aside from the obvious, Jesus of Nazareth, there was: Paul of Tarsus, Rosa Parks, Oskar Schindler, Martin Luther King, Jr., Johann Sebastian Bach, Moses, Michael Faraday, Wolfgang Mozart, Todd Beamer, John Newton, Thomas Jefferson, Edward DeVere…and on and on. Solitary lives, some well-known and some not so well-known, who stood up to darkness and/or changed the world for the better because of their “single light”.

How little light it takes to change the landscape of the world. 

I frequently hear people remark, with a sense of futility, that there is “nothing I can do” when faced with so much darkness. I would hope that I’ve remembered to remind them how much change has come (for good AND bad) to entire civilizations because of the actions of one person.

Jesus is speaking to a “crowd of individuals” not groups of congregations when He says: “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt should lose its taste, how can it be made salty? It’s no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled on by men. You are the light of the world. A city situated on a hill cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and puts it under a basket, but rather on a lampstand, and it gives light for all who are in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.” MATTHEW 5:13-16

How little light it takes to change the landscape of the world.