The Greatest Historical Eclipse
by Rector Jim Murphy
Writing on the morning of what has been titled, The Great American Eclipse, it is yet to be determined how it turned out. Will it be spectacular? Will it be a dud? Will the weather, as that regards viewing the “event,” cooperate? Will the predicted droves of eclipse “totality” seekers show up? Only time will tell. But, however it turns out, it will pale in comparison to The Greatest Historical Eclipse of all time. And all of us should know about this whopper of an eclipse. For it was and remains the greatest, the most magnificent, we’re talking way beyond supercalifragilisticexpialidocious eclipse, of all human history.
Here is how The Greatest Historical Eclipse took place: At the beginning of creation, on the very first day, as God’s Spirit hovered over the chaotic, watery mess that was the substance of the universe, the Almighty called forth light. Mind you, this was not the sun, moon and stars, they came on day four. No, this light was the pre-incarnate Christ, the Light of the World. Jesus admitted as much in John’s gospel, chapter nine. When you read the creation story, you discover that this uncreated light eclipsed the darkness that reigned over the earth.
Sometime later, the first man and woman, Adam and Eve, decided to disobey the Lord who created them. They sinned. The first humans brought into specific relief the wretched human condition. Their sin represented the epitome of selfishness in arrogating unto themselves mastery over creation. They wanted to be in the driver’s seat of the world, to have the full knowledge and power of God. Therein they broke the single command of the Creator. Furthermore, in so doing, they brought a curse upon the human race wherein our selfish, sinful tendencies became part of the ongoing condition of humanity. In a manner of speaking, the sinfulness of mankind “eclipsed” the light of Father God, as the darkness of sin occluded the brightness of innocence.
Flash forward thousands of years and that uncreated Light that was Jesus the Christ at the beginning of creation, was born into the world. The almighty God who is everything good—light, love, mercy and especially forgiveness—could not allow our estrangement from His holy presence to abide forever. His love demanded a way forward. A way to overcome or eclipse, if you will, the dark effect that sin had upon our relationship with Him.
At the time of his Incarnation, Jesus again resumed the role of being the light of the world. The shepherds saw his light, so did the heavenly hosts, the wise men, and his human parents. Eventually, the Lord’s disciples, along with many others, recognized him as the Light of the World. The purpose of Jesus’ life was now in the process of accomplishing the the Father’s will: the reconciliation of sinful humanity with the holiness of the Almighty. God himself provided a path for us to transfer our citizenship into the kingdom of his Light.
The Greatest Historical Eclipse took place on a trash heap called Calvary some 2,000+ years ago. At the moment of his death it seemed as though darkness and sinfulness would be a permanent part of creation. Yet in less than three days, Jesus’ resurrection eclipsed that pseudo-reality. In the brightness of his resurrection, for the remainder of his ministry and to this day, the Lord himself stood/stands between sin and judgment for us. The Greatest Historical Eclipse the world can ever know was now a part of the history books. All that is required of us is that we make the decision to come out of the darkness, accept his divine eclipse, and step into the pure light of the world.