On Monday, Aug. 21, the moon will pass between the earth and the sun. For a time the sun’s light will be blocked by the moon. This is the solar eclipse about which we have heard so much.
I have found myself remembering the book by 20th century Jewish theologian Martin Buber entitled, “The Eclipse of God.” Buber makes the point that just as the sun is still there even though temporarily its light is obstructed, so also there are times in our lives when God may appear to be absent. What is actually happening is more like an eclipse. God is still there. But something has come between us and God. That something may be tragedy, suffering, sin, or discouragement. It may also be something outside of us. Buber was German and lived during the time when Jews were being brutally murdered in gas chambers by Hitler and the Nazis. Such massive inhumanity can lead many to experience “the eclipse of God.”
As those around us pay attention to the eclipse of the sun, let us, the United Methodists of South Georgia, pay even closer attention to those who are experiencing their own personal eclipse: the eclipse of hope, of meaning and purpose, the eclipse of God.
Just as Monday’s eclipse does not mean that the sun has died, so also our own experience of the eclipse of God does not have to be permanent. God is still there. What those around us need is the opportunity to experience the light of God shining forth in the words and actions of those who are followers of the Light of the world. With the painful scenes of violence that are fresh on our minds, this week is the best time to speak the words and take the actions that bring down dividing walls of hostility so Christ can be our light and our peace.