Total Eclipse


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August 23, 2017
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There’s a guy that sits outside of Macy’s and shouts about the end of the earth.  You know the type. He is wearing a 46 Regular suit, but he’s a 38 at most. He has a sweat stained baseball cap slightly off kilter. Perhaps he struggles with mental illness.

He has his own story to tell, and that would be a story worth hearing. But today the story he is telling is about human existence coming to a divine stop. It’s the end of the road, and we’re all in trouble. Usually, I would roll my eyes and keep on walking. But today he is making too much sense.

Apocalypse apologists have some good material this week.

Nuclear annihilation hasn’t seemed this possible since at least the Cold War. North Korea is making all manner of threats. Their threats are met by larger and louder threats from our Commander in Chief.

There are torch-toting groups trying to chip away at the value of human life. These groups are actively and openly ascribing to ideas that would essentially end the existence of 90% of the human population.

Perhaps the most imminent threat to our existence is the warming climate which has caused sea-levels to rise as the ice caps melt into the oceans. You can blame the government or natural causes or a century of un-checked Western industry pumping carbon into the atmosphere, either way, the water is rising.

Oh yea, and Monday, the sun was blotted out. “The sun will be turned to darkness,” Joel said, “and the moon to blood, before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.” Peter said it too, in his sermon at Pentecost.

So, yea, I paused for a second when I heard this man telling me that the end was nigh.

The eclipse may have been a portent of doom in another age. But on Monday, the moon passed in front of the sun and it was…awesome. Everything felt small. For a brief second, America was motionless. We looked up and saw the sun dissolve. We watched the shadow of the moon race across the face of the earth at a thousand miles per hour until it covered us, and people screamed.

The heavens are telling the glory of God, yes. And as we listened to their story on Monday, everything was put in perspective. Some things don’t matter. Many things do. In a strange way, the eclipse reminded me to distinguish between the two.

On Monday, we planted our feet in the reality of our tiny-ness. We stared like dopes into cereal boxes and walked around with cardboard over our heads because our eyes cannot handle the brilliance of 1% of the sun. Even the man in the over-sized suit outside of Macy’s couldn’t help but be silent for a second.

About the Author
  • Caleb Schut is the associate pastor at Grace Chicago Church in Chicago, IL. He graduated from Western Theological Seminary in 2016. In addition to his work at Grace Chicago, he runs a non-profit called Beautiful Response that he and his wife started to partner with leaders in Uganda and Haiti.

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