Yesterday, the nation experienced the excitement of the solar eclipse, which was able to be viewed in totality in many parts of the country, and by everyone in the world on NASA’s official YouTube channel. Over 4 million people were logged on, and official data shows that the live stream of the eclipse on NASA’s servers accounted for 87% of all web traffic on federal government systems. People of all ages and backgrounds turned out and tuned in for this historic event!
Here in the Lehigh Valley, we didn’t experience totality, but at the moon’s peak above us, it obscured 85% of the sun. Though the midday didn’t turn to night in Lowhill Township, there was an unmistakable duskiness as the moon moved across the sun’s face. I watched through Eclipse Glasses and through pin-hole viewers, and am reminded now in retrospect of the language the Apostle Paul used long ago to explain the idea that here on Earth, we don’t yet see things as fully as we one day will. But that doesn’t mean these things aren’t worth looking at here and now. Even though our vision is limited, our vantage is always made better in community. Our life’s journey will have its moments of eclipse, but the sun will shine again. The darkness will recede. The light will not stay hidden nor will it be overcome. This is good news here and now.
It’s an interesting coincidence that the solar eclipse should also happen on the last meteorological day of Summer. For me and for many of you, Summer doesn’t officially end until after Labor Day, until after the livestock and homemade delicacies are shown and shared at the Great Allentown Fair, or until children begin another year at school. The movement of the moon and sun and stars reminds us that time continues to pass, and the order of universe reminds that it does so with a purpose. The heavens move in their courses, following ancient routes. Our lives are not so predictable, but they are held in the hand of the same Creator God who cares far more for each of us than for all the stars in all the galaxies in all the universe. This is good news here and now.
As fall approaches, we look forward to another season of renewal. We’re preparing for Rally Day (September 10), and we’re asking everyone to invite friends, neighbors, and loved ones to join with us in worship, celebration, and anticipation of the new courses God is setting for us as a family of faith. On September 20, I’ll be kicking off a new weekly Wednesday night Bible study for adults at 6PM. Our first course will look together at the different and diverse types of literature that comprise the Bible, why they’re important, and how they relate to us and our own stories.
On October 7, we’ll celebrate the beauty and bounty of Fall with our Lowhill Fall Festival Community Yard Sale and Car Show, another great opportunity for fellowship with one another and with our community. Speaking of fun and fellowship, our third Penny Party for 2017 is set for October 20, and we’re organizing a Chicken Pot Pie dinner for November 11.
This has been a fun and fruitful summer together. Our outdoor services, picnics, and Vacation Bible School program have given us great times and great momentum heading into the “church year.” Please continue to be a part of this journey of faith hope and love, and always know this: whoever you are, and wherever you are on life’s journey, you are welcome and wanted here. God is still speaking!