Eclipsed Glory

This week’s long-awaited, somewhat over-hyped solar eclipse managed to overshadow almost everything else and completely dominated the news headlines. Moving at roughly a 1000 miles per hour, the moon’s 150 mile wide shadow tracked coast to coast across the United States beginning in Oregon and vanished off the coast of South Carolina a short time later. In the wake of its spectacle, remarkable pictures flooded social media as people shared their ‘dark in the middle of the day’ experiences.

Jason with his eclipse glasses

And not to miss such an event, we joined the throngs of people donning their officially approved and licensed solar protection glasses to watch the celestial show. As I sat patiently watching the moon slowly dim the sun’s light, it occurred to me that what we were seeing was a visual illustration of the incarnation, the moment in history when God took on human flesh and became a man.

Arise, shine, for your light has come,
and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.  For behold, darkness shall cover the earth,
and thick darkness the peoples;
but the Lord will arise upon you,
and his glory will be seen upon you.

Isaiah 60:1-3

When people think of the glory of God, they often come up with an image of brilliant light. While His glory is certainly more than luminescence, it isn’t an inappropriate visual as Luke described Paul’s encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus as “light from heaven, brighter than the sun” and Paul tells of Christ dwelling in ‘unapproachable light.’ (Acts 26:13; 1 Tim. 6:16) All the way back in the Old Testament, the prophet Ezekiel, too, described the glory of God as “glowing metal” and burning fire that caused him to fall prostrate on his face. (Ez. 1:25-28)

Full Eclipse

Me? I think it might be like staring into the noonday sun on a hot summer afternoon. It’s just too bright… too awesome… too intense to absorb which forces us to quickly turn away. But on Monday during that short time when the moon perfectly blocked the sun’s rays, we could, for just a moment, look at the sun and not be overwhelmed. Isn’t that very similar to what happened 2000 years ago? Jesus took on human flesh and, for an instant, the glory of the Godhead was blocked just enough for us to see what the Almighty is really like… to stand in His presence… to behold our Creator and King.

But just like Monday’s eclipse, when the shadow of the moon moved on and the brilliance of the sun returned, that brief historical moment when Christ’s glory was veiled is now gone too. His brilliance has returned! Just look at the startling description of Jesus that John gives in Revelation 1:12-18 when John was confronted with the Risen Christ. He didn’t call out a greeting as you might expect from someone who had spent three years of his life with Jesus. Instead, he was absolutely overwhelmed at the majesty of the glorious Lord, and Revelation 1:17 says John “fell at His feet as though dead.”

This should be a reminder to all of us that the eventual return of Christ will not be in the form that many continue to carry in their minds or paint in pictures. He’s no longer the baby in the manger, the gentle teacher on a grassy hillside, or the suffering servant on the cross. He holds the exalted position of King of kings!

So as we all return to our lives after enjoying Monday’s celestial ballet,  perhaps we can take with us a larger lesson. Just as we must be cautious of the power of the sun, we must never forget the greater power of the Son of God, knowing that in a sinful state, “it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” (Heb. 10:31) While Christ’s offer still stands for the weary to come to Him (Matt. 11:28), one day that opportunity will end. Instead of an open-armed welcome, those who rejected his offer will hear Him say “Depart from me. I never knew you.”  (Matt 25:41) So, now is the time to come to Him in salvation, and just as the sun drives away darkness, He will drive away sin, fear, brokenness and hopelessness.  And in their place, He will illumine your heart with His Spirit so that you can, in turn, reflect His light and glorify our God in heaven. (Matt 5:16)

13 thoughts on “Eclipsed Glory

  1. Thank you for sharing these powerful words! As my heart continues to be stirred about the return of Savior, your thoughts on that especially touched me here: “This should be a reminder to all of us that the eventual return of Christ will not be in the form that many continue to carry in their minds or paint in pictures.” Truly we will be overwhelmed when we see the Glory of our King! I am awaiting His return along with you!

    1. Yes, some days, I just look at all the craziness in the world and pray, ‘Amen, come Lord Jesus!’ Though we still wait, it’s encouraging to think about what a glorious day that will be! Peace to you, Bettie!

  2. This is a beautiful and powerful piece, Karen. This line struck me, ” Jesus took on human flesh and, for an instant, the glory of the Godhead was blocked just enough for us to see what the Almighty is really like… to stand in His presence… to behold our Creator and King,” especially, contrasted with what you wrote about John in Revelation. I’ll be pinning and sharing.

  3. Karen, this post is full and rich! I saw the full eclipse and all I could think about was the glory of God. It was the most spectacular thing I’ve ever seen in nature. I really like what you brought out from the Scriptures here. Thank you for these insights!

  4. I love this post!

    I also thought of the comparison between the sun’s radiance and the glory of the Lord.

    Did you notice how the pictures of the total eclipse show the brightness and power of the sun still surging behind the moon and around the edges? Even when fully eclipsed by the moon, the radiance of the sun was still evident…and the total eclipse did not last long.

    So it is with our God. Even in the darkest moments when it is hard for us to see His glory…His glory is still at work…it is uncontainable…powerfully working on our behalf.

  5. Although I could not see even the partial eclipse I was supposed to be able to due to heavy fog, I was overwhelmed with awe and wonder as I viewed it through the lens of so many others. Such a moment in history.

  6. This is great, Karen! Right in line with a quote by Luke Walker that I posted on FB recently: “The sun will burn your eyes out from a distance of 92 million miles and do you expect to casually stroll into the presence of its Maker?” Blessings on your week!

  7. Amen! What a special and fine post. The comparison is absolutely spot-on, Karen. May I see the beauty of the Lord as He is. May those I lift up in prayer for salvation see clearly and not through shaded or rose-colored glasses. May they come to Him now, before it is too late.
    I am grateful that I am your neighbor at Holley’s today.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *