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April 2024 - Are We Ready?

Are We Ready?

April 8, 2024 could be just a normal    Monday. I could get up and go to work; put away my Sunday worship materials and start on the next Sunday’s sermon and service; attend choir rehearsal and two evening meetings; and at the end of the day, go back to bed. Seems like a pretty standard Monday, but this one will be a bit different. With the great eclipse of 2024, people are saying we need to get ready and prepare for an unusual day.

Because of the distance of the moon from Earth, this eclipse will be longer and   darker than the last eclipse in 2017. The next eclipse in the United States will be 2044 (according to NASA). This will be an exciting day. I am hoping I will be able to see this momentous event in the heavens. I suspect it will feel a bit eerie – like the darkness before a threatening storm or when the power goes out on a snowy winter night.

Between buying solar eclipse glasses,  paying for travel, and lodging, arranging for extra security, and spending extra for specialized advertising, individuals, cities, and businesses are shelling out thousands of dollars to ensure they are prepared for this day. I am in awe of what our society is willing to invest in a natural event and the hope of benefiting from this day.

This eclipse is certainly rare, and it will be exciting to see, but the exhilaration that an eclipse creates is not new. Through the prophet Joel, God said that there will be a day when the sun will go dark and the moon will appear red like blood. This will happen before the great day of the LORD. But do not worry, God says he will save those who call on him (Joel 2:31-32). Jesus then quotes this passage in Matthew 24:29 when   speaking to his disciples about the signs of the end times. He lets them know that these things must happen and even when heaven and earth pass away, he – God’s Word – will never cease to exist. When I think of an eclipse and the unnatural midday darkness, it brings me back to Jesus on the cross. Matthew 27:45 tells us that a darkness fell at about three in the afternoon, just as  Jesus was dying. I can hardly imagine what those around the cross felt in that moment.

I have heard theories and explanations about how some people believe this eclipse is a sign of the end times or God’s punishment on the US. Because of the anomalies of the coming eclipse on April 8, some believe it will surely bring in the rapture – the return of Christ Jesus and the raising of the church to heaven. I, however, cannot say that is the case. The same chapter of Matthew, noted above, says that nobody knows when the last day will take place. Although I find this fascinating, I tend to watch natural events unfold with great interest and anticipation for the glory and power of God to be revealed. Psalm 19:1 expresses that God’s glory sings from the heavens and God’s works are announced in the sky.

The talk about the eclipse, the preparations, the time, energy, and expense being invested, and the connection people are making to the end times just makes me wonder. What if we saw the glory of God in each day? What if we saw God’s handiwork in each worm and spider? What if we listened to God’s warnings now instead of fearing the punishment? What if we then used our resources to prepare for our eternal home? What if we reminded our friends and neighbors about Jesus as much as we are making sure they have their special glasses? What if we were focusing this same amount of attention on storing up our treasures in heaven (Matthew 6:20)? The ultimate question is: Will we be as ready for our final day on earth as we are for the eclipse?

Pastor Jenni Piatt

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