Total Eclipse of the Sun
"Do you know what happened to the sun today?" I asked my four-year-old daughter as we walked across the parking lot after I picked her up from preschool.
"The sun was hiding. But it's okay, because it comes back after a minute," she informed me. She had just finished explaining that they were not allowed outside for a long time today because it might hurt their eyes.
This evening I spent some time reflecting on the solar eclipse as we should reflect on any experience of God's creation. As I reflected, my daughter's simple explanation of the event came to my mind.
Many saints have described a dark night of the soul when the light of the Son is obscured and difficult to see for a time. When these moments of darkness occur, there are two lessons I think we can learn from my daughter's explanation of the solar eclipse.
First, she told me they could not go outside because it would hurt their eyes. Even though the sun seemed to disappear for a time, the sun was still there. Anyone who has turned on a news program for more than a few seconds in the past week knew that it was dangerous to look directly at the eclipse without protection. The sun was still present and still powerful even if its light was being obscured. When the light of the Son is obscured and we experience a dark night of the soul, it is important to remember that the Son is still present and still powerful whether or not we can perceive his presence or his power in the given moment.
Second, she told me that it was okay because the sun came back after a minute. God's creation abounds with natural laws which we have studied and observed for centuries. We have charted the paths of celestial objects and we now have sophisticated algorithms that can predict a solar eclipse years and even centuries in advance. Just as we can predict when the sun will be obscured, we can just as easily predict when it will again be revealed. No matter how dark the night, no matter how thick the clouds, no matter how total the eclipse, we can be confident that the sun will be revealed again. Though it may be more difficult to predict when the Son will again be revealed during a dark night of the soul, we can be just as confident that the Son will eventually cease to be obscured. We can rest confident that the Son will again guide us with his light and warm us with his power.
Image: 2017 Total Solar Eclipse by NASA/Aubrey Gemignani (https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/thumbnails/image/36548089062_ee492455d1_o.jpg)
In her book Where Two or Three are Gathered, Florence Caffrey Bourg wrote "What makes a family a domestic church is a habit of interpreting its ordinary life - for better or worse - as the means through which family members are to seek, know, and love the God made known in Jesus Christ." This is one example of how I interpreted an ordinary experience from life in my domestic church. Have you had a similar experience in your domestic church?