A total solar eclipse is a rare occurrence.  On August 21, 2017, Little Rock will experience a substantial partial eclipse with 89% of the sun obscured by the moon.  You may be planning to travel northward toward St. Louis to view the total eclipse, but as you plan, also be aware of the unusual effects a solar eclipse produces.

  • Before the eclipse reaches totality, shadow bands will form on plain-colored surfaces. The wavy lines of light and dark, lined up in parallel rows, will undulate and move rapidly across the ground.
  • During the partial phase, a minute or more before and after the eclipse — when the sun looks like a crescent moon — the colors in the landscape will appear saturated and contrast is boosted. Shadows cast through leafy trees, sometimes called anti-shadows, will appear to be hundreds of tiny crescent-shaped shadows because the gaps between leaves act like pinhole cameras.
  • During the total eclipse, when it is safe to look at the eclipse with the naked eye, experts say you can expect to see jets and ribbons of light in the corona, the sun’s outer atmosphere, twisting and curling out into the sky.
  • As soon as the Moon entirely covers the Sun and causes the sky to completely blacken, the air will instantly chill — perhaps by as much as 20 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Animals will become confused and nocturnal animals may awaken and become active.  Bats may fly around thinking it is night.  Birds may go to roost.  Crickets or cicadas may begin to chirp. Mosquitoes may come out to bite during moments when the sky darkens.
  • If the land is flat for miles around your location or you are on a mountain top, you will be able to see the darkest part of the Moon’s shadow (called the umbra) racing across the ground towards you just before totality and away from you afterwards.
  • During totality, brighter stars, such as Sirius, will be visible, as well as four of the five planets which can be seen with the naked eye: Venus, Mercury, Mars and Jupiter

Read here for more effects of the eclipse.

The ancient world depended on the predictability of celestial cycles. A solar eclipse was unexpected and terrifying.  It seemed to confirm the latent fear of darkened pagan hearts and minds that their gods were capricious and angry – unpredictable and bent on judgment and destruction.   Yet we read of the God of the Bible that,

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.  James 1:17

The word translated shadow is an ancient word which means “eclipse.”   The Lord is a God who is constant and kind.   He never changes.  He is as good as His Word.  Consider what the scripture says about God’s promises.

Not one word of all the good promises that the Lord had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass.  Joshua 21:45

For all the promises of God find their Yes in [Christ Jesus]. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory.  2 Corinthians 1:20

The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.  2 Peter 3:9

Join us this Lord’s Day, August 13, as we examine the story of Isaac’s birth in Genesis 21 and consider the trustworthiness of a God who makes and keeps promises.  We meet from 5:00 – 6:30 pm in The Commons at St. Andrews Anglican Church at 8300 Kanis Rd in Little Rock.  Click here for directions.

Come with a friend you and join us for fellowship and conversation. We look forward to seeing you there.