The light dimmed and became, for lack of a better word, eerie; the streetlights around the church came on; crickets chirped; and the temperature dropped a bit. It was all pretty amazing. Still, I’ll admit I was surprised it didn’t get darker. I mean, looking through my NASA-approved glasses, I could see the slightest sliver of the sun, but two percent of the sun, we learned Monday, can produce quite a bit of light.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m not complaining. A 98 percent eclipse is amazing, and it was all the more enjoyable because I shared it with Kathy and members of the staff and their families. It was, yes, a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
And, as a preacher, I can take the brightness of that two percent and run with it. You know, a single candle in the darkness, a little leaven in the dough. The light has come into the world, and the darkness has not overcome it. That’s good news. Give me two faithful witnesses for Christ in a crowd of 100, then add the Holy Spirit. I’ll take those odds every day. Two percent can go a long way when it comes to bringing light and love to the world.
Then again, those of you who were in the right place at the right time Monday would almost certainly prefer to preach totality. Ninety-eight percent sounds pretty good, but John didn’t say, “For God so loved 98 percent of the world …” And while some shepherds might argue that 98 percent of the flock is pretty good, Jesus won’t settle even for 99. Nor did Jesus say, “Go therefore and make disciples of 98 percent of all nations” or “you shall love the Lord your God with 98 percent of your heart, 98 percent of your soul and 98 percent of your mind.” I get it. Sometimes totality is the only way to go.
So, two or totality–feel free to write the eclipse sermon of your choice.
Just remember: For someone in the darkness, even the slightest sliver of Christ’s hope can light the way home. So share what you have, and Christ will provide even more. He whose love is never-ending came that you and I and all of us might have life … in totality.