On Monday, August 21st, an eclipse of the sun will take place across North America. This will be the first total solar eclipse to cross the United States in ninety-nine years. Eclipse chasers will set up camp and wait for those few moments of what Astronomers call totality. It is a moment of awe, a rare event of glory.
We are captured by moments like these because we are hard-wired for glory. Have you noticed? We are glory chasers. Indeed, vacations are made for these glory pursuits. It is why we go white water rafting, travel to the Grand Canyon, surf in extravagant places, or hike a difficult mountain path. Oh, the exhilarating joy of arriving at the top of the mountain peak! The earlier moments of exhaustion are quickly chased away and forgotten in the glory of the landscape before us.
As a father of 4 children, I have been amazed over the years to watch their responses to glory. In the middle of the ocean, with no land in sight, the sun begins to set and cameras are pulled out.
No coaching or prodding is needed, the response spills out of the young and old alike. We honor that which is glorious instinctively because that is the way the Creator has made us.
- Hiking the A.T. Awe!
- Parachuting out of an airplane, seeing the city we call home from 11,000 feet. Awe!
- Riding out on the Maid of the Mist boat tour, as the deafening roar of the falling waters and the spray from Niagara Falls begins to soak that blue rain coat. Awe!
Consider your own bucket list. I am sure it includes a few pursuits of moments of awe.
Why? We were made for worship. I am not saying we were created to worship the creation, no, we were created to worship the Creator who is the Maker of it all! If His creation inspires awe, how much more the One who created it?
For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.
Perhaps that is why Carl Sagan’s widow Ann Druyan said this to Time magazine about the coming eclipse: “That sudden chill, the motion of the birds, the way that the rest of life reacts to the blocking out of the sun. It has that kind of mythic, Biblical power to it. And it should.” She then added, “What I love so much about science is for me it is informed worship.” The question of course is, worship of what or worship of who? Indeed, it is informed worship of the One who created it all!
The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge.
The awe of the moment is not an end to itself. Every landscape, every snow-capped mountain peak, every ocean sunset, that waterfall you stumbled upon and photographed, every Redwood tree, the canyon, the geyser, all the glory points to the Creator. The One who made it all.
Paul Tripp’s book, Awe, captures it well when he speaks of the “Gloryscope”.
“What does this term mean? Just as a telescope points you to the stars and magnifies them for you to see their illuminating glory, so the earth focuses our eyes on God and magnifies his glory, so it can produce wonder in us. Every beautiful and amazing sight, sound, color, texture, taste, and touch of the created world has gloryscopic intention built into it. Every powerful and mighty thing, animate and inanimate, is gloryscopic by design. No created beauty is an end in itself. No physical wonder exists in isolation. Nothing that is, just is. Everything exists for a grand, vertical purpose. The glories of the physical world don’t reflect God’s glory by happenchance. No, God specifically and carefully designed the physical world to reflect him, that is, to be the gloryscope that our poorly seeing eyes so desperately need.”
Tripp, Paul David (2015-10-14). Awe: Why It Matters for Everything We Think, Say, and Do (p. 66). Crossway. Kindle Edition.
We were made for this glory. On our best day, we seek to reflect this glory. What is a painting but that which God has already painted/created? I live on the Space Coast in Titusville, Fl. It is amazing, each time a rocket goes off and rattles the windows of my office space. Wow, what man can do! But…. while man flies into space, God created it!
Do you see it? This glory? It is possible to see and yet be blind to it. The blindness happens in a thousand moments of the day. That sunrise holds no glory if it is just “another” sunrise. think about it, does history know of a non-glorious sunrise? I live near the ocean, I can walk onto that beach and stare into the distance without a thought of the glory these eyes are beholding. Those things of God’s creation that once amazed, on this day, do little more than stir a yawn.
Every creature, all of God’s creation, from microscope to telescope shouts the glory of the Creator. But, we can be dull to it all. How about you? Does that growing blade of grass, that has no voice, nonetheless shout glory to God? I believe it does!