The Solar Eclipse and Praise for Our Creator

Photo by Mitchell Bowser on Unsplash


Like millions of others, I experienced the total eclipse this week and am still searching for words to describe the experience. Blessed to live in the path of totality, I watched the solar-lunar dance in a field with a few hundred other people and exchanged emails and texts with friends and family who watched it in various ways.

It was an incredible experience, and one that is hard to describe. As the eclipse progressed toward totality and the light shifted, we searched for the words to describe the light and the changes we sensed around us.  As the moment of totality crept closer, the people around me began to murmur, and then cheer.  And when the total eclipse occurred, shouts of joy, laughter, applause, and gasps burst forth from the crowd.

I found myself clapping alongside everyone else, and realizing what we were cheering for, let out a cry of praise—perhaps the strangest cry of adoration I’ve ever cried out.

“Yay, God!”

After all, we weren’t really cheering for the sun or the moon… we were cheering for their Creator.

“Praise the LORD!
Praise the LORD from the heavens,
praise him in the heights!
Praise him, all his angels,
praise him, all his host!
Praise him, sun and moon,
praise him, all you shining stars!” (Ps 148:1-3)

Various articles were written before and after the eclipse, drawing deep insights from this empyrean phenomenon. But as we stood in the midday heat and awaited the show, all I could think about was the unity that this natural event was bringing about throughout our often-divided country.

Social media was exploding as people waited. As totality occurred in the western part of the country and then made its way across the States, the excitement increased. When totality occurred, emotions overtook us. Meteorologists were in tears on live television. Anchormen and woman yelled.  As I waited, I laughed at the thought of screaming or crying over the event. But when it happened, emotion spilled forth.

Our country was united in joy and awe. Not over a sporting event.  Not over some strange craze to hit Facebook or Instagram.  Not over a celebrity or a tragedy. Not over anything we staged, paid for, or planned.

We were united in joy and awe about creation. God’s creation.

“O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
to him who made the great lights,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
the sun to rule over the day,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
the moon and stars to rule over the night,
for his steadfast love endures forever.” (Ps 136:1, 7-9)

It was a beautiful event—both the actual total eclipse and dramatic prelude and ending, and our country’s reaction to it.  As we gazed at the bursting ring of light, I decided it’s not surprising people used to worship nature.  As God warned the Israelites,

“And beware lest you lift up your eyes to heaven, and when you see the sun and the moon and the stars, all the host of heaven, you be drawn away and worship them and serve them, things which the LORD your God has allotted to all the peoples under the whole heaven.” (Dt 4:19)

The beauty of nature is captivating.  The drama of the sun’s glory behind the rocky dark moon was so perfect… it had to come from a perfect Creator. The awe and wonder that captivated us should spark wonder at our own beauty and the drama of the miracle of the human person.  No matter how flawed we are from original sin, no matter how damaged we are from our selfish acquiescence to our wounds, we are still more glorious than any star or moon.

“When I look at thy heavens, the work of thy fingers,
the moon and the stars which thou hast established;
what is man that thou art mindful of him,
and the son of man that thou dost care for him?” (Ps 8:3-4)

May God accept our wonder and awe in Him as our prayer, a feeble prayer from a country divided and wounded.  May He accept our harmony (even for the briefest of moments) and praise (even from those who didn’t outwardly acknowledge His handiwork) as a cry of love to Him.

“The sun and moon stood still in their habitation
at the light of thine arrows as they sped,
at the flash of thy glittering spear.

…Yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
I will joy in the God of my salvation.
GOD, the Lord, is my strength;
he makes my feet like hinds’ feet,
he makes me tread upon my high places.”  (Hab. 3:11, 18-19)


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About the Author

Joannie Watson

Joan Watson was born and raised in Lafayette, Indiana, but college and graduate school took her to Virginia, Ohio, and Rome. After graduating from Christendom College with a B.A. in History and Franciscan University with a M.A. in Theology, she moved to Nashville, Tennessee to be part of the explosion of Catholic culture in the middle of the Bible Belt.

She has been blessed to work for Dr. Scott Hahn at the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology and the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia at Aquinas College. She is presently the Director of Adult Formation for the Diocese of Nashville. When she’s not testing the culinary exploits of new restaurants or catching up on the latest BBC miniseries, she’s FaceTiming with her eight nephews and nieces and enjoying her role as coolest aunt. She likes gelato, bourbon, and the color orange.

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1 Comment

  1. Yes! The beauty of nature IS captivating and it was wonderful to see so much attention given to something (finally) which is beyond our world. Amen to THAT! : D

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