On the day when the Lord gave the Amorites over to the Israelites, Joshua spoke to the Lord; and he said in the sight of Israel, “Sun, stand still at Gibeon, and Moon, in the valley of Aijalon.” And the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, until the nation took vengeance on their enemies. The sun stopped in midheaven, and did not hurry to set for about a whole day. There has been no day like it before or since, when the Lord heeded a human voice; for the Lord fought for Israel. (Joshua 10: 12-14 NRSV)

The sun won’t stand still tomorrow, as it did for Joshua, but we don’t need to fight for our lives tomorrow, either, like Joshua and the Children of Israel.

I’m sure scientists puzzle over this story, and there are skeptics who say “No way; couldn’t happen!” On the other hand, I maintain that there are countless folks who say “Nobody could make up such a tale, so it has to be true.” (I fall in that latter category!)

Tomorrow, we will be watching the heavens (hopefully the weather will cooperate and people will watch through appropriately protective lenses) as the moon blots out the sun and daylight turns to darkness for precious few minutes in an area of North Carolina.

Eclipses are rare, and total eclipses are once in a life-time events, but we understand why they happen (unlike the medieval Chinese who thought a dragon was eating the sun), and don’t fear them.

My grandfather, who was born in 1869 and lived to be 90, experienced an eclipse during the time he was in the West (he was a real live cowboy!), and he said the chickens went to roost in midafternoon because it was so dark.

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Written by Lynn Pitts