It Started in 2017

by DanWolgemuth on April 12, 2024

On August 21st, 2017 Mary and I stood in an open field on the east side of Denver peering at an open sky through appropriately darkened lenses. A solar eclipse was at approximately 65% throughout the Rockies, but that was clearly enough to capture our hearts, our imagination, and our plans for 2024.

This was especially true when we realized that the cosmic highway for the total eclipse would traverse the state of Indiana, directly over the college campus where Mary and I met in 1975.

At the beginning of the year, this plan moved from our bucket-list to our calendar. And on Monday, April 8th, 2024 at 3:08pm, we entered an experience that I had grossly underestimated. For 2 minutes and 58 seconds I could look directly at the sun. No odd looking sunglasses required. During this time, the sun’s corona was on full display. NASA defines a corona like this…

The Corona is the Sun’s outer atmosphere. It is visible during total eclipses of the Sun as a pearly white crown surrounding the Sun.

Psalm 19:1 echoed my sentiments… “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.”

On Monday, my soul screamed a full-throated AMEN.

Only infrequently does a much anticipated event exceed lofty expectation. But on Monday, the comparison was lopsided.

The word “awesome”, misused in most situations, was woefully inadequate. God flexed His celestial biceps, and they ripped the t-shirt He was wearing.

We stood in an open field, beside a small wooded area… so we could not only see, but also hear what happens during this three minutes of totality. And during that time, while the rays of the sun were being stiff armed by the moon, two planets became visible. For 2 minutes and 58 seconds.

And, as you can tell, I’m still enthralled when I think about it.

The explanation we heard ahead of the event was helpful in describing what was about to happen, but facts were an inadequate prerequisite to what we were about to experience.

God, the cosmic artist, put on a show.

     When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
          the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
     what is man that you are mindful of him,
         and the son of man that you care for him? (Psalm 8:3–4, ESV)

So for those of you who have already reached for your calendar with a pen in hand, the next solar eclipse that will impact the contiguous United States will be August 23rd, 2044 but it will only impact Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota. But wait, there’s more. On August 12th, 2045 another eclipse will impact the U.S., and this time, the path of totality will include Denver. Not sure how I would look at 90 years old with eclipse glasses… or maybe I’ll be looking at the glory of God close up.

Think about it. Incredible cosmic beauty, and the predictability of the finest Swiss watch. Only our Creator. Only as a means to show off his glory.

God. Creative. Grand. Majestic. And always on time.

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