For a long, long time maybe since the first humans looked up at night, there has been this sense, this awe that the world, the cosmos is an incredible thing best understood as "in service" to an even greater belief."Seek him who made the Pleiades and Orion, and turns deep darkness into the morning, and darkens the day into night; who calls for the waters of the sea and pours them out upon the surface of the earth: The Lord is his name." Amos 5:8 cited in our Book of Common Prayer, page 115
That there are stars so marvelously constellated, sun and moon in such a concerted dance, rivers and oceans all around us is understood to be so marvelous as to trigger a kind of hope-filled casting into possibility, and "The Lord is his name."
Centuries of human discourse, some biblical, some of other religious persuasions, some not "religious" at all have heard us as humans -- dolphins? whales? bonobos? tortoises? elephants? -- ask and wonder simply and majestically: how?
Yesterday's eclipse has me asking my version of this ancient wondering: how is it that our moon travels as it does and is sized just so that it slips sometimes exactly in between us and the sun to eclipse the very light that makes life possible?
Yes there are astronomical calculations that try to explain by recounting the believed origins of our solar system and its orbiting bodies. Earlier wonder-ers listened for the music of the spheres for their explanations. Most physical explanations just restate the evidence but leave the question still lingering.
I think that's OK. Other explanations, even those directed by the psalmist bump into trouble, too. What are now Christian thinkers have continued an ancient consideration that is almost too anthropomorphic. We've been warned to avoid a description of God that is humanity "writ large" but it's difficult to find an answer that doesn't sound like egotistical human projection. Think William Paley's watchmaker.
I am not taken by my 2 and half minutes of totality while northeast of Anderson, SC yesterday because it leads me to "seek him." At least not yet. I'm still marveling, still amazed, still laughing at the event itself. Yes I came to my viewing with my faith already in hand but I'm not ready to move beyond my experience for any meaning other than wow!
Can we venture to say that the wonder and the questions may be the best of our responses? Not the science, not the theology, not the "mansplaining." At least for a little longer can we just be totally amazed?