A Watching World

     by Heidi Regier Kreider, WDC Conference Minister

On the day before the recent solar eclipse, my family and I were on a trip driving home from Indiana to Kansas.  Our goal was to find a good place to spend the night and watch the eclipse the next day.  Of course, we weren’t the only ones with that plan!   All the motels in the area were already full, and the highway between Chicago and Springfield, IL, was bumper-to-bumper with cars of people driving south to see the eclipse. We were relieved to finally turn west and head into the north-east corner of Kansas, right within the eclipse’s “path of totality,” where we found a campground at a small fishing lake.  There we found a spot on the bank of the lake, which was already ringed with tents.

As we prepared to set up our tent, two little boys from the family camping next to us came scampering over, curious to see what was happening.  We introduced ourselves, and learned that their names were Elijah and Ezra.  As we began to set up the tent, the boys pulled up miniature lawn chairs, creating front row seats to observe us at work.  Later, they sidled up to our picnic table to ask questions: What are you eating? Does it taste good?

The next day, we took down our tent and headed into the nearby town of Hiawatha, KS, to find breakfast.   Closer to eclipse time we headed north onto a dirt road on the top of a hill in the midst of corn and bean fields – a perfect eclipse-viewing spot, except that cloud-cover obscured our view right at the moment of total eclipse!  Even so, the feeling of the darkness that descended and the sight of the 360-degree sunset all around us was awesome and amazing!

Meanwhile, Elijah and Ezra and their parents remained at the campground.  I imagined the two little boys sitting by the lake in their miniature lawn chairs, wearing their eclipse glasses and staring into the sky, asking their parents lots of questions about it.  I wondered if the clouds had parted in time for them to see a total eclipse from the lakeshore?

My eclipse experience was a reminder to watch the world around us and to pay attention to the awesome beauty of creation, not only in the stunning view of an eclipse, but also in the face of a curious child, the blade of corn growing next to the road, and the sunrises and sunsets of each day. Nature also reminds us of how small we are as human beings, when its power and strength overwhelms us.  As I write this, my heart goes out to those who are coping with the cruel and catastrophic effects of flooding in Texas.

Perhaps even more importantly, my eclipse experience was a reminder that the world is also watching us.  Like my young friends Elijah and Ezra, others are always observing the actions and words we exhibit as Christians.  Romans 8:19 says that “the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God.”  I pray that our lives may reveal God’s compassion, healing and hope. I hope that even when the dark clouds of suffering overshadow the earth, we may reflect the light that is Christ.