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I so enjoyed the Great America Eclipse, as the media named it. I was too late to purchase the proper protection glasses, so I had to resort to finding other ways to see this rare event. Although I made a cereal box viewer which worked, it was the shadows though the trees that particularly amazed me.

Situated in Texas hundreds of miles from the total eclipse, I saw the sun 70% covered by the moon. As the sunlight shone between the leaves in our trees, I saw hundreds of little crescent images of the shadow of the moon blocking the sun’s rays on our driveway and sidewalks.

The brightness of the sun makes it impossible to safely look at it with the naked eye. But the effects of what was happening revealed something unusual. The light dimmed somewhat, shining less brightly than usual on a clear August day in Texas. The temperature was still very hot, but it felt a little bit more bearable. (This means I was not roasting and sweating as I was before the eclipse began.) And then there were the beautiful crescent shadows in the shade of the trees that suggested some strange anomaly.

So what’s my point and what does this have to do with our blog on influence and faith?

Just as the moon reflects the sun, we are to reflect God’s light as we live out his kingdom in a ruined world. But too often we block the light, in effect creating a shadow over many of its rays.

How do we create a shadow? The way we treat others, follow Christ, and exhibit his kingdom affects the amount of light people see and limits our influence for Jesus. The crescent suns that we create may look good to the world, even beautiful at times, but they cannot replace the true light, its beauty, and its life-giving force.

This eclipse reminded me of my need to spend time taking stock. How much of who God is am I hiding by the effects of living for myself and what I think is best for me and my family instead of what builds his gospel and kingdom? What sins have I fallen into? In place of my faith, what fears am I acting on? What do people see and hear in me that doesn’t describe Jesus? How am I selfish? Where am I unloving and unkind? Whom have I refused to forgive or love actively, impeding the light of Jesus from being seen by a land of bitter and divided people?

I am so grateful for God’s grace which can give me insight into my heart and provide the ability to stop blocking his light by my own shadow.

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