“Once upon a time there was light in my life. But now there’s only love in the dark. Nothing I can say. A total eclipse of the heart.” – Composer: Jim Steinman, on Bonnie Tyler’s, Faster Than The Speed Of Night project- (1983)
Am I right? Flashback city! (At least for some of us.) It’s been reported that 66 year old Bonnie Tyler’s 1983 hit, “Total Eclipse Of The Heart” made the current charts again this month all because of Monday’s solar eclipse. Good for her! I watched it, did you? How’s your eyes? I wonder if my retina specialist is super busy this week. Hopefully you can read this.
It’s always surprising to me, to an extent, how a cosmic event rouses the curiosity and exuberance of the general public. People from all corners of the planet spent thousands of dollars per person to make it to the American solar eclipse to view it in its totality. As for me, I went out to the front yard to watch a partial eclipse right here in the Dallas, TX area. It made for an eerie sky-show and a good Monday afternoon with my wife and daughter. The effects of the moon’s robbery of sun-rays are amazing indeed. Before I knew it, around 12:45 pm, the interior of our house faded to a dusk atmosphere. Nature was flipped on its ear. Animals were confused, temperatures dropped and the shadows did a mysterious dance. The media reported roosters crowing in bewilderment. Unlike some, I neglected to wear an aluminum foil hat. I’m happy to say I made out okay without one. All in all, it was a good Monday.
An old friend sent me good-natured message ahead of the galactic event. It read, “Mind the power of Monday’s eclipse crossing America coast to coast, positive energy for new beginnings.” One thing written there came true for a couple of hours: America stopped chewing on each other over politics and statues of old dead Americans. Like a great anticipated Star Wars movie debut, all eyes were fixated on the show in the sky. (Although a Star Wars sequel would’ve lasted longer.) Beyond that, have you had a renewal since Monday afternoon? Is your personal energy different than it was this past weekend? Will you never again in your rush to head out the door on time say to yourself, “I’ve got to get myself together!” In other words, are you together? Would the person who knows you best, and has seen it all, say you are in a personal…totality? Do you find you are made aware of a more positive outlook on the world, concerning things around you, since that good celestial and sequenced display above us? (I say “sequenced” only because we ourselves proved it to be so. We have expected it since, or before, 1918 as the astrophysicists calculated its clock-like arrival down to the synchronized millisecond. There was no chaos involved as observed in fragments from a bomb explosion. I’ll stop there.) If you have more positive energy with a sparkling new beginning in life since that 2:28 long eclipse totality, compliments of the orbit of the moon, I’m happy for you. I really am. Tell me your lasting euphoric secret. As for me, I don’t hang my spiritual joy hat on an eclipse. Just like the eclipse, whatever burst of positive energetic renewal experienced, it is momentary with a quick shelf-life. Just take a look at the news, or Facebook, to see what the truth is about the matter. In spite of my obvious nay-saying above, it made for a good Monday.
Let me ask you a question. If it’s too bold of a question, or too private, I will understand. Here goes. Are you ready for this? Have you ever used the word, “TOTALITY” prior to the days of the eclipse? Maybe you have. In all of my uneducated buffoonery and slaughter of the English language, I don’t believe I have ever even heard it. However, I like the way it sounds. Very brainy. Very scientific, don’t you think? NASA must utilize the word in common lingo in Houston, TX. If used, I think I should understand its definition.
For a 70 mile swipe across America, the eclipse certainly was seen in its…totality, its completeness, its conglomeration, its wholeness, its entire kit and kaboodle. The totality was part of the ingredients that mixed well for a good Monday had by all from Oregon to South Carolina.
Here’s the next hard question. First, allow me to ask, are you brave enough for this curve-ball I’m about to type? Inhale and hold it now……How is YOUR “totality”? How complete are you? When the lunar dust settles, are you all-together? Could it be you’re still looking for another eclipse to straighten out your existence? It truly is in that word…“TOTALITY”.
Totality truly does come interestingly close to another original word we get from classical Greek. The word that comes to mind is, “TETELESTAI”, (tuh-TELL-eh-sti), at least that’s how I recall it is pronounced.
My brilliant stepson, Alex, whom recently, after completing years of rigorous study and microscopic examinations, received his doctorate in computer science. After defending his dissertation he was awarded his PhD. A true completion. An earned accomplishment. A good day for Alex. An Australian man, after spending $4,000.00 (That’s a long flight), arrived at his destination in a field in Idaho to harness a totality view of the eclipse. A reporter asked him if there was a sense of completion, as he was folding up his pup tent in the crowded pasture, he answered in the affirmative. A good Monday for the Aussie. Whenever I wrote, cast, produced, directed, performed and finished post production on one of my radio theater plays, I always had this peaceful sense of accomplishment. Hundreds of excruciating hours ended in a release of tension, listening to the end product of the body of work. It always made for a good day. Completion, accomplishment, attainment or achievement can all fall under the definition of “tetelestai”, but they also fall shy of…you guessed it, totality.
How about this for “positive energy for new beginnings”?
Greek is a very colorful extended language. It shades, colors and deepens the vocabulary in multi-level arrangements. The word “tetelestai” was mainly used by accountants, bankers and merchants. During, and hundreds of years prior to, the first century, any country who used Greek as a first, second or third language, understood the labeling of “tetelestai” as written confirmation for the purchase of goods and the paying off of a debt. Some, after paying off a mortgage, have a mortgage burning party to celebrate the victory of completing the loan on their home. Before its tossed into the fireplace, somewhere on the paperwork, it is indicated the mortgage has been successfully paid for, completed, accomplished. The homeowner could shout, “TETELESTAI!”
This ancient Greek accounting term was used only twice in biblical scripture. Its final appearance in the original Greek text was translated by the English scribes as the word, “finished”. The text depicts a Friday afternoon. It’s found in John 19:30. “Then after He received the sour wine Jesus said, ‘It is (tetelestai) finished’, and bowed His head and gave up His spirit.” A Greek word, chosen by an eye-witness at the cross of execution, the Apostle John, literally points to a certificate of debt paid in fullness. That is probably the most profound theological statement in all of holy writ. NO MORE INSTALLMENTS, TEMPORARY COVERINGS, (eclipses) OR ETERNAL DAMNATION FOR THOSE WHO BELIEVE AND RECEIVE! Fabulous news that shifts the earth’s tectonic plates to this day.
Totality simply isn’t strong enough a term to place in John 19:30. John was reflecting the last words of Jesus as He cried out the fact that the penalty, the price of the sin-debt owed by all humanity, had been “TETELESTAI”…PAID IN FULL! An offer no other “god” or ideology extends. What Jesus did was the zenith of uniqueness. A debt from my failures, my stupid leanings against God’s perfect road laid out for me, my infractions, my transgressions slapping up against of His holiness, not only had been forgiven, but the certificate of debt, the mortgage for this corrupt “house I live in” was burned away and placed in the fire of His grace of forgetfulness. It is in that correct biblical aspect of the divine pro-action He placed upon Himself, we see a gift card of sorts.
I still have a Starbucks gift card in my wallet I received from Christmas, nine months ago. Although, I have yet to receive my java. Someone loved me enough and went ahead of me to purchase it, not with MY wages, but out of his unconditional love for me. Jesus’ gift card has been offered to you, but it truly isn’t yours to “cash-in” until you take it to your own wallet of heart. The debt of all disobedient actions placed on your record is ready to be burned away forever because of “tetelestai”. If this is news to you, take note. Although tetelestai happened some 2, 000 years ago, the itemized list of infringements against God’s righteousness remains on your balance sheet. Being a great person, a good citizen or decent parent, falls short of the majesty of God’s holiness. NOBODY CAN OBTAIN IT! We are automatically in the red. It’s like someone saying, “Mind the power of Monday’s eclipse….positive energy for new beginnings” and now you find the eclipse didn’t perform such spiritual depths. Try going to the shores of San Francisco and make the leap to Hawaii. It can’t be done. It fails you every time, just like our good Monday of totality. The answer to this dilemma? (My paraphrase) “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whoever believes in Him will not eternally perish but will have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
Yes, Virginia, there was a good Friday and those who believed and received continue to see perpetual fuel for the race.
“When I consider Your heavens, the works of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained; What is man that You take thought of him, and the son of man that You care for him?” – King David, Psalms 8:3-4 (NAS)