All of these things (and many more) are rightly celebrated by the good people of east Tennessee. But let’s be honest, even the “uninitiated” associate this area with hillbillies and above all, moonshine! And why not? Even the famed fight song of the University of Tennessee (titled “Rocky Top”) contains the line stating: “Corn won't grow at all on rocky top… Dirt's too rocky by far... That's why all the folks on rocky top… Get their corn from a jar.”
Moonshine, is of course, illicitly distilled whiskey. To be certain, middle Tennessee is the home to Jack Daniels, arguably the world most well-known brand of distilled spirits. But it appears that, in times past at least, the good folks of east Tennessee chose not to pay the taxes on their distillations, and incurred the wrath of the infamous “revenuers” in the process.
Well, last night, a slightly different form of moonshine was featured here in east Tennessee. In a rare celestial alignment, something called a “Super Blood Wolf Moon Eclipse” was on display in all its cosmic glory. This means several things happened all at once: (1) a full moon occurred (2) at its closest point to the earth (producing a super moon), (3) being eclipsed by the earth’s shadow (producing an eclipse) (4) at just the right time and place (so as to turn the moon blood red in appearance), and (5) happening in the dead of winter (when wolves are said to howl at the moon)!
Well, I will admit... I stayed up well beyond my normal bedtime to witness this very rare astronomical event, which will not happen again for quite some time.
And despite the bitterly cold temperatures (around 18 degrees Fahrenheit) when I ventured outside, the return was well worth the investment. Like millions of other interested parties, I was rewarded with a sight I will not soon forget! In the midst of total darkness, the moon first crept up into the sky, and began to show forth in all its glory.
However, after having briefly lit up the darkness of the night, it then turned blood red, before ultimately disappearing completely behind the shadow of this world. At length, however, it suddenly burst forth once again in all its resplendent glory. And thereafter, the once dark night was lit up like the sun shining at midday!
Now, in that simple process of nature, rare as it may be, is a picture of the very Gospel itself! For into this world there once came the one and only Son of God, shining as a light in the darkness. After having lit the way for a great many people, he was forced into the shadow of the death, wherein, briefly, His light was (seemingly) extinguished; and only the red blood of his former grandeur was visible. The evil one howled with pleasure while all of this occurred.
But to the amazement of all who observed it, including the evil one himself, God’s one and only Son suddenly burst forth from that dark red shadow and shown forth once again in all His resplendent glory! From that day until now, the powers of darkness in this world have struggled to overcome His light. But they have failed to do so!
And just as the radiance of the full moon from 1AM onward last night eventually gave way to the rise of the sun around 7AM, even so will the radiance of Jesus Christ in this world one day give rise to a time when He will reign unassailable over all things!
And that, my friends, is well worth observing. And pondering! For, as the Apostle John tells us (in chapter one of his eponymous New Testament Gospel, verses 9-12):
9The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God…
Praise God! No power of darkness can ever extinguish that light! And that gives us more than a mere celestial event to observe. It gives us an eternal event to celebrate!