Columbus and the Eclipse

About 500 years ago, Christopher Columbus was on his fourth voyage to the New World (which, of course, would come to be known as America). However, on this journey, Columbus and his crew ran into some trouble in the shape of woodworm! His ship was full of them and he was forced to beach his ship in Jamaica and make the necessary repairs. However, the ship was fairly badly damaged so they were stranded there for more than a year!

The locals were fascinated by Columbus and his crew and treated them well, bringing them food and helping them whenever they could. Unfortunately, Columbus’ crew weren’t quite as nice to the Jamaicans and often cheated and stole from them!

Eventually the Natives grew tired of this and decided to stop bringing food to Columbus and his crew. The crew wanted to fight with them but Columbus knew that that would case more trouble… and he had a plan… Columbus was interested in other things beyond sea-faring and knew something about astronomy that he thought might help him. So, he called a meeting with the local chiefs on February 29th 1504, just before sunset…

Columbus stood up before the crowd and said: “God is unhappy! He doesn’t like the way you’re treating us by stopping our food and He is going to show how unhappy He is by removing the moon from the sky!”

The sun set and the moon rose and the Natives began to laugh… until…something started happening to the moon… it began to dim and started to turn as red as blood. Then, slowly, very slowly, it began to disappear! The Natives were terrified! They believed that Columbus really could communicate with God and control the moon!

(But what was happening do you think?)

They pleaded with Columbus to undo what he had done and he said that God would indeed undo this frightening thing if the Natives would start to provide the crew with food again. Of course they agreed and the deal was sealed and, soon after, the eclipse ended and the moon was back to its former self, and the problems were solved.

Now, of course, we know that Christopher had no control over the sun and moon and simply knew that an eclipse was near…

However, things are different when it comes to God – the Bible tells us that He has created the sun, moon and stars and that once, when His people were at war, God even stopped the sun in the sky to show that He was fighting for them!

So, God is the God Who is in actual control of the very sun, moon and starts, not in pretend control like Columbus. And this should give us comfort – because the same God who has kept them in motion since the beginning of the World is the same God Who loves us and works for our good. God is good, and He’s good for 365 days a year, but this year, on a Leap Year, He’ll be good to us for 366 days – now that’s special!!

So let’s give thanks to Him.

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