JAs the total solar eclipse was happening, I was also reading a book by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, The Spirit of the Liturgy. It also just so happened that the part I was reading was on “how deeply Christianity is marked by the symbolism of the sun.”
Let’s take a look at the interconnection of the sun and Christianity:
1) Sunday, the day of the sun and the Day of the Resurrection became the Christian day of worship, signifying that the “new time has dawned with the resurrection.” Sunday has also been called the Day of the Lord from the very first century. It is the name that can be found in the Book of Revelation (1:10). It reminds us that the first day is the beginning of creation. And now, Christ, as the First-born and Lord of creation, Christ has opened the door of the New Covenant, the New Heaven and the New Earth.
2) Praying toward the east was regarded as an apostolic tradition of looking to Christ, in the symbol of the rising sun, which points to the Paschal Mystery of Jesus Christ to his death and rising again. It also looks toward the future, toward Jesus coming again and the creation of the New Heaven and New Earth. Pope Benedict wrote, “The eastward direction was given added emphasis by a reference to the Cross,” the sign of Christ’s victory over death.
3) Dating of Easter, which was fixed at Nicaea, incorporated the link between the sun and the moon. The Sunday after the first full moon of spring has become the date of Easter.
The total solar eclipse has come and gone, but the significance of the sun in Christianity will remain intertwined. Thus we have 1) Sunday or the day of the sun, is our day of worship, 2) we have a tradition of praying toward the rising sun, and 3) the Sunday after the first full moon in the spring is the fixed date of Easter, a true link of the sun and the moon with Christianity.