Stargazing

"Seek the Lord and his strength;

seek his presence continually,
Remember the wonderful works God has done." (Psalm 105: 4-5a)

Since family schedules allow for most children to stay up later during the summer, participate in stargazing as a family activity. Families may even decide to tour a local planetarium for a more detailed, educational experience or search the Internetfor information. Stargazing provides a wonderful opportunity for parents to teach children about God's created world and our responsibility to be faithful stewards of the global environment. Prior to inviting children to participate in stargazing, bake some sugar cookies cut out in the shape of stars. In addition, read the children's book The Dreamerby Cynthia Rylant with them.

The best place to stargaze is an area that is void of city lights and trees. You should be able to find an adequate location close to home, if not your own backyard. Spread out a large blanket. Based on the information from the planetarium or the Internet, locate and point out to the children constellations such as the Big Dipper, the North Star, and Orion. A telescope may add another dimension to the stargazing experience. Remind yourself and your children about the great distance between the Earth and the stars. Notice the brightness of the lights shining in the nighttime sky. Discuss the vastness of God's universe and God's strength and power to create the planets and stars. God made the heavens and the earth! On a clear night, the stars are an awesome sight.

Spend some quiet time gazing at the stars; then draw attention to all the sounds. Share the cookies while you enjoy this quiet time. Read Psalm 105:4-5a while the family sits on the blanket together. (If necessary, use a flashlight to read the words.) Invite your family to recite the Scripture passage with you. Offer a closing prayer.

Prayer

O God of all Creation, we are amazed at the vastness of this universe. We seem so tiny in comparison to all the stars of the sky. Yet you love each of us. Thank you for your love. Remind us in these moments that you call us to be stewards of this beautiful world. Watch over us this night, for we pray in Jesus' name. Amen.

Discussion Questions

  • How many stars were you able to see? Why are you able to see just a few of the multitudes of stars that actually exist in the universe?
  • How would you describe the nighttime sky to someone?
  • What does the nighttime sky reveal about God?
  • What sounds did you hear while you were spending quiet time looking at the stars?

Ruth M. Blum is an ordained United Methodist Deacon who serves as Associate Pastor of Children and Families at Dove of the Desert United Methodist Church in Glendale, Arizona.

Posted in2005.

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