Sunday, 29 November -0001 18:42

Youth Page

Written by Peter Langbroek
ÒLetÕs go, Johannes", called Mother on a cool fall night. Johannes, a blanket wrapped around him, went outside with his mother. There they walked, through the German town of Leonberg. From there, they climbed, away from the town and its lights, up the grassy hill, where darkness surrounded them.

The chilly wind blew when Mother and son finally reached the top of the hill. Then they looked up at the vast dark sky, lit with countless stars. And, there, among the stars was the moon. And there it was!--the reason they climbed the hill outside of town.

ÒI can guess why we are here," Johannes said.

"Are you afraid of it?" asked Mother.

Johannes watched it thrust itself across the sky--a blazing fire, tadpole shaped, leaving a tail of lights, as it seem to plunge into the horizon.

Johannes shivered. "Everyone says it is a sign from the devil."

"Yes it is," replied his mother. The stars and planets were created by God for signs and seasons, but this comet was sent by the devil to tell of the death of a king or of an evil time."

Johannes stood very still, filled with awe and fear. The comet was spectacular. Then, he observed the stars again. They seemed so far, so glorious, so mysterious.

His mother showed him a few constellations, pictures of bright stars in the heavens. The universe fascinated Johannes, even as a six-year old boy. This moment, above the city, that fall day in 1577, was a moment Johannes Kepler would not forget.

Boys and girls, I invite you to look up Johannes Kepler in an encyclopedia. The boy grew up to be a famous astronomer (a scientist who studies the universe) who by careful mathematical construction and observation discovered that the planet Mars did not move around the earth, but around the sun. He lived through an amazing period in astronomy, a time when the telescope was discovered and scientists proved that planets did not orbit around the earth, but around the sun. It was the beginning of amazing discoveries in space and time, when superstitions, such as the story of Satan and comets, were set aside.

I call your attention to Johannes Kepler, not only because he has helped us understand the universe, but because he was a scientist who never forgot his Creator. He lived his life as one who never forgot to praise the Lord for His handiwork and he remained humble in spite of his great mental gifts. Once he wrote a book about stars and finished it with this song:

Thus God Himself
Was too kind to remain idle.
And began to plan the game of signatures,
Signing His likeness into the world.

As a child, Johannes had a sharp mind for learning, but also a humble heart that was soaked in the many Bible stories his grandfather told him. Soon he read the Bible for himself. He was like David, who in Psalm 8 declared: ÒO LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens! (vs.1). He was amazed how God could even use the smallest child to silence the enemies. He looked at the stars, and humbly prayed, ÒWhen I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; what is man that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? (vv.3,4).

Man, so small in importance and size to a star and yet given dominion over the earth, the animals, the birds of the air, and the animals of the sea! Like David, Johannes Kepler exclaimed, ÒO LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth (vs.9). God, high above the universe, set man as the crown of His creation. He gives man, on this tiny planet, His attention and He watches over all of them.

Boys and girls, are you awe-struck? Then take some time this summer to watch the moon, planets and stars. Consider Psalm 8 and sing Psalter 14 as you watch. God, far above the majesty of creation, gave us His signature to watch, and sent His Son to visit us. He gave us His name (look up Exodus 3:14-16!) and revealed Himself through Jesus Christ. For Òneither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given by men, whereby we must be savedÓ (Acts 4:12.

When you study GodÕs creation, remember the prayer of Johannes Kepler:

I give Thee thanks Lord and Creator, that Thou hast given me joy through Thy creation. For I have been ravished with the works of Thy hands. I have revealed unto mankind the glory of Thy works as far as my limited spirit could conceive their infinitude. Should I have brought forward anything that is unworthy of Thee or should I have sought my own fame, be graciously pleased to forgive me. (Johannes Kepler (1571-1630).

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