Last night when the national news came on, I heard they are no longer recognizing the planet Pluto as a planet. Pluto has been demoted. It is now a mere “dwarf planet”. I checked it out on the internet today and sure enough, 2,500 scientists and astronomers voted at the International Astronomers Union General Assembly that Pluto, which has been called a planet since being discovered in 1930, has been reclassified!
Needlesstosay, my feathers were a bit ruffled. I guess you could say it got my dander up. Let me explain. My first realization of the reality of the planet Pluto was in the sixth grade when I was in elementary school. Basil Murray was one of the finest teachers around back in the l950’s. He was the first male teacher I ever had–young and full of energy–and he loved children. And we loved him. He made school exciting and learning an adventure. He was always helping the “less fortunate” kids feel welcome. He figured out right away who the good students were and put them to work helping the other kids fit in. So in his class, everybody was important and felt like they belonged.
When the Annual Science Fair came around, he presented a challenge to the class. We were told any class could submit an entry and somebody would win First Place and we could all attend the event. We would be competing with schools from all over the City. But first, we needed a project. We huddled together and came up with a plan. We would build a miniature Solar System, complete with all the planets hanging in Space. Somebody suggested a big box, like a freezer carton tipped on its side to stand up really tall! We’d have to paint the inside like Space (black!) and then we needed to make stars and all the planets in order. There were nine in all and the smallest one was–you guessed it–Pluto! What fun!
We read our Science books and the Encyclopedia and figured out to scale just how big the “planets” should be: we made each one out of papier-mache and painted the stars and planets to look like the real ones (at least the ones we’d seen in pictures). We hung the planets on fishing string from the top of the box and hung a curtain across the front of the “window” on the box we’d cut out so you could look into the Solar System. Everyone worked on the project for weeks, and when we finished we could hardly wait for the big event. What a special project! And Mr. Murray put a spotlight on the floor to shine up into the hanging orbs. Wow! And they were all in order, just the way they were supposed to be!
As time approached for the Science Fair, Mr. Murray cheered us on and just about the entire class wanted to go. Many of our parents went with us that night. We went from table to table looking over all the exhibits from different schools in the City. Our exhibit of the Solar System, complete with Pluto hanging there, won hands down! We were so proud of Mr. Murray and he was proud of us.
Years later, after graduation from high school, I was working at the Capitol Building and I saw Mr. Murray there one day. I’d know that smile anywhere. I walked up to him and said, “Do you remember me?” Of course, he did. He had moved to another state and had retired from teaching. We reminisced about the Science project that took First Place at the Science Fair. I was married with children but hadn’t forgotten the wonderful teacher God provided for me in the sixth grade. He helped to mold my character in positive ways and I will always remember his influence in my life.
Today, as I think about what man is doing with Pluto, I look to God who created Pluto and the entire Solar System. There is only one reference in the Bible to planets: 2 Kings 23:5. But Colossians 1:16 says: “For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible. . .all things have been created by Him and for Him.”