Focal verse

From your lofty abode you water the mountains; the earth is satisfied with the fruit of your work. You cause the grass to grow for the cattle and plants for people to cultivate, to bring forth food from the earth” (Psalm 104:13-14).


In Missouri, where I live, we had a wet spring. One particularly heavy rainfall happened during the school day. The wind picked up and the sky darkened while rain plummeted to the earth. Praying for their peace, I knew my children were safe. But I wondered how they felt hearing the rain pounding on the roof and the wind whipping through the trees.

After school my kindergartener came home and told me how he experienced the storms. His eyes glowed with joy, not fear. He delighted in telling me about his day. “Mrs. Eckhoff turned the lights down, and we sat by the window, watching the rain.” Rather than focusing on the students’ worries, his teacher invited their awe. The rain and storms were not to be feared but to be marveled at. A class of 5- and 6-year-olds were connected to one another and to the wonder of creation.

For many families June is the kickoff to summer, with new schedules and routines. The morning rush of getting ready for school can give way to sports, picnics, hours at the pool or playground, and evenings outside.

Summer also brings a chance to sit and reflect on the wonder of creation. What would it look like to take time this summer and pause to see the beauty before you? Maybe it would mean a few minutes with shoes and socks off, feeling the grass under your bare feet, the rootedness and strength of the ground holding you. Perhaps your family could sit on the front steps or watch from your window as a storm rolls through. Or simply say “amen” when you encounter the beauty of flowers blooming or a bird flying overhead.

Opportunities for wonder and awe are all around us, in every season. This summer I’m taking a cue from my son’s teacher not to rush through the beauty before me but to marvel at it and give thanks.


  • Take a nature walk as a family, focusing not on how far you go but on the beauty of creation. Read the creation story (Genesis 1) outside, in nature, and give thanks to the God of all creation.
  • Pray together before meals or to start or end your day, using the text from the hymn “For the Beauty of the Earth” (ELW 879).

Prayer practice

Go outside with pen, paper, crayons and markers. Draw or write about what you are thankful for in God’s creation. Afterward, share with one another and pray together:

Dear God, thank you for the sky overhead and the trees that provide shade. We give thanks for animals that make their homes in our yards and in the woods. Open our eyes to the wonder around us—grasshoppers and crickets singing, woodpeckers in search of food, and fresh tomatoes from the vine. Teach us to tend the gifts before us so they will remain for years to come. Amen. 

Kimberly Knowle-Zeller
Kimberly Knowle-Zeller is an ordained ELCA pastor, mother of two, spouse of an ELCA pastor and co-author of The Beauty of Motherhood: Grace-Filled Devotions for the Early Years. She lives with her family in Cole Camp, Mo. Her website is

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