The Microbes and the Planets

Did you know that there are trillions of little tiny creatures living inside your bodies? They’re called microbiota, and they're SOOO tiny that to them, you and your body… are like a planet. To my microbiota I am Planet [your name]. You are Planet [name of child present]. You are Planet [name of other child present]. You are Planet [name of other child present].

Microbes are so tiny that you can’t see them, can’t hear them, and can’t feel them move. One microbe all by itself can’t do too much. They live in your planet-body and depend on you for their entire lives. But your planet-body also depends on them to stay healthy. If the microbiota are out of balance, you are more likely to get sick. Have any of you ever been sick? Yes! Me too! What did you have? Have you ever had a fever? Have you ever thrown up? When this happens, it might be because the microbiota in your planet-body got out of balance. Some microbiota protect you from bacteria that make you sick. Other microbiota help digest your food. In general, if you are healthy, you can thank all those trillions of tiny microbiota working together to keep things in balance.

So our bodies are like a planet, but our PLANET, Earth, is also like a BODY! And people are like one kind of microbiota. I am Microbe [your name]. You are Microbe [name of child present]. You are Microbe [name of child present]. You are Microbe [name of child present]. Most of the time, our Planet Earth is soooo big, and we are sooo tiny compared to it, that we don’t even notice or remember how much we depend on our Planet: for the air we breathe, for the food we eat, for the water we drink. But just like the microbiota in our bodies, our Planet Earth also depends on US. Just like your body depends on your microbiota to stay balanced and healthy, our Planet Earth depends on PEOPLE to stay balanced.

You probably know that our Planet Earth is not very healthy right now. This is because people have been out of balance. Sometimes this feels like a really big problem for one little microbe like me. Our Planet Earth is SOOO big! But together with lots of other people, I am working to get our Planet Earth back in balance. I do little things, like biking or walking instead of driving [or something else you do]. I do medium things, like going to meetings with government workers or talking to people about how important it is to put things back into balance. And sometimes I get to be part of big things.

Our Planet Earth is sick, and each of us are just tiny microbes. But working all together, we can push the balance of our Planet Earth back towards healthy.

Now I want the kids to come up here on this platform with me, and I want everybody in church today to work together to make an ocean wave, so we can all feel less like tiny microbes, and more like the big, important thing we all are. When I raise my arms, you all raise your arms too (as you're able), and we’ll all say WOOO!! Then the people near us will either jump up or raise their arms (if it's comfortable) and also say WOOO, and we’ll watch the wave travel out from our platform to the back of the church. We’ll do it three times.

Are you ready?

Scanning electron micrograph of a human T lymphocyte (also called a T cell) from the immune system of a healthy donor, glowing blue on a black field.

Scanning electron micrograph of a human T lymphocyte (also called a T cell), part of the immune system

An arc of Earth's surface, blue oceans and swirling white clouds, taken from space