Summary of Lesson Activities:
A hands-on cooking project shaping biscuit dough recalls Psalm 8:3, “the work of your fingers.”
For scripture and objectives, see above.
- Read the scripture for this lesson.
- Read and reflect on the overview material provided for this lesson.
- Gather the materials.
- Bibles, kitchen timer, salt, all purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking soda, honey, zipper sandwich bags, small containers of jams & jellies, and if needed: “non-egg” egg replacement product
- Cups, napkins, small plates
- Items in refrigerator: buttermilk, eggs, and soymilk (if needed)
- Items in kitchen: bowl, measuring cups & spoons, mixing spoon, table knives
- A binoculars (can be a toy one, but needs to adequately produce effect of bringing close, something that is far away)
- One piece of red construction paper, scissors, Sharpie marker; masking tape
- Handouts of Psalm 8
- Copies of the recipe (see attached document at the end of this lesson)
Before Start of Class:
- Wash the work tables.
- Set out all ingredients. Decide if you want to pre-measure any of the ingredients.
- Preheat the oven to 375º. Line 2 or 3 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Cut the construction paper into a large heart shape. On the heart write, “God’s Heart.” Tape the heart to the binoculars in such a way that the binoculars can still be used.
Opening- Welcome and Lesson Introduction:
Greet your students warmly, welcoming them to the Cooking Workshop. Introduce yourself and any other adults. [Note: The Shepherd will quietly take attendance, etc. while you are starting your lesson.]
Say: Today in the cooking workshop we will be creating treats to eat (or perhaps to share) and we will learn about Psalm 8. Let’s begin our time together with prayer.
Ask for any prayer requests. Ask if anyone would like to lead the group in prayer. Use the Lord’s Prayer as the ending. [You may ask one or two students to lead the Lord’s Prayer.]
Be prepared to say a prayer yourself, working in prayer requests. A suggestion: “Majestic and awesome God, when we think about your amazing creation we are so amazed and filled with awe and wonder! It is reassuring to learn that you love us. Help us to think about your wonderful creation, the works of your fingers, and your gifts to us. Amen”
Dig-Main Content and Reflection:
Ask: What are your favorite foods to cook? [Not favorite to eat!]
Why do you like creating those particular foods?
How do you feel about cooking projects that allow you to be messy?
Say: We are going to do a project in the kitchen today where we will use our hands (and maybe get a little messy). In the cooking workshop we sometimes first read from our Bibles before we make “kitchen creations” that tie to what we learn in the Bible. Today we’ll be using our hands to shape and form dough. See if you can imagine how our cooking project will relate to today’s Bible passage.
Ask: Where do we find the book of Psalms in the Bible? (Old Testament)
Have everyone find Psalm 8 in the Bible.
Remind them that opening the Bible in the middle gets them close to the Psalms. Have the older kids help the younger kids to find Psalms. Show them that the word Psalms starts with a “P” but sounds like it starts with an “S.” Point out how chapter numbers are large and indicated with a range at the top of each page.
Ask: Who wrote this Psalm? (David)
How do we know? (point out the heading on the Psalm: “A psalm of David"
Say: David is credited with writing many of the psalms. The book of Psalms contains 150 chapters, so there are 150 psalms. It is thought that David may have written about half of the psalms.
Ask: What else does the heading material tell us? “For the director of music. According to gittith. Pronounced Git-ith (where the i’s are both short).
Say: No one knows exactly what a “gittith” is, but we suspect it was a type of musical instrument; it makes sense because the Psalms are songs of praise to God.
Have students take turns reading the scripture out loud. If you are worried about time, read verses 1-5, and verse 9.
Ask: Did that sound like a song of praise to God? (accept all answers)
It also sounds like a conversation doesn’t it?
Re-read verse one in a conversational tone.
Say: It sounds like a conversation between David and God. That also makes this psalm a prayer because pray is conversation with God. Picture this scene: David, in the fields at night watching over his sheep.
Ask: How do you suppose the night sky looks?
What did David think about when he looked at the heavens? (verses 1 & 3)
Say: David was amazed, even overwhelmed by the marvel of God’s creation! He said to God, “you have set your glory above the heavens!”
Ask: In one of these verses we read, does anyone catch a connection to what our cooking project might be? (verse 3 – “When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars)
Say: Today we will create yummy biscuits by shaping dough with our fingers. We will discover that just as God made each of us unique, our biscuits will all look different.
Say: Before we start cooking I have another question. So here’s David, speaking in Psalm 8 to his Creator; first praising God: “how majestic is your name in all the earth!” Then David asks a question that flows from his feelings of awe.
Ask: What was David’s question; see if you can find it in the Bible? (verse 4 - why God, do you care about us)
Say: I want you to think about that question – why does God care about us? We can talk more about that as we cook.
ASK kids about food allergies.
You and the Shepherd should wash your hands first. Then have everyone wash his/her hands. Offer aprons if kids want to wear one.
Based on the number of students present and any allergies, double or triple the ingredients or make 2 or 3 separate batches. Note: If an allergy is present for say milk: then all the biscuits should be made using soy milk. Ditto for the egg substitute. (It requires measuring and mixing with water.)
Have the students follow the recipe to create “Work of thy Fingers Biscuits.”
DO NOT over-mix the dough. The dough will be sticky. (That’s part of the fun!) Having kids flour their hands, helps. The shaping is best done right on the parchment paper.
Discussion points while working (or later while eating):
- The phrase in Psalm 8, “the work of your fingers” reminds us that God was personally involved in creation. He wasn’t just creating from afar. God had a plan for everything to be in its place – the stars, moon, earth, oceans, etc.
- As students take care in shaping their creations, remind them to think of God taking great care in shaping our world and each of us!
- Ask: Why do you suppose God cares so much about humans? (accept all answers; we are important to God because we are part of his creation, God wants to have a personal loving relationship with each one of us)
- Ask: Knowing that God cares so much about us, what should our response be? (praise, worship, prayers of thanksgiving)
- Ask: Do you suppose this knowledge of God’s loving care changes how we act? (need to take good care of each other; care for God’s creation) [with older kids could discuss “dominion”]
While biscuits bake:
Set the timer and gather the students for a reflection activity.
Bring out the binoculars. Ask the Shepherd to go to the other end of the Social Hall.
Say: On a starry night David, the psalmist, compared himself to the splendor of the sky. He felt small, like a tiny speck. But he realized God saw him as large and important. God had crowned all humans with glory and honor. <Name of Shepherd> is a distance away but he/she doesn’t look much smaller than when he/she was right here. Let’s pretend we are looking as God sees.
Ask one child to use the binoculars to see if the Shepherd appears closer/larger.
Say: God’s love is like these binoculars, making us big and important in God’s eyes. Because God loves us, even though we are “tiny specks,” we are close to God; we are big in God’s eyes. In fact Jesus said, God knows us so well, that he even has the hairs on our head counted! What a wonderful feeling to know that God loves us and feels we are each important!
Allow all to take a turn looking through the binoculars.
Share biscuits with jam or jelly. If there are extra biscuits, students may take them home and share with their family both the biscuits and what they have learned.
Make sure everyone has received at least one copy of the Psalm 8 handout.
If you have extra time:
Involve students in helping to cleanup.
- Grady, Joan. Psalm 8: Cooking Workshop (no longer at this site). 2005.
- MacQueen, Neil. A reflection activity that was in a Computer Workshop for Psalm 8. 2005.
A lesson written by Carol Hulbert for First United Methodist Church, Ann Arbor, MI