Psalm 8

Lesson Set -- Updated for 2017

Overview of all workshops in this Rotation

Updated in 2017

  • Art: Discuss stargazing and the wonder of God’s creation; create a crayon resist “Starry Night” painting and put themselves into the picture!
  • Cooking: Shape biscuit dough and recall Psalm 8:4, “the work of your hands.” Discuss how God took great care in shaping the world and each of us.
  • Creative Movement; Children will contemplate the awe and wonder of God’s creation by exploring Psalm 8 through expressive movement.
  • Another Art Workshop: (Because kids love Art) Illustrate adjectives that describe God, while creating a prayer triorama.

Scripture Reference:

Psalm 8

Key Verse:
“O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!” Psalm 8:1a (NIV)

Rotation Objectives: After completing this Rotation, participants will be able to:

  • Name that Psalm 8 is found in the Old Testament of the Bible.
  • Describe two attributes of psalms: David is credited with writing many including Psalm 8; psalms are songs & prayers used to worship God.
  • Share a sense of wonder for God’s amazing creation. (Discuss ways to pay attention to God’s world so as to nurture this sense of awe.)
  • Compare his/her own feelings to David’s realization of how God feels about us.


Story Background Materials:



The version of Psalm 8 that we are using, a combination of NIV, CEV, and NLT…

1 O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory above the heavens. (NIV)
2 With praises from children and from tiny infants, you have built a fortress.
It makes your enemies silent, and all who turn against you are left speechless. (CEV)
3 When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, (NIV)
4 Then I ask, “Why do you care about us humans?
Why are you concerned for us weaklings?”
5 You made us a little lower than you yourself,
And you have crowned us with glory and honor. (CEV)
6 You put us in charge of everything you made, giving us authority over all things--
7 the sheep and the cattle
and all the wild animals,
8 the birds in the sky, the fish in the sea,
and everything that swims the ocean currents. (NLT)
9 O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!


Bible Story Overview

Psalm 8 is not the sort of Bible “story” that we typically teach. There is no plot to sequence, no historical events to learn... however Psalm 8 gives us much to contemplate:

  • What does it mean to revere God’s name?
  • What part of God’s magnificent creation makes us say, “Wow”?
  • What does this Psalm teach us about our place in God’s creation and in God’s heart?
  • How should we respond to our loving, creating God?


Psalm 8 is a beautiful example of a hymn or song of praise. It begins with acclaim for God’s excellent name (or character). God can even use “tiny infants” (the weakest people) to silence enemies. The Psalmist contemplates God’s works in the heavens in awe: “the moon and the stars, which you have set in place.” This leads to thoughts of the insignificance of humans. “Why do you bother with us? Why take a second look our way?” paraphrases Eugene Peterson in The Message. The Psalmist is amazed with God’s concern (and love) for people. We are valuable to God! God considers us important! God has given us the duty of dominion over the earth. Yet, of the creatures on earth, we alone have a unique and intimate relationship with our creator God. What a humbling and also exalting experience!

What are Psalms?

The Old Testament book of Psalms is a collection of poems, prayers, and hymns used in the worship services of ancient Israel. The Psalms (also called the “Psalter") were written over a long period of time, perhaps as much as a thousand years. Scholars believe David was the author of many of the Psalms, including Psalm 8.

Over the centuries, Psalms have given us a language with which to communicate with God. The New Testament tells us that early Christians gathered and sang Psalms. Psalms are still used today in prayer and worship. What is the appeal of the book of Psalms? Various Psalmists were honestly sharing their feelings with God. Many of us receive comfort in reading the Psalms because we find words that echo our particular circumstances – from despair (Psalm 42), to praise (Psalm 100), from guilt (Psalm 51) to forgiveness (Psalm 32) and comfort (Psalm 23). Psalm 8 has been suggested as one to read, “to understand your self more clearly.” When we may not be able to form words, the Psalms speak for us; their honesty guides us to a deeper relationship with God. Author Max Lucado says Psalms are a collection “strung together by one common thread – a heart hungry for God.”

Psalm 8

Psalm 8 is a beautiful example of a hymn or song of praise. It is the first hymn of praise found in the Psalter. It is unlike any other hymn of praise in the Old Testament in that the entire Psalm is composed as a direct address to God (Mays, pg 65). Imagine David, keeping watch over a flock of sheep. It is nighttime. There is no light pollution to block the glorious twinkling of a vast canopy of moon and stars. Psalm 8 could have well been written in such circumstances. Psalm 8 reads as David’s personal conversation with God. It’s our conversation as well.

God’s majesty

Psalm 8 begins and ends with the same verse, exclaiming praise and adoration to God: “O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!” (NIV) Notice that the first “Lord” is all in capital letters. This is to show that in the original Hebrew, the Psalmist was using two different names to reveal different aspects of God’s character. “LORD” was Yahweh, the name that God used to answer Moses at the burning bush, “I AM WHO I AM”. The second “Lord” was Adonai. It would be like David saying:

O Yahweh, God who is and always will be; unchanging God; holy one …
our Adonai, loving sovereign master; protector; leader; one who cares for us …
your revealed character (your name) is majesty. In all the earth there is no one like you.

The key to the Lord’s character is his glory, which fills the whole earth (Toombs, page 263). As a shepherd, David had many opportunities to see God’s glory evident in nature. What parts of God’s creation make us stop and say, “Wow – God’s name is to be revered.” David’s awe and amazement are expressed in his words: “how majestic is your name in all the earth!”

Trusting God with child-like faith

David has praised God’s name. Now he notes that children – the weakest members of society – are God’s biggest supporters! Perhaps this is because as adults we too easily deny God? Jesus quoted verse 2 of Psalm 8 on the day of his triumphant entry into Jerusalem (Matthew 21:12-16). Jesus was in the Temple teaching and healing. Meanwhile children were shouting “Hosanna to the Son of David.” The religious leaders were offended; they felt what the children were saying was going against God. This Jesus couldn’t be God! When they asked Jesus to silence the children, Jesus replied with, haven’t you ever read about it in Scripture? It says, “From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise.” (NIV) God’s glory is surely evident in the way God uses the humble and the weak to carry out his work.

Our place in God’s creation

Given David’s intimate knowledge of nature we are not surprised that it leads him to view himself and all humans in light of God’s glorious creation. While marveling at the moon and the stars, the careful sculpting work of God’s fingers, David ponders, “Why do you care about us humans? Why are you concerned for us weaklings?” (CEV)

We have to remember that the Psalmist could see a few hundred stars, but with today’s technology we know about galaxies and the infinity of space. This makes it even more amazing! In light of such complexity, such beauty, and the awe and wonder at what God has created, why does God bother with us? We are small and insignificant creatures, hardly worth God’s attention. “This is a profound section for those of us (all of us, really) who periodically start thinking of ourselves, and our concerns as the absolute center of the universe. Compared to the vastness of the universe, I am nothing.” (Martin) It’s a philosophical question that could lead one to despair. It’s important to keep in mind however, that the feeling of “smallness” doesn’t come from “small compared to a big cosmos” but from the awe of God’s amazing creation. David doesn’t stop with his question of our place in the larger scheme. It’s as if he comes to a startling realization: God considers us valuable!

You made us a little lower than you yourself,
And you have crowned us with glory and honor. (CEV)
You put us in charge of everything you made,
giving us authority over all things (NLT)

God has placed us in a position of honor! God approves of us! This is both humbling and uplifting. We have a responsibility – to care for all of God’s creation. This position as viceroy of God’s earth does not belong to us, but was bestowed on us as a gift by our Creator. It is good to consider: How can I pay attention to the splendor of God’s creation to gain a perspective of awe? How am I crowned with glory and honor? How will I respond to the world around me, given God’s trust in me? “God made man to be the expression of God's life … the means by which the invisible God would be made visible to his creatures. Man was to be the instrument by which God would do his work in the world and the expression of the character and being of God.” (Stedman)

Concluding reflection - Divine majesty and human dignity

Psalm 8 finishes with a repeat of the opening verse – extolling God’s majesty. The Psalmist, and now we too, have contemplated our place in God’s creation and find our selves humbled yet uplifted. “O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!"



Sources:
Bratcher, Dennis. “Introducing the Psalms.” 2005. Web.
Constable, Thomas L. “Notes on Psalms.” 2004. Web.
Lucado, Max. Life Lessons from the Inspired Word of God – Book of Psalms. Dallas:
Word Publishing, 1997.
Martin, Lisa, et al. Postings at rotation.org – discussion of Writing Team on Psalm 8. May 17–July 6, 2005.
Mays, James L. Psalms (Interpretation, a Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching. Louisville, KY: John Knox Press, 1994.
Muncherian, Stephen. “How Majestic is Your Name. Index of Sermons by Text." 2001. Web. Stedman, Ray C. “God and Man. Folksongs of Faith." 1969 Web.
Toombs, Lawerence E. The Psalms. Nashville: Abingdon, 1971.



A Lesson Set written by Carol Hulbert from: First United Methodist Church

Ann Arbor, MI 

Copyright 2009 First United Methodist Church, Ann Arbor, MI. 
Permission to copy materials granted for non-commercial use provided credit is given and all cited references
remain with this material

Original Post

Psalm 8

Art Workshop

Starry Night with Silouette
Summary of Lesson Activities:

Using stargazing as an example, discuss God’s amazing creation and the feelings of wonder and awe they invoke. View a print of Van Gogh’s “Starry Night.”  Students will create their own starry night with a crayon resist technique and use silhouettes to place themselves in their picture.

Scripture Reference:

Psalm 8

Key/Memory Verse:  “O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!”  Psalm 8:1a (NIV)

Lesson Objectives:

At the end of the Rotation, kids should be able to:

  • Locate Find Psalm 8 in the Old Testament of the Bible.
  • Learn some attributes of Psalms: David is credited with writing many; Psalms were/are songs & prayers used to worship God.
  • Contemplate God’s amazing creation to discover a feeling of wonder. Discuss ways to pay attention to God’s world so as to nurture this sense of awe.
  • Explore our relationship to God: compared to God’s vast creation we seem insignificant, but yet we are important and valuable to God! Recognize that this is both humbling and up-lifting.


Leader Preparation:

  • Read the scripture for this lesson.
  • Read and reflect on the overview material provided for this lesson.
  • Gather the following materials.
    • Bibles
    • Easel with paper or white board; appropriate marker
    • Print of Van Gogh’s Starry Night
    • Paper - 75 lb. or heavier (larger number) watercolor paper
    • Crayons
    • Table covering; Paint smocks
    • Black tempera paint; Water; Cups to use for paint – yogurt cups with tops
    • Paint brushes (one person student - not foam brushes)
    • Precut silhouettes. Search for "children’s silhouettes," enlarge to desired size with copier or draw your own silhouettes. (Optional for older students: black construction paper wider than watercolor paper, white chalk, scissors)
    • Handouts of Psalm 8 (1 per student; optional)
    • Psalm 8 verse strips (an enlarged copy of Psalm 8, cut apart into verses)
  • Try out the materials so you know how hard the students must press with the crayons. [Important Note: If you create a sample, do not show it to the students. Showing a sample has been known to dampen student creativity as students attempt to create one “just like the teachers”.]
  • Prepare one silhouette large enough to fit on the Van Gogh print.
  • Cover the tables. When 3rd grade and up visits, place Bibles around the seats.
  • Mix black tempera paint and add a small amount of water to thin it down to a milky consistency. It should be able to slowly drip off a loaded brush. Fill several yogurt cups.
  • Trim one copy of the Psalm 8 Handout so that it fits inside a Bible. Set aside this Bible to use to read to the class.



Lesson Plan


Opening:

Greet your students warmly, welcoming them to the Art Workshop. Introduce yourself and any other adults.

Say:  Tell me about the last time you went outside at night and looked up at the stars. (Encourage the children to briefly tell you about their experiences with stargazing.)

Ask:  How did you feel about what you saw?
Did it make you sleepy?
Did it make you wonder about things?

Ask:  I wonder how many stars we can see? (accept all answers; admit that there are so many we couldn’t count them all)  
I wonder if seeing all those stars... you thought about God’s amazing power in creating stars, planets, moons and earth?
Does God’s awesome creation ever make you feel like singing?

Say:  There is a song in the Bible written by David, which expresses his feelings about God’s creation.
Ask:  Who remembers who David is? (David & Goliath, King David)
Say:  David spent part of his life as a shepherd, watching over sheep. In Bible times sheep slept outside at night, with their shepherd, under the stars.  Let’s find David’s song in our Bibles.


Dig:

Say:  The book of Psalms helps us understand how to talk to God and how to worship him. We can learn much from the ancient songs and poems that make up the book of Psalms.

For 1st and 2nd graders:
Say: 
That's why it is important to read and study the Bible. Today, I will read to you from the Old Testament of the Bible. These are words that Jesus would have heard when he was your age. I will read from the book of Psalms.
For 3rd grade and up:
Do:   Make sure that everyone has access to a Bible.
Ask:  Where do we find the book of Psalms in the Bible? (in the Old Testament)

Do:  Have everyone find Psalm 8 in his or her Bible .
Remind them that opening their Bible in the middle generally brings them close to the Psalms. Point out the chapter numbers in the heading. Point out that the small numbers in the text are verse numbers. On the easel or white board write “Psalm 8:1” telling students that the 8 stands for chapter 8 and the 1 means verse 1. You may wish to note that the “P” is silent in the word “Psalm.”

Say: Listen to David’s song, Psalm 8.


For all students:
Say:  Slowly read to them, Psalm 8 reading from a copy of the Psalm 8 handout.  
Note:
It’s important to reinforce that this passage comes from the Bible by holding open a Bible to Psalm 8 even though you are reading the verses from the paper you cut out earlier.

Ask: 
Did that sound like a poem or a song? (accept all answers)
How could David’s words in this Psalm help us worship God? (accept all answers)

Say:  The Psalms are considered poetry or songs. Hebrew poetry didn’t rhyme words. Instead it repeats ideas.
Ask:  Did you hear something repeated in Psalm 8? (first & last verse)

Introduce the Art Project:

Do:  Show the Van Gogh print.
Say:  Here is a print of painting done by a famous artist by the name of Vincent Van Gogh. He called his painting, Starry Night.
Ask:  Do you suppose this artist ever went out at night to watch stars?

Say:  Van Gogh was one of the first painters to not just paint what he saw, but to paint what he felt.  Close your eyes to listen, as I reread parts of Psalm 8.  As you hear these words, think about your feelings while stargazing. Think about how Psalm 8 tells us that David was awed by God’s night sky.

Do:  Reread verse 1, and verses 3-5. Ask students to reopen their eyes.

Say:  Let’s create our own starry night pictures.  We will start with crayons. You may draw other parts of the picture as well, but concentrate on the stars. Remember that Van Gogh did not show a lot of detail in his painting.  In our pictures we want some white space on the page because when we finish crayoning, we will use black paint to cover the entire page. This creates what is called a "crayon resist painting."

Do:  Quickly demonstrate the crayoning – how hard they have to press down and the effect of the black paint wash. Make sure everyone understands that they should not cover the entire page with crayon. Explain that they may crayon themselves into their drawing or use another method. Place the specially cut silhouette in the bottom of the Van Gogh print.

Say:  When I add what is called a silhouette, it looks a bit like someone sitting on the hillside looking at the stars. You can add yourself into your painting!

Do:  Pass out paper and crayons. Have students write their name (first and last) on the back of their paper before they start. [Add their grade too. Ask the Shepherd to help with this.]
When it appears that everyone knows what to do and has started working, begin the “discussion” portion of lesson.

Discussion While Working:

  • Say:  David is credited with writing many of the Psalms. The book of Psalms contains 150 chapters. Scholars think David may have written half of the Psalms.  There are short Psalms – Psalm 117 has only 2 verses. Then we have a Psalm that has more verses than any other chapter in the Bible; Psalm 119 has 176 verses.

  • Say:  We have talked about how stars in the sky make us feel awed by God’s amazing creation. Name other things in nature that amaze you.

  • Say:  If we never went outside at night we could easily miss the beauty of God’s creation. If we stay inside on a rainy day we might miss seeing a rainbow.
    Ask:   What can keep us from noticing what God has created? (we get too busy, we forget to look, etc.)
    Say:  It almost takes practice to notice God’s magnificent creation.
    Ask:  What are ways to make sure we pay attention to God’s world around us? (we can remind each other. For example: text a friend if the sunset is pretty)
    Say:  God wants us to notice his creation and to thank him.

  • Say:  David had a close relationship with God. David spent many nights in the fields with his sheep. I bet he spent a lot of time talking to God in prayer. We have heard how David was awed by God’s creation. David was also amazed to realize what God thought of people!
    Ask:  What is it that David came to understand? [If necessary read verses 4-6. See the first page of your Overview Material, which uses the CEV and is easiest to understand.]
    Say:  David realized that God, our great, all-powerful creator, cares for us! God thinks we are important. God has given us important work to do.
    Ask:  How does it feel to discover that God thinks you are important? (allow responses; share a story from your own faith journey)

Do:  At least 12 min. before class ends, give a two-minute warning to finish up for the next step.

Art Process, Part 2:

Do:  Supply smocks, paintbrushes and watered-down paint. Instruct the students to paint in strokes from left to right, starting at the top of the page and working to the bottom. Show them how to lightly touch the paper with the brush. Do not over-paint.

Do:  Students that didn’t draw themselves into the painting should pick out a “silhouette.”  Use chalk to write their name on the back. Explain that the paintings must dry and then you will add the silhouette for them.

For older students:
If time allows, older students may design and cut their own silhouette. Provide them with black construction paper, white chalk, and scissors. Model how to trace out a design on one side of the black paper, leaving the lower edge, or baseline, intact. They may wish to include buildings or trees as Van Gogh did. Strongly encourage them to put themselves in the picture! Have them cut along the chalk lines. Write names on the chalk side of the silhouette. Set aside to add later.


Closing:

Do:  Have students share their creations, briefly telling about their starry night scenes.

Say:  When we take time to think about our amazing God – his awesome power, his deep love for us, we say: O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!

Do:  Make sure that everyone receives a copy of Psalm 8.

If you have extra time:

Use the Psalm 8 verse strips – an enlarged copy of Psalm 8 without verse numbers that has been cut so that each verse is one strip. Have students put the strips together in correct order. If they are doing well, cut the strips into smaller sections, breaking up sentences. Have the Shepherd help with this activity.


Resources:

Slotnick, Cindy. “Starry Night” (A lesson plan submitted to Incredible Art Department). Year unknown. Web.
Art print of Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” (20 x16”) purchased at JoAnn’s (larger print) & Michael’s.
Silhouettes attached: all licensed under CC0 Public Domain.

 



A lesson written by Carol Hulbert from: First United Methodist Church, Ann Arbor, MI

Attachments

Photos (4)

Psalm 8

Cooking Workshop

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.


Leader Preparation:

  • Read the scripture for this lesson.
  • Read and reflect on the overview material provided for this lesson.
  • Gather the materials.

Supplies List:

  • 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.



Lesson Plan


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.

Distribute Bibles.
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.

Cooking Activity:
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.

Closing:
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.


Resources:

  • 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

Attachments

Psalm 8
Art (or Creative Writing) Workshop

Sample triorama
Summary of Lesson Activities:
Illustrate adjectives that describe God, while creating a prayer triorama.

For scripture reference and objectives, see above.


Leader Preparation:

  • Read the scripture for this lesson.
  • Read and reflect on the overview material provided for this lesson.
  • Gather the materials.

Supplies List:

  • Bibles
  • A stiff type of paper (such as card stock); one already folded into a rectangular triorama (see attachment at end of lesson)
  • Handouts of Psalm 8 (1 per student - Create this using whatever Bible version you will use)
  • Markers, colored pencils, crayons
  • Some plates or bowls or other containers to distribute the markers/crayons
  • An easel and an appropriate marker
  • Paper or plastic cups (6 per student) - optional


Before Start of Class:

  • Place Bibles around the table.
  • Place various colors of markers and crayons into smaller containers. (Makes it easier for students to reach when these containers get distributed around the tables.)
  • Fold about 15 pieces of card stock: hold the paper horizontally (landscape style) and fold into equal thirds. [Refer to the example.]


Lesson Plan

Opening- Welcome and Lesson Introduction:
Greet your students warmly, welcoming them to today’s Cool Disciples workshop. Introduce yourself and any other adults.

Say: Today we’ll be talking about words. And we’ll be illustrating some words and creating something that will help us in our prayer time. [Show them a blank folded triorama.] First, let’s start with a 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.] A suggestion: “O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! Thank you for loving us and for wanting us to be your friends. Help us to see the majesty, the beauty and the wonder of all of your creation. (End with the Lord’s Prayer) Amen.

Dig - Main Content and Reflection:
Ask: Who can tell me what words you could use to describe a puppy?
Write their replies on the easel (soft, small, brown, etc.)

Say: These are describing words, words that tell us about our puppy. It is a ____ puppy. It is a ____ puppy. (Use a couple of the words the kids have given.) We call these describing words, adjectives. Adjectives tell us what size, or what color or what shape. Adjectives help us to describe something in more detail. Now we are going jump from thinking about soft, cuddly puppies to thinking about some words that we could use to describe God.

Ask:  Is it easy to describe God? (accept all answers)
Say: I would like to read to you Psalm 8. Listening to Psalm 8 might help you to think of some adjectives to describe God.

Do:  Make sure that everyone has access to a Bible.

Say: The Psalms were written many years before Jesus was born.
Ask: Where would we find the book of Psalms in the Bible? (in the Old Testament)
Why is it easy to find Psalms in the Bible? (because when you open a Bible in half you’ll likely be close to the Psalms)

Do:  Have the children find Psalm 8. [Have the older kids help the younger kids.]

Say:  As I read to you Psalm 8, be thinking about what sorts of adjectives would describe God.

Do:  Read Psalm 8 slowly and dramatically. Ask them to tell you describing words they thought of as they heard Psalm 8. List their answers on the easel.
[Perhaps you’ll need to prime the pump…Ask them how they felt as they heard Psalm 8.]

Start the project:
Say: We are going to be making a triorama – a three-sided standing card. You may choose any three different describing words, either from this list we’ve made or any words that you may come up with. Write these three different words, one on each of the three sides of your triorama. Though if you'd want to you could write on all the sides. Write them in such a way that the word looks like the adjective. [You may need to give an example:  The word ‘majestic’ could be written to fill the space. Give an example only if the kids seem clueless.]

Do:  Pass out the art supplies. You may need to help younger students to write. Students will want to unfold the triorama in order to work at the project.

Discussion (as students are working):
Say: One of the nice things about psalms is that they give us words with which we can use to talk to God.
Ask: What do we call talking to God? (prayer)
Do you ever have a hard time praying to God, maybe you didn’t know what to say?

Say: If you are ever having a hard time praying, or a hard time knowing what to say to God, you can open a Bible to Psalms and read a psalm as a prayer! For example if you wanted to express to God your feelings about God’s creation you could read Psalm 8 as a prayer…
“Dear God, When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, then I ask, Why do you care about us humans? Why are you concerned for us weaklings?”

Ask: Who can tell me about any other Psalms? (accept all answers)
Say: Psalms can be used as prayers. They are also used as songs.

Ask: Who wrote Psalm 8? (David)
Who remembers who David is? (King David, David & Goliath)
What was one of the jobs that David did? (shepherd)
Say: David spent part of his life as a shepherd, watching over sheep. In Bible times sheep slept outside at night, with their shepherd, under the stars. 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 was it that David was wondering about in Psalm 8? (Psalm 8:4)
Say: David asked God, “Why do you care about us humans?”

Ask: Have you ever wondered that same question?
Why do you suppose people are so important to God?
How has God shown you that you are important to him?

Closing:
Say: Keep your triorama where you will see it everyday. Perhaps on the dinner table at home. Use it in your prayer time with God.

Do:  Have each of the children choose their favorite adjective to share with the class. Have each student say a one -line prayer such as “God you are ______ (fill in adjective).” Close the prayer with your own adjective and Amen.

If you have extra time:
Distribute six cups to any student who has finished with their project. Have them do a 3-2-1 cup stacking formation while reciting Psalm 8. (Use the Psalm 8 handout.) The cups start off in a stack and are separated to form a pyramid with 3 cups on the base. Each time a cup is touched another portion of the verse is repeated. A suggestion:

         O LORD,  our Lord,   how majestic   is your   name in    all the earth!

               1              2                  3                      4             5                  6  

 


 

Resources: Smith, Stephanie. a Creative Writing Workshop for Psalm 8 (which is no longer at this site).  2005.


 

A lesson written by Carol Hulbert for First United Methodist Church, Ann Arbor, MI, USA

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