FAITH QUEST

 

PSALM 23

 

 

 

PRAISING PUPPETS

 

This workshop will begin at approximately 10 a.m. and you will need to begin working in your reflection journals by 10:35. Faith Quest concludes at 10:45

 

Scripture:      Psalm 23 with emphasis on verse 4.  The entire Psalm is as follows:  Psalm 23:1-6 (A psalm by David).   The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.  He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters; he restores my soul.  He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake.  Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff - they comfort me.  You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever. (New Revised Standard Version, with just a touch of King James!)

(A poster of this should be on display in the room.)

 

Concepts:           God is with us even when we’re scared.

                                   

Objectives:     This workshop will focus on knowing that God is always with us even when we feel anxious, worried or afraid.   

 

Procedure:                                          

Welcome and Introductions:

1.      Greet the children and introduce yourself.  Remember you are interacting with a different group of students each week that may not know you.

2.      Tell the children that today they will use the puppets to learn that God is with us all the time.

 

Bible Story:   

1.      Show the children the book of Psalms in the Bible.  Ask them what is an easy way to find this book.  Tell them that Psalms is near the middle of the Bible and by opening it to the middle, they will be near Psalms. 

2.      Ask the children if they know what psalms are.  They were poems and songs written long ago by the Hebrew people to express their emotions to God.  Many of the psalms were written by King David.  Some psalms share joy, some sorrow, some ask God for help and some sing praises to God.

3.      Practice one of the memorization activities. See the handout describing these activities. Tell the children that because the words of Psalm 23 are helpful when they are worried, sick or afraid, they will be memorizing it.  They will be doing this same activity in each workshop throughout the rotation.

 

Application:  

Older Children:  (3rd-5th grades)

1.      Divide the children into groups of eight.  There will be four puppeteers and four readers in each group.

2.      NOTE:  The numbers may not work out exactly.  Just be creative to give everyone an opportunity to either manipulate a puppet or to read a part.  Maybe you could read one part, or two children could share a part.  Perhaps there could be some extra friends (puppets) who watch the action even though they have no voice part—just whatever seems to work best. 

3.      Pass out four puppets to each group and pass out enough scripts so that everyone has one.  It is helpful for the puppeteers to have a script so they know what action they are to demonstrate.   It is also best for each reader to have an individual script. You might highlight the scripts so that it is easier for a reader to find their parts. 

4.      Allow the groups several minutes to read through and practice their skit. 

5.      Ask one group to come to the puppet stage to perform the play for the other group. Switch audience and participants so that everyone has a chance to be in front of the class.

 

Younger Children (1st and 2nd grades) 

1.      NOTE:  A previous puppet workshop leader who used a script similar to this said the 2nd graders could read the script without difficulty.  Do what seems best to you—whether the 2nd graders need to have the script read to them—or whether they can do the activity as above for the older children.

2.      To begin this part of the lesson, have all the children sit as an audience while the workshop leader, shepherd(s), and/or workshop assistant perform the play below.  One person can read two parts to cover all the characters in the play.

3.      Have a brief discussion of the play to assure that the children understand most of the story.  If they seem confused, continue the discussion or perform it again, although they will hear it two more times before the end of the workshop. 

4.      Pass out eight puppets to eight children.  Have them come to the stage as two different groups of four.  There will be two “Mikes” two “Ashleys”, etc.  Have the two sets of puppets at two different locations on the stage.  Workshop leader, shepherd(s), etc read through the play again, this time allowing the children to act it out with their puppets.

5.      Ask the performers to pass their puppets to the remaining children so they can act out the story while you read it again.   As above, the numbers may not work out evenly so just be creative about what to do. 

 

NOTE ON THE PLAY:  Remind the children to use lots of expression and emotion in their voice when the read.  Also remind them that the puppets can exaggerate the action, such as a puppet shaking when it is afraid, or covering it’s face to try to hide from the storm.   You might also want to provide some small props such as a small flashlight, some twigs that might look like they had fallen down, or a small pillow for pretending to sleep.  This is certainly optional and might just interfere with the play.  Use your own judgment. 

 

 

Wrap-up:  

1.      End the plays at 10:25 to allow time for discussion. Ask the children to return the puppets to their storage location and to sit down quietly.

2.      The following are ideas for discussion.  Use the questions/ideas that seem best to you and seem to fit the group.  You may not have time to cover all these.

·          Ask the children why they think Brian’s mom prayed and what she might have said in her prayer.  Many answers are acceptable—this is just to help the children think about praying during a time of being afraid and worried.

·          Ask the children if God answered her prayer even though the family had damage to their house and truck.  Help them see that God does not always keep us from harm or from difficult situations, but rather that God promises to be with us.

·          Ask the children if they think that we will never be afraid if we believe in God.  It does not seem this is what the psalm says—rather it suggests that God will comfort us and be with us but we may still feel afraid.

·          Ask why they think Brian’s mother had the family think about church—the cross, the singing, etc.  These are suggested as correlates with the shepherd’s rod and staff.  The psalmist said that just seeing the shepherd’s tools brought him comfort because it reminded him of the shepherd’s care.  I was suggesting in the play that by remembering some of the symbols of the church, we could be reminded of God’s peace and care for us, too.  

 

Reflection Time:

 

1.      At 10:35 a.m. ask the shepherds to pass out the journals and pencils/markers.  Ask all the children to write a list of specific things they can think of to remember God when they are afraid.  Ideas might be some of the things that Brian’s family remembered—the church service, the sanctuary, Christian songs, the words to the 23rd Psalm, etc—also children might want to remember a special place outside, a beautiful sunset, ocean view—whatever reminds them that God is present.   Younger children should write at least three things and older children should write six.  

2.      At 10:45 ask the students to close their journals and sit quietly for prayer.

 

 

Closing:

 

Prayer:  Ask the children to recite Psalm 23 together with you.  Tell the children that this is their prayer to God for his presence and comfort.  End with “Amen”.

 

Tidy and Dismissal: Ask children to help clean up as they wait for their parents to arrive.  Put pillows behind stage area. Put away boom box, workshop bin, etc

 

Teacher preparation in advance:

1.      Read the scripture passages and attend the Faith Quest Leaders Bible Study, Sunday, April 1 at 9:45 in the back of the sanctuary.  It will be very important for you to attend this study lead by Joan McCarthy. Please RSVP to the church office 467-4944.

2.      Prepare an opening/closing prayer.

3.      Write your key scripture verse on the white board.

4.      For questions on this lesson plan, call Nancy Stokes 387-7155. For questions about the puppets, their care or manipulation, call Ginger Espino 380-7486. Ginger can give you wonderful tips if you are unfamiliar with puppetry.

5.      Check out the room before your first Sunday workshop so that you know where everything is located. The bin with supplies is in the locked cabinet of the puppet room. The key for this cabinet hangs inside the first cupboard in Creation Station. A boom box is located in the Puppet workshop cabinet.

6.      Bring a CD or taped music for background music while you are gathering, along with meditative music for reflection time.

 

Materials:

1.      Prepare a poster with the version of Psalm 23 that is being used in all the workshops.

2.      Handout describing activities for “Memorizing Psalm 23”.

3.      Make 8 copies of the script. 

4.      Highlight four of the scripts indicating all the speaking parts for one puppet on each script.  Label the script for which reader (puppet) is to use this script.

5.      The other four scripts should be available for the puppeteers to follow the story if desired.  It might be helpful to just post one or two scripts behind the stage for the puppeteers to follow along rather than holding their own script.  See what works best.

6.      Optional—any props you would like to use with the play.  See NOTE above.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I WAS AFRAID, WERE YOU?

 

INTRODUCTION:  This is a story about some friends named Mike, Ashley, Sarah, and Brian.  Hurricane Burt was a strong hurricane that hit their town two days ago.  Let’s listen to the friends tell what happened during the hurricane.  

          (This could be read by the workshop leader, shepherd or a child)

 

 

MIKE:  “Did Hurricane Burt hit your house?”

 

SARAH:  “Yea, it was awful.  The wind blew and it rained so hard all night long.  It was really noisy and scary.”

 

BRIAN:  “Our electricity went out and we had to use flashlights.”

 

ASHLEY:  “Our lights went out, too.  My little brother cried and cried because he was so scared.  I was scared, too, but I didn’t cry. 

 

SARAH:  “There were lots of branches falling in our yard and a tree fell on our garage.  I got really scared when that happened.” 

 

BRIAN:  “My whole family was trying to sleep in the family room.  We had trouble sleeping because we were so worried.  But then my mom helped us all get to sleep.”

 

MIKE:  “What could your mom do to help you sleep in a hurricane?”

 

BRIAN: “Well, she prayed and helped us remember God.”

 

MIKE:  “Talking about God in the middle of a storm seems like a dumb thing to do.  I’m glad my mom didn’t do that!”

 

SARAH:  “Hey, Mike, let’s listen to Brian.  If his mom was able to help him sleep, then maybe there’s something to what she said.  I don’t think I slept all night.  I wish my dad could have said something so I could sleep.”

 

 

 

BRIAN:  “Well, first my mom reminded us that God is always with us.  I wasn’t sure about that, but I changed my mind after she read us the 23rd Psalm.  It says that even when we feel like we might die, God is still with us.  It says God is like our shepherd.”   

 

ASHLEY:  “I really don’t get this.  Why would your mom talk about shepherds at a time like this?”

 

BRIAN:  “Well, Mom said God is always with us, just like a shepherd is always with his sheep.  She said that even when there is danger for the sheep--like a wolf--that the shepherd stays close by.  God stays by us just like that, too.”

 

ASHLEY: “Ok, so the wind was blowing, trees were falling and your mom was talking about Baa, Baa Black Sheep?”

 

BRIAN:  “Yea, at first it didn’t make a lot of sense to me either.  But after awhile, I decided she was right and I started to feel better.”

 

SARAH:  “That’s it?  And then you fell asleep?”

 

BRIAN:  “Well, no, not quite.  After she read the Bible and said a prayer, she told us to think about church.  She said to think about the cross in front of the church and the communion table, and to think about how close God feels when we are in church.  She said to think about the minister reading and the choir singing.  She just kept talking and before I knew it, I was very sleepy.”

 

MIKE: “So, I bet nothing bad happened to your house since God was with you.”

 

BRIAN:  “Actually, a tree fell on my dad’s truck and another one fell through the roof in the upstairs bathroom” 

 

ASHLEY:  “So, let me see if I understand.  You prayed, you read the Bible, you remembered God, and your house still was damaged?” 

 

BRIAN:  “Yea, that’s right.  God doesn’t promise that nothing bad will ever happen.  And God doesn’t promise that we will never feel scared.  But God does promise to be with us always--no matter what happens.  When I remembered that, then I was able to sleep, even while the storm went on.”

 

MIKE, ASHELY, SARAH (together):  “We want remember that, too—God is always with us!”