children are invited to the front to hear Psalm 23. It is read in
six parts, pausing between each verse for the children to explore the
children are given a little pot, which they fill with earth, and in which
they plant a seed to take home with them. As they water and tend
the seed, it can remind them of God's care for us.
- An adult
to lead the discussion.
- Adults to
help distribute and fill the pots.
23. It's helpful to print each verse out on a numbered slip, which
you can distribute at the start of the service. (The Good News Bible's
translation of this Psalm has particular clarity for children.)
plant pots, or plastic cups with holes poked in the bottom.
- Soil or
compost: you might use a wheelbarrow and take the children outside for
or spoons to fill the pots.
- Seeds: if
you use sunflowers then they should be planted a child's finger's depth
into the soil.
cans: several little ones are good for the children to use, but bigger
ones are fine so long as you don't fill them too full for the children to
- It's good
to be prepared with a plastic sheet or other floor covering, in case the
weather doesn't permit you to fill the pots outside.
readers at the beginning of the service.
several adults to help with the planting. It's good to have a
'production line' so that the children can move between adults handing
out pots, adults helping them to fill pots, adults helping them to plant
the seeds and adults helping them to water the pots.
that the Bible contains lots of different sorts of books, and ask whether
any of the children know what is in the book of Psalms: songs, poems and
- God is so
amazing that it is hard for us to understand what He is really
like. The Bible offers us all sorts of images - like painting us a
picture - to help us to understand different aspects of Him. We're going
to explore the different images in Psalm 23. You don't need to dwell too
long on any of the images, just help the children to see how the poem
helps us to glimpse different aspects of God.
- The Lord
is my shepherd: what does this mean? What does a Shepherd do? He
takes care of the sheep, protecting them and making sure all their needs
the imagery of resting in grassy fields, beside fresh water: God
providing sanctuary and refreshment when we need it.
the imagery of God guiding us in the right paths, giving us the strength
to follow where He leads.
about how we are sometimes afraid of the dark, but the psalm tells us
that God is always there with us, protecting us even when we can't see
anything at all.
prepares a banquet for us, with an overflowing cup: He doesn't just meet
our needs but provides more than we could ever have imagined.
- His house
will be our home forever: an image of safety and belonging.
- The seeds
that we're going to plant in the soil offer another image.
Sometimes we feel like that seed: imprisoned in the darkness, trapped and
unable to see a way out. But with God's loving care we can burst free
from the darkness, into a future that we can only imagine. Think of the
glory of a sunflower compared with the little seeds we have today. This
imagery also reminds us of the first Easter, when God transformed the
darkness of Good Friday into the glory of Easter Day. He can free us from
our sins and worries today, just as He did then.