Chewing on the Law: Psalm 1

A few weeks ago, I did a children’s sermon in my parish about Psalm 1.  We were talking about chewing on the law of the Lord.  A couple of days ago, my oldest daughter reminded me about this children’s sermon and asked if we could learn more about it.  Enjoy feeding your family’s faith this week through an exploration of Psalm 1!

Supplies:  God Time pillows, candle and holder (see “Gathering,” below), My First Hands-On Bible or a family Bible with this story, access to the internet, a piece of something chewy for each person in your family, a pool (or bathtub) filled with water, clothes to get wet in, straw or confetti, sidewalk chalk (optional).

Gather:  We like to sit in a circle on the floor for God Time.  Finding some pillows or cushions to sit on makes it even more comfortable.  My kids like to use pillow pets for this purpose!  Once you are in a circle, light a candle (or turn on a battery-operated one; we use an LED tea light in a pretty metal container).

Story:  Read Psalm 1 in your Bible, or you can check out this version: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=psalm+1&version=ERV

Discuss:  The teacher who taught me about the Psalms, Dr. Diane Jacobsen, translated the first verse of the Psalm this way:

Blessed are the ones who chew on the law of the Lord!

She explained that the law of the Lord works on us our whole life long.  It is not something that we can treat like a checklist and be finished with, but something that follows us around, like when you get a popcorn hull or a piece of meat stuck in your teeth.  You return to it again and again, and it just never seems to want to leave you.  Describe a time when you have felt like this.  How did it feel?

When we chew on the law of the Lord, the psalm says that we become like trees planted by water, which means that we can grow big and strong for a long time and have everything that we need to do so.  Describe a time when you have felt like this.  How did it feel?

The psalm also tells us that the wicked are like chaff (the light, leftover stuff from straw) that just blows away.  It is the opposite of having good, strong roots that can weather any storm.  Have you ever felt uprooted?  What did this feel like?

Song:   Psalm 1 Song

I wrote a little song with collaboration from a great Lutheran folk artist named Nate Houge.  You can learn it here:

Activity:  For our activity this week, we did two things.  First, we acted out the psalm.  We filled the pool, found sticks, and got our chewy treats ready.  I also asked my husband to get out some clean straw from the barn.  This is how it went:

First, we chewed on our chewy treat and said,

First, we chewed on our chewy treat and said, “Blessed are the ones who chew on the law of the Lord.”

Next, we stood in the pool holding our sticks up like tree branches and said,

Next, we stood in the pool holding our sticks up like tree branches and said, “They shall be like streams planted by water.”

Finally, we threw straw in the air and said,

Finally, we threw straw in the air and said, “The wicked are not so. They are like chaff that the wind blows away.”

The second activity was to draw the psalm with sidewalk chalk on our driveway.  In truth, I did this and took the following picture; my kids were having too much fun acting out the psalm over and over to want to mess with the chalk.

Psalm 1 Chalk Drawing

I think that either or both activities will work, depending on the ages and abilities of your family members.

Prayer:  (You can do this all together, or as a “repeat after me” prayer, depending on reading ability) Dear Jesus, we thank you that you that you give us the law to chew on, and that you plant us like trees by water.  Help us to always stay rooted in you.  In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

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