By Rev. Doug Forbes
The 23rd Psalm has been a comfort to millions of people facing difficult situations. I often encourage people to quote this wonderful Psalm during surgery. The 23rd Psalm speaks of God as our heavenly shepherd who watches over us and takes care of us. Luke 15:3-7 tells us about a shepherd with 100 sheep who loses one and leaves the others to find the missing one. This speaks to us of God’s unconditional, never-ending love for each and every one of us.
For the Sheep Hunt activity you need: Bibles, Bible concordances, extra-large white pompoms, large black pompoms, mini white pompoms, crayons or markers, ribbon, tacky glue, goggle eyes, scissors, and poster board or construction paper
Before class cut poster board or construction paper down to 8 ½ by 11 inches and fold sideways to create a card. Draw or print a picture of a sheep and glue it onto the front of the cards. Hide the cards around the classroom.
When your class arrives, explain that there are lost sheep in the classroom, and the students have to find them. (The cards with the sheep pictures.) Once all the sheep are found the young people can color in the sheep, write their names under the sheep picture and then write out the 23rd Psalm inside the card.
Ask your students to use their Bibles and concordances to hunt for Bible passages that mention sheep or shepherds. Allow time for each child to share his or her findings. Have your students turn to Luke 15:3-7 and have volunteers each read a verse until the entire passage has been read. Explain that Jesus is our good shepherd, and he will take care of us. When we are lost he will search for us, find us and bring us back home. Describe to your class how a shepherd sleeps at the entrance of the sheepfold to protect the sheep, how he leads them to good water and grass and how he takes care of them when they are injured.
Next, each student will make a pompom sheep ornament. Use an extra large white pompom for the body of the sheep and glue four small black pompoms onto the bottom for feet. Attach a large black pompom for the head. Add two small white pompoms for ears and add google eyes. Glue a small white pompom onto the back for a tail. Tie a piece of ribbon onto the sheep with a loop so that it can be hung up.
Read Psalm 23 to your class and explain it verse by verse. Remind your students that Jesus is our good shepherd. He loves us and he will help us through the difficult times in life. Ask the children to memorize the 23rd Psalm and offer a prize to anyone who can recite it at your next meeting.