WEEK ONE: BIBLE STUDY OVERVIEW
Insights on Giving Thanks: Psalm 100 NIV
Background for the Group Leader: In this passage from Psalm 100, we are reminded to give praise and thanksgiving for the gifts that God has given us, the most precious of which is His unending love for us.
As group leader, you will begin the discussion by raising the questions below, inviting them to share their thoughts and feelings. You do NOT have to use all the questions. These are suggested questions and you may skip any that may not see appropriate for the group. Do not insist that they talk. Let them pass if they choose not to speak. For some, they will want to take the whole time to talk about their reflections. Ask them to limit their comments to two or three sentences and remind them that they can share more in small groups after the activity is over. If you noticed that an individual is deeply saddened by what he/she is saying, you may want to offer him/her the opportunity to share more with a social worker, a family member or friend. This is not a time for therapy. It is a time to experience spiritual wellness by recognizing the positive and painful moments in life, and affirming the individual’s experiences.
Directions for participants:
Week 1: You will review terms used, listen to the passage and follow your guide’s suggestions as you view the art associated with it. At the end, you may want to share your thoughts based on the guide’s questions.
Week 2: You will read the same passage together and discuss the questions, delving more into its message.
Week 3: You will read the closing reflection, listen to the song associated with it and together answer the final discussion questions.
WEEK ONE – ART FOR REFLECTION AND DISCUSSION
Insights on Giving Thanks: Psalm 100 NIV
NOTE FOR GROUP LEADER: While allowing the group to view the image of God handing the world to his children, the group leader will read or use the audio recording of the passage (Psalms: 100) NIV. In preparation for this reading, the group will discuss and reflect on the terms and historical information provided under “Terms to Understand and Discuss.” After discussing the terms, the group will silently reflect on the photo and then the passage will be read while they continue to view it. The artwork will either be projected on a screen or printed out for easier viewing. The passage is printed below for further review, if desired. Follow the steps below:
Step One: Terms to Understand and Discuss:
psalm: a passage from the Book of Psalms in the Old Testament. It is also called a Psalter. It is an anthology of 150 Hebrew religious hymns. The word comes from the Greek translation which means “instrumental music.” Tradition links King David as the author of the original psalms; however, modern scholars suggest that psalms were written by various authors between the 9th and 5th centuries BC.
King David: The Hebrew Bible says King David was the third king of the United Kingdom of Israel. The Book of Samuel describes him as a young shepherd who slays the giant Goliath of the Philistines in southern Canaan. David was born around 1040 BC and died around 970 BC.
The Lord is God: in the Old Testament, when one is referred to as Lord, they usually mean a “master” or someone who has a higher authority or rank. When it is combined with the word “God,” we are talking about the one and only deity who has power over all.
The sheep: the bible uses the term “sheep” over 500 times. The term refers to the people of God. In the New Testament, Jesus refers to himself as a shepherd and he says, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” (John 10:27). In King David’s Psalm 23, the young shepherd/king writes, “The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want.” As an interesting side note, the word “pastor” means shepherd – someone who cares for his/her flock. The pastor as shepherd is someone committed to knowing, feeding, leading, and protecting his/her sheep.
His pasture: God provides good “pastures” where his sheep can graze — everything necessary for the good of a person’s soul.
His gates…his courts: entering the presence of God
His faithfulness: God is complete and total love. He is always committed to His children with unfailing loyalty. He is trustworthy and patient. He is always present to us and for us. While we may question His response to our prayers, He will never fail us. He knows what is best for us and for our souls.
Praise: When we give praise to God, we glorify Him. We recognize the fact that in Him and through Him, we receive our ultimate reward. We praise God by praying to Him, singing to Him and by living a life which celebrates the gifts He has given us.
Step Two: Art for Reflection (Items needed: Artwork)
Group leader begins by saying: In this activity we will reflect on an image in which someone is handing off the planet Earth to someone else. The passage you will hear builds to this moment. Consider the impact of this gift. Who is in the scene? What is happening? What does this image say to you? Try to put yourself into the image. Where are you? Reflect on the feelings and experience of each person in the photo. What would your feelings and experiences be in this circumstance? I will give you three minutes to reflect. (Group Leader gives the group about three minutes of silence for the group to consider and meditate on the visual impact of the art. At the end of the silent reflection, go to Step Three.)
Step Three: (Items needed: Artwork, Passage from (Psalm 100) NIV printed below and questions for discussion and reflection.)
Group leader now says: “I will read (or play) the passage from (Psalm 100) NIV. While you listen to the passage continue to reflect on the artwork.” After the reading, the group can discuss and reflect on any or all of the following questions.
- Describe the scene. Who is there? What is happening?
- Put yourself in the scene. Where are you? What are you doing? What are you thinking?
- What is the implication of the action taken from both the giver and the receiver?
- What do you suppose the giver is feeling? Why?
- What is the expectation of this action of turning the Earth over to the other person?
- What do you suppose the receiver is feeling?
- What do you expect the recipient should do on accepting the gift of Planet Earth?
- What does Planet Earth represent for you?
- What gifts have you received?
- How do you feel about the gifts you have received? How have you used them?
- How have they made the world a better place?
- What other thoughts do you have about this image?
NOTE TO GROUP LEADER: At the end of the session, you may want to allow the group to have a few moments for open discussion and what the session may have meant for them.
Psalm 100 (NIV)
New International Version
A psalm. For giving grateful praise.
1 Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
2 Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
3 Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his[a];
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
5 For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.