Monday, July 2, 2018

Psalms for All Ages #2

As in my previous post, today I feature 1 of 3 books from French author Marie-Helene Delval. These books have been beautifully published for English speakers. Today's book offers 40 Psalms, chosen because children will especially relate to the emotions expressed.  
Picture Book: Psalms for Young Children
Author: Marie-Helene Delval
Illustrator: Arno
Summary: The Psalms are listed in order. As in Images of God for Young Children, the text is on the left and the gorgeous illustrations are on the right. Here's Psalm 1: 
When I listen to you, God, 
when I do what you ask me to,
I am like a tree
planted by a river,
a tree full of fruit
with leaves that are always green.
Here's an illustration I love with text from Psalm 8: 
People are so small
next to you, God.
You put the stars and the moon
in the sky, and the birds in the air
above the cows and horses in the fields, 
and the fist that swim in the seas.
You created all the beauty
in the world!
Complex emotions are in these pages. For Psalm 13... 
Sometimes, when I'm very sad,
I worry that you will
forget about me, God.
But then I remember that
you love me always.
So I will sing and be happy!
Direct questions and lamentations are here: For Psalm 28... 
God, can you here me calling out?
Listen to me,
I'm crying for you!
I know that you are not deaf;
I know you can hear me.
Already, in my heart,
I'm saying thank you for listening.
Here's the familiar Psalm 42 that your children will enjoy: 
A thirsty deer looks for water,
for a river to drink from.
I need God that way.
I'm thirsty inside.
God, send me your light,
show me the way to your house,
high on your mountain!
Children often struggle with fear. This version of Psalm 46 will be particularly meaningful: 
If the ground starts to shake,
if the mountains break into pieces
and fall in the ses,
if the waves grow big as giants,
I'm not scared.
God is with me.
God provides a safe place for me to hide.
Here's Delval's version of "Create in me a clean heart" from Psalm 51: 
When I do something wrong,
forgive me, God.
I want to feel like
I've just been washed in clean water.
I want to be like brand-new snow.
I feel so happy when you forgive me!
God's biggness is celebrated in Psalm 95 with praise and joy: 
Let's shout out loud
with joy to God!
Because God is a really big God.
He can hold the world
in his hands,
 the deep caves, 
the mountaintops, 
the blue seas - 
and you and me too!
This powerful image offered for Psalm 125 is a favorite.
When I trust God,
I am strong, like a city
built on top of a big,
talk mountain!
I trust God, because 
he protects me
always.
For my favorite Psalm, # 139:
God, you know me so well,
You always know what I'm thinking
and feeling. You know what I am 
going to say before I say it!
Even in the night, you can see me - 
you know my secrets,
you know my fears.
I praise you for making me
who I am. 
Hanna’s Comments: There are many ways you can use this book a few pages at a time. You could build a whole lesson out of one psalm or a few. These pages should invoke some strong feelings and verbal responses from your children so plan activities for their ideas to be expressed in writing (group or individual) or conversation (whole group or pairs). Having this book handy, offers opportunities to pull it out and read to a child individually when that child is in crisis or for a simple and easy children's sermon. Be sure to talk about the illustrations. You might want to have children imagine or draw other illustrations. If it's age-appropriate, pair these with the more traditional versions of the verses. If you believe the masculine gender of God in these texts limits God, simply use some small sticky notes to change the words as you see fit. Do emphasize that this book is a version of the Bible so that it will be viewed with reverence and approached with an open heart.
Original Publisher & Date: Erdmans, 2008
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 4 and up, Pre and up
Formats other than Book: None at present
Scripture Connections: Each page notes the psalm that has been paraphrased.
Idea(s) for Application: Read 1-3 psalms from this book to children at home or in a faith family and explore ideas about why someone would write such a psalm to God.