Youth Class: March 20, 2020
Psalm 23, The Lord is my Shepherd

What you'll need: a watch, clock, or timer; a quiet creative activity, a candle (if your parents say it's okay, otherwise some intentional object like a plant or a cross); a Bible - we recommend NRSV or NIV - optional; paper and something to write with - or tablet; a snack. Have your class with a sibling or other family members, or enjoy this time by yourself.

1) Begin with transition time – Peace & Quiet: enjoy a creative activity for about 10 minutes (journaling, clay, Legos, drawing a card to send to somebody, etc.).

2) Next, clear that space, or move to another space, and light a candle (or find something intentional to put in the space: a plant, a cross, etc.). Settle in, and say a prayer, like: Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path . -Psalm 119:105. Offer your own prayers, silently or out loud.

3) Here's the reading appointed for today's lesson; find it in the Bible, if you'd like. Now, read it out loud (the * shows where you take turns, if you're reading aloud with others):

Psalm 23
The Lord is my shepherd; *
I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures *
and leads me beside still waters.
He revives my soul *
and guides me along right pathways for his Name's sake.
Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil; *
for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You spread a table before me in the presence of those who trouble me; *
you have anointed my head with oil, and my cup is running over.
Surely your goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, *
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

4) Think about it, chat about it if you have company, look it up online (if allowed) and see if there's any commentary about it. Share your ideas. Do you feel called to do something?
  • What do you want (need)? How does the Lord shepherd you?
  • How do you feel about being led? Why green pastures, still waters? Where else?
  • Does your soul need reviving? What does a right pathway look like?
  • You need never be fearful of “the valley of the shadow of death” - why?
  • Why enjoy a feast with troublesome people? What do you have in abundance?
  • You have Goodness and Mercy superpowers: how to use them?

5) You knew it was coming! Brainstorm & make a poster: TEN BEST WAYS - TO LIVE IN TODAY'S WORLD. Take a picture and email it to me !

6) Now, how about a snack? Prayers first: I'm grateful for, I'm worried about, I ask for, etc. And/or take 5 or so minutes for centering prayer: relaxing into peace and letting thoughts go. Enjoy your snack.

7) Finally, clean up your space(s), and say a closing prayer, like: Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle - Plato. Blow out the candle, or put away the intentional object (or leave it there if you'd like to create a little sacred area, maybe another project) and say out loud: Go now in peace, to love and serve the Lord!Thanks be to God!

News & Tasks:
- We're meeting this way for at least the next few classes, twice monthly. Would you like to have a class every week? Let me know .
- Send to me your designs for a St James Youth Class tee shirt.
- Write to me ! For instance, anything you'd like me to put in the church newsletter.

Ask your parents' permission (note, it's a difficult subject, and the documentary shows some disturbing images – but not gratuitous - of cruelty to humans and animals.):

W atch the YouTube documentary “William Wilburforce” ( ) about the British abolitionist.

Especially note the Archbishop of Canterbury's question (at 23:46): “What is it that only I can do?” What would your answer be? Now? Later?

Wilburforce's best friends included William Pitt (there's the historic William Pitt Tavern at Strawbery Banke in Portsmouth) and John Newton, who wrote the hymn “Amazing Grace”.
John Greenleaf Whittier, the poet from Amesbury, was an important American abolitionist, among many others. Some people suggest using the word “person” or “enslaved person” instead of “slave” - what are your thoughts? And: what is it that only you can do?