A Story Triptych


Ash Wednesday & Lent — February 10-13, 2016

A Story Triptych

Biblical Text: Psalm 35:11-28
Guidelines for Individual Playdates

Value of This Activity:

This activity calls us to listen to the story “behind the text” and, in doing so, imagine our own story through the unwritten story of the biblical text. We also explore the biblical story through discovering places in our history where the same story line appears.

Items Needed:

Bible. Pen and Paper. Some knowledge of history.

To Begin . . .

Spend a moment in quiet prayer. If you wish, begin by freewriting for 3-5 minutes. Just let the pen empty out your concerns and thanksgiving for the day. Breathe.


How to Play . . .

Note: For more exploration of activities like this playdate, see the wonderful book by Anne Streaty Wimberly, Soul Stories. Abingdon Press, 1994.

  1. Read Psalm 35:11-28 aloud. Hear the psalm. After reading, reflect quietly about the human emotions the psalmist is expressing in the Psalm.
  2. Create a “back-story” — just make it up — about what might have happened in the Psalmist’s life that could have generated the emotions in this Psalm. What happened that led to the Psalmist writing something like this? Describe on paper what that event might have been.
  3. Now write your own story. When have you felt what the Psalmist gives expression to in this Psalm? Write that story out in your notebook. Be honest and human. Just tell the story. Don’t try to be “spiritual” in any particular way. Just tell the very human story. Let the story carry your true emotions about the event. Pour your heart out.
  4. Finally, let your mind range over history — your own heritage or the heritage of others, perhaps your family stories, or even world history as you know it.  Since it’s currently (February 2016) Black History Month in the United States, perhaps you can draw from a story in American Black history and imagine that story as parallel to the Psalmist’s story. Black history, of course, belongs to all Americans. Search out a story that embodies the Psalmist’s cry in Psalm 35. Write a story about some historical event or person that might give expression to the same emotions expressed in the Psalm.
  5. If you wish, write your own, new “psalm” using either your own story or the historical story.
  6. Close by re-reading—out loud—Psalm 35:11-28.

In Closing . . .

Take a moment to breathe and let the playtime settle around you. Carry your curiosity and insights and questions into the day.

Playdate Reference Material:

Playing with Narratives
On Discovering Ourselves
Story Cousins
Guidelines for Individual Playdates
Playdates with Scripture Email ARCHIVES

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