“Sharing Time: The Songs of the Gospel Bring Peace,” Friend, July 1994, 12
David was a righteous shepherd boy who fought and killed the giant Goliath. By defeating Goliath, David saved his people, the Israelites, from war. David eventually became the king of Israel.
Besides being a good shepherd, warrior, and king, David was a good musician. His music brought peace to those who heard it. When King Saul was unhappy, he asked David to play his harp. The scriptures say that when David played, he helped bring peace to the king, that King Saul “was refreshed, and was well” (1 Sam. 16:23).
David also sang and played on his harp to bring peace to himself. He wrote his own songs—both words and music. He became famous for his Psalms, which are songs of praise to the Lord. Many of the Old Testament Psalms were composed by David. They are about times when he was happy, when he was discouraged, when he felt thankful, when he needed help, when he wanted to celebrate, or when he needed to feel peace.
In some ways we are like David. We sing certain songs when we are happy, are sad, feel thankful, or want to celebrate. And, like David, we can be blessed with peace when we sing gospel songs.
One reason gospel songs bring us peace is that they speak of spiritual things that have the power to make us happy. You can write a psalm, as David did!
Use Psalm 136 [Ps. 136] as a guide. It lists blessings the writer was grateful for, then, after each blessing, adds, “for his mercy endureth for ever,” a phrase about the goodness of God. This Psalm is twenty-six verses long, but yours can be any length you choose. Make a list of things for which you are grateful, and add a phrase such as “for this blessing from the Lord gives me peace” after each thing. Illustrated on page 13 are David, King Saul, and some of the things mentioned in the Psalm. After you write the words to your psalm on the scroll, illustrate in the remaining space around it some of the blessings you mentioned. If you wish, make up a simple tune for your psalm, then record it if you can and put it with your special belongings.
Or you could write a family psalm. Let each member of the family include something she or he is grateful for, and add a phrase such as “for He blesses us with peace” after each person’s contribution. When the words are finished, you or someone in your family could make up a simple tune to go with it; then teach it to the others in family home evening.
Scramble the letters in psalm, and have the children figure out the word and put the letters in their proper order. Explain that psalms are songs of praise to the Lord. Share the story of David and, using Psalm 136 as a guide, ask each class to name at least one blessing about Primary that they are grateful for. Compile the list, let the children help decide what common phrase to use (see Instructions, above), then make each child a copy of the completed “Primary Psalm” to illustrate for her or his Book of Peace. (See Sharing Time Idea #3, Friend, January 1994, page 44.)
Before Sharing Time, have teachers quietly ask their classes for the names of their favorite songs of peace. During Sharing Time, have the first few notes of each class’s songs played for the other children to identify. When a song is identified, have a spokesperson from the class explain why it brings peace to him/her/them.
Share stories of music and peace. For example: The Song of Moses (start only)—Exodus 15:1–2 [Ex. 15:1–2]; David sings for King Saul—1 Samuel 16:22–23 (note footnote b) [1 Sam. 16:22–23]; David sings of the Lord’s help—2 Samuel 22:preface, 1 [2 Sam. 22:1]; King Benjamin and the “choirs above”—Mosiah 2:28; Jesus Christ after instituting the sacrament—Matthew 26:30 [Matt. 26:30]; Joseph and Hyrum Smith and John Taylor in Carthage Jail—Valiant B manual, page 152; Elder Pinegar and the fireworks—Ensign, May 1993, pages 65–68.
Hide phrases from Primary songs or the hymnbook that include the word peace or a message of peace. Have the children find, identify, discuss, and sing them. For example: “And when I kneel to pray, My heart is filled with peace” and “He sent his Son, a newborn babe, with peace and holiness” (Children’s Songbook, pages 74 and 34), “There is peace in righteous doing” and “The winds and the waves shall obey thy will: Peace, be still” (Hymns, 1985, nos. 239 and 105).
Have a scripture chase, identifying scriptures on the importance of music. Examples: Ephesians 5:17, 19 [Eph. 5:17, 19], Colossians 3:16 [Col. 3:16], Doctrine and Covenants 25:12 [D&C 25:12], Doctrine and Covenants 45:71 [D&C 45:71], Doctrine and Covenants 136:28 [D&C 136:28].