Tossed Salad

"How very good and pleasant it is

When kindred live together in unity!
It is like the precious oil on the head,
Running down upon the beard, on the beard of Aaron,
Running down over the collar of his robes.
It is like the dew of Hermon,
Which falls on the mountains of Zion.
For there the Lord ordained his blessing,
Life forevermore."
(Psalm 133)

Christian stewardship calls us to be good stewards in all parts of our life. We need to remind our children and ourselves to treat our siblings with the same care as we do our friends. Sibling rivalry is generally tolerated, but it may become a nagging frustration.

When siblings become antagonists, and when the only peace found at home is when one of the siblings is absent, it is time to recite Psalm 133. (Probably an earlier intervention in the rivalry would be an even more appropriate time to recite Psalm 133.)

In Jesus' time, oil was used for anointing a king or a chief priest and for healing wounds. Oil was considered precious. A great deal of time and patience was necessary to extract the oil from the olives. Today, oil is used for a variety of purposes and is extracted in a highly efficient manner.

Type Psalm 133:1 on a card and place it in the center of your kitchen or dining room table.

Gather the following ingredients: vegetable oil, vinegar, and powdered salad dressing mix. Invite each child to dip his or her finger into the separate ingredients and taste them. Discuss the taste of each ingredient with the children. How does each ingredient taste? Typical responses include:

  • Vinegar tastes bitter.
  • Oil tastes bland.
  • Salad dressing powder stings the tongue.

Measure the ingredients in separate containers so they are ready to mix into the dressing. Read each step aloud. Observe the separation of the oil, the vinegar, and the salad dressing powder. Vinegar and oil do not mix easily. These ingredients do not taste exceptional by themselves.

Next, vigorously shake the ingredients together in a bottle. Pour the shaken mixture over a prepared tossed salad. Sample the good taste of the unified mixture of these ingredients. Serve the salad with a meal. Remind each person to shake the salad dressing prior to pouring it over the salad. Shaking the salad dressing helps to maintain its good taste. As each person shakes the salad dressing bottle, the person may offer a positive comment about the next person to whom she or he will pass the salad dressing bottle. Recite Psalm 133:1 aloud together at the beginning of your meal for the next ten days and offer the following prayer or a similar one. Each person is a unique creation of God. God calls us to be independent, but also to join together as a means of becoming something greater than our own individual uniqueness. Each ingredient in salad dressing may be used for something alone; yet once they are mixed together, they produce even greater taste. Each person is a wonderful individual within the family; but together, we combine and create even larger blessings.

Prayer

Lord God, we thank you for this time together as a family. We thank you for our food. Help us to remember that we can be wonderful when we are all together. Amen.

Discussion Questions

  • What are some unique qualities that you share with your family?
  • How do you feel when you have a rivalry with a sibling (or another family member if you do not have siblings)?
  • What does the oil represent in this activity?
  • How did you feel when you shared a positive comment about the person to whom you passed the salad dressing bottle? How did you feel when another person offered a positive comment about you?

Ruth M. Blum is an ordained United Methodist Deacon who serves as Associate Pastor of Children and Families at Dove of the Desert United Methodist Church in Glendale, Arizona.

Posted in 2005.

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