My biblical passage: Psalm 27

My media piece: “Grown Ups Come Back” from Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood


            Short hook

            Thesis: “Grown Ups Come Back” shares a similar form and function to Psalm 27. Although the Daniel Tiger song is about parents and not God, the universality of expressing trust in a higher power exists for people of all ages.  [[or something to this effect for a thesis]]

            Overview of argument supporting thesis (tell the reader what the essay argues): “In order to support my thesis, first I will x, then I will y, and finally we will turn to the song and see that z.”


            Part 1: Analysis of Psalm 62

  1. Historical and literary criticism (for this, I look to the “Introduction” to Psalms in my HCSB as well as the footnotes for my particular text. I also look to Nowell and her chapter on Trust Psalms, since this is what Psalm 27 is.)
    1. Points I might highlight from HCSB:
      1. The musical nature of the psalms in general
      1. Didactic function of the psalms in general
      1. Psalm 27’s “eagerness to be in God’s presence.”
      1. Psalm 27’s resolve to “wait for the Lord.”
    1. Points I might highlight from Nowell:
      1. Characteristics of Trust Psalms
        1. “confidence that God can/will protect us in danger”
        1. “aware of danger, but cannot be shaken”
        1. “quiet and gentle” tone
      1. Psalm 27 in particular:
        1. “conflicting emotions”
        1. “the form teaches trust” (concentric pattern)
          1. Expression of confidence, enemy threatens, need for God’s presence, enemy threatens, expression of confidence
        1. “speaking to God then to the community”
  2. Theological reasoning (what I interpret about Psalm 27 based on the historical and literary criticism in the part above)
    1. God’s care for the psalmist (God hears and responds)
    1. The belief that God delivers when in distress (as opposed to God preventing distress altogether)
    1. Expression of confidence helps in the midst of fear – fear is actually a normal/acceptable response to danger
    1. Safety/comfort is found in God’s presence

Part 2: Interpretation of Media Piece

  1. How Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood functions similarly to the psalter
    1. Didactic
    1. Musical
    1. Deals with a wide range of individual/communal situations
  2. How “Grown Ups Come Back” is similar to the characteristics of a trust psalm:
    1. Quiet and gentle tone
    1. Expression of confidence in the midst of distress
    1. Based on experiences of deliverance
  3. How “Grown Ups Come Back” is similar to the form of Psalm 27:
    1. Expression of confidence: “Miss Elaina, your mom will come back and get you. My dad always says: ‘Grown ups come back.’”
    1. Enemy threatens: “What about when mom drops me off at school?”
    1. Need for God’s presence: refrain: “Grown ups come back to you.”
    1. Enemy threatens: “What about when mom and dad go out on a date?”
    1. Expression of confidence: refrain “Grown ups come back to you.”
  4. How “Grown Ups Come Back” functions similarly to Psalm 27:
    1. speaking to the community… Daniel shares with his classmates as they are missing their parents (in the midst of distress)
    1. the singing of the song brings them together and helps them “wait” on the presence of their parents, like the psalmist waits on the Lord to deliver them into God’s presence.
  5. Theological Interpretation:
    1. Reading Psalm 27 alongside “Grown Ups Come Back” also reveals important differences, such as the fact that the Daniel Tiger song is not a prayer to God, but rather about their parents. However, even this difference can generate a fruitful commentary on Psalm 27 and trust psalms in general. Humans first learn the act of trust with parental figures, as indicated in Daniel Tiger. So when we consider the trust psalms and Psalm 27, we can see that God takes on ideal parental qualities: a safe, reliable presence who protects the vulnerable person from serious danger and who helps them process moments of distress in a healthy way. Psalm 27:10 highlights this well as it compares God to bad parents: “If my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will take me up.”  Etc.


            Restate where we’ve been (in this paper, I showed how thesis by first x, then y, then z.)             Although “Grown Ups Come Back” may lack important correlations with Psalm 27 because of their distinct settings, the two songs actually share a similar form and function. When read together, they highlight the universality of the need for trust in a higher power (whether parental figure or God) in distress regardless of the age or type

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