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HOW COYOTE LOST HIS SONGS,
MUSIC AND DANCE
INTERGENERATIONAL WORSHIP

(Based on story written by Kenneth Collier,
adapted by Greg Ward)

Download Script (11K)

coyote

 

PRELUDE
(It would be nice to have prelude of drums and other instruments that the kids could help play)

Narrator:
Coyote was a trickster all right. He lived in a big tipi, small from the outside, but from the inside it looked like another entire forest. And he had a wonderful flute that some thought was magical. It could play in ways that could make you cry or laugh, or feel silly - it could even make you feel old or young. People talked about his drum which seemed to almost play mesmerizing rhythms all by itself. Some were drawn to him because his voice could sing two notes at the same time and the words made it seem he was telling the story of your life - even though you’d never met him. Others were drawn to him because he could dance... and when he did the flames of the fire seemed to follow him and dance just like him. For all these reasons Coyote was a very interesting creature. But this is not what makes Coyote a trickster. Do you know what a trickster is?
(Ask people)

A trickster is someone who loves mischief and danger. And he can lead you into a whole heap of trouble. But if you watch him closely enough, if you are brave enough, if you are careful and cunning and quick enough, then Coyote can be just about the best teacher anyone has ever met. At least this is what some of the Native American wise men and women have said.

CHALICE LIGHTING
Service Leader
:
We light this chalice to see more clearly... so the wisdom and the warmth our stories will nestle into our imaginations and bring out the best within us... so these lessons will help us make the world around us a better place to be.

WELCOME AND GREETING
Please turn to the people around you and shake hands with five others.

Service Leader:
Coyote had many talents, but he was especially known for his ability to make music. When the moon would appear, he would sit on top of the hills, look at the moon and sing. He was especially happy to sing one particular song.


SINGING TOGETHER 395 Sing and Rejoice

CALL TO WORSHIP
Service Leader:
Are you here? Are you all really here? Not just your bodies... but your thoughts? Your heart? Is it here? You’ve packed a lot of things into this day already. And some of you still have homework. Some have pets at home, or chores, or friends, or video games. But tonight, just for a moment, we’re going to take all those things, wrap them up in a big bundle and set them aside. They will be there when were through. Right now, it is time for us to be together.

UNISON AFFIRMATION
Everybody is important. Not just in church, but always. It’s important to treat others fairly, with kindness and respect. We want others to treat us this way. Size or age doesn’t matter as much as our willingness to listen and our ability to love. This is why we’re here. Everyone here is important.

Narrator:
Coyote lived in the wilderness, with his tipi and his music, his fire and his dancing. But there were other animals as well. There was rabbit, with his huge ears and enormous legs. Rabbit would always run around while he was talking to you - jumping forwards and back, up and down, side to side. This often made coyote dizzy. Who needed to move around so quickly like that?

Then there was moose. Moose spent most of his time in the marsh where it was slippery and muddy. He had long, spindly legs that sunk down into the muck and he had gargantuan antlers that stuck out from the side of his head like telephone poles. How anyone could go through life looking like that and wallowing in all that mud, Coyote couldn’t understand.

And then there were the birds. Flittering about together, hopping on the ground, sticking their beaks in the dirt, sucking on worms, and all that squawking and singing! Oh, coyote could definitely do without that.

He had lived all his life surrounded by these other animals. But one day it had, indeed, become more than he could take. While listening to the birds chatter in the trees, spying moose in the distant marsh, and having rabbit jumping all about him, coyote had definitely had enough. Right then and there he decided he would pack up all he could carry and set out on his own. He took his drums and his flute. He took his songs and his dance. He even took his fire with him. Everything that was most dear to him was going with him, far, far away.

Just after he had gathered the last of his things and taken the first few steps out of the clearing, out popped rabbit from the bracken trees.

"Where ya going, Coyote?" rabbit asked as he hopped back and forth too fast for Coyote to see him clearly. Coyote did not answer. Instead he looked straight ahead and ignored rabbit. Rabbit pretended this did not hurt his feelings and quickly hopped ahead on the trail to the top of the hill. Then he quickly hopped back. Then he hopped ahead again. Then he hopped back. And then, talking to Coyote, he hopped side to side just ‘cause he wanted to.

"Do ya wanna know what’s over the top of that hill, Coyote? Huh? Do ya? Huh? ‘Cause I’ve been there and I can tell ya, if ya want. Can I tell ya? Huh? Can I tell ya what’s over that hill?"

Coyote did want to know, but he didn’t say a word. Instead he just looked straight ahead and ignored rabbit hoping he’d go away. Ridiculous Rabbit.

Well, rabbit, by this time, could no longer pretend he wasn’t hurt. In fact, now, he was angry.

"Ya know what, Coyote? You’re crazy!" he said, and he quickly hopped away.

(Pause)

That night a funny thing happened. As Coyote made his camp, as he built his fire and brought out his drums, sang his songs, he was just about to start his dancing and he noticed: for the life of him, Coyote couldn’t remember a single dance. Not a one. He just stood there confused, and he wondered. And the night was suspiciously still.

HYMN 99 (First verse) Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen

Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen
Nobody knows my sorrow
Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen
Glory Hallelujah!
Some times I’m up
Some times I’m down
Oh, yes, Lord!
Sometimes I’m almost to the ground
Oh, yes, Lord!
Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen
Nobody knows my sorrow
Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen
Glory Hallelujah!

Narrator:
The next day, Coyote was off again, feeling a little sad and a little strange. But he still wanted to get away from these ridiculous creatures with their absurd ways. Before long, he came to a marsh. It was so wide he didn’t see how he could go around it, and shrugging his shoulders, he started to go through it.

Pretty soon he ran into Moose, who was, as usual, up to his knees in mud and weeds. Moose lifted his huge head of antlers when he saw Coyote coming.

"Well, hello Coyote," Moose said. "What brings you way out to the marshes?" Coyote ignored him and kept looking for a way to cross the mud and muck. Moose swung his great head this way and that, a little miffed that Coyote was ignoring him.

"Coyote, if you’re looking for a dry path, I could help you," he said. Coyote looked right at him and said nothing. What a ridiculous creature, Coyote thought to himself. If I had such silly things growing out of my head, I wouldn’t let anyone see them!

Moose’s feelings were really hurt by this time. "You know what, Coyote? You’re crazy!" And Moose walked away.

Coyote finally did find his way across the marsh and went on. But that night, something strange happened. Again, Coyote built his fire, but for some reason, he could not play his music. He couldn’t remember how to play the drum or the flute. They didn’t feel right in his hands. He couldn’t remember his songs. And like the night before, he couldn’t remember any of his dances. All he could do was sing next to the fire. And that night was still and strange as he sang. And as he sat by the fire, he sang this song.

HYMN 99 (Second verse) Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen

Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen
Nobody knows my sorrow
Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen
Glory Hallelujah!
Some times it feels
I’ve had my fill
Oh, yes, Lord!
Sometimes this life’s
a bitter pill
Oh, yes, Lord!
Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen
Nobody knows my sorrow
Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen
Glory Hallelujah!

Narrator:
The next day, Coyote was really upset and a little afraid, but he decided that the strange things that were happening were on account of those other silly creatures all around him. He told himself that the only way to set things right was to get as far away from them as he could and that’s exactly what he intended to do. So he set off again.

This time he came across a little stream that flowed down out of the mountains. All along its banks were bushes and flowers, and it was beautiful and still and cool. And since he was thirsty and a little tired, Coyote took a long drink, sat down on the bank and decided to take a good nap.

As they often are, the bushes were filled with birds, and just as Coyote was about to go to sleep, the little birds started singing their songs. This was exactly what he wanted to get away from. It made him angry that the birds wouldn’t let him sleep in peace. He growled. And for a moment, the birds hesitated. Then, looking at one another they started in again on their song. After several attempts at growling to stop the birds from singing he got so angry he leapt up and snarled and barked at them to frighten them away.

And it worked. They flew up and off. But one bird, a little braver than the rest, flew just beyond Coyote’s sharp teeth and said to him, "Ya know what, Coyote? You’re crazy!" And off she went.

Coyote was actually pleased that he could scare off all the birds, so he decided that he would make his fire right there on the side of the bank that night. When he had finished his fire, he started to get out his drum and his flute, but occurred to him that he still couldn’t remember how to play them. He wanted to dance, but no steps came to his mind. Not even one. And then, thinking he would sing, horror of horrors, he discovered that absolutely no tune would come into his head. Every time he tried to start a song, the melody would vanish and he would simply end up sounding like he was howling - an awful sound. All Coyote could do was to stare into the silent fire and howl, thinking about how much he had lost. That night was still, and silent and very sad for Coyote. If he could have sung anything, this is, perhaps, what it would have been.

HYMN 99 (Third verse) Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen

Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen
Nobody knows my sorrow
Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen
Glory Hallelujah!
Although you see me
going ‘long so
Oh, yes, Lord!
I have my troubles
here below
Oh, yes, Lord!
Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen
Nobody knows my sorrow
Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen
Glory Hallelujah!

MEDITATION
Service Leader
:
Coyote has led us all into a whole heap of trouble. He can’t remember his dances. He can’t remember his music or even his songs. His heart is heavy with the sorrow of all he has lost. We, each one of us, loses something that is important to us each time we decide we don’t need other people to help us live our lives. We’ve all made those decisions. We’ve all felt that sorrow. Let’s take a moment to remember those moments in our life and remember how we’ve managed to find our way back. Let’s take a moment to be silent and remember.

SILENCE

JOYS AND CONCERNS:
Service Leader:
Now, if you would like, come light a candle to remember some of those moments that are important to you. Maybe they are important to you right now. Maybe it is a memory of something you’ve lost. Maybe it’s a moment of something you’ve found. This group of people, here tonight, will help you, in support, of the events and feelings that are most important to you.
(SHARING)
Service Leader:
For those thoughts and feelings expressed, and for those still too tender which remain in the silent sanctuary of our hearts, this community stands ready to listen, wanting to understand, and willing to support.

Narrator:
That night, when he fell asleep, Coyote dreamed. In his dream, White Buffalo Woman - the wisest and most understanding spirit who lives in our dreams - appeared to him. White Buffalo woman asked why he was so sad and frightened. Coyote explained how he had lost his songs, his music and his dance. He didn’t know what to do, and he was afraid that, next, he would lose his fire.

White Buffalo Woman asked him why he was out here all alone. Coyote explained that he was tired of being surrounded all the time by those silly creatures who looked and acted so strange and lived such ridiculous lives. He explained that he had decided that he would live by himself, away from them all.

"Coyote," said White Buffalo Woman, "don’t you understand that your music and your dance, and even your fire, are nothing but the spirits of those creatures who are different from you? As you drove them away, they left even your heart and took their spirits with them. If you want your music and dance back, you must go back to your friends and accept them back into your heart. Only then will you be able to go on."

The next morning when Coyote awoke, he couldn’t remember his dream, but when the birds began to sing, as they always do in the morning, he sat still and listened to them. Then, he began to go back the way he had come. That night, when he built his fire, he could remember a short song. And after he finished that one a longer one. And more and more until all the songs he knew came back to him, and some he’d never remembered knowing.

The next day he went off, back the way he had come, and chanced upon Moose. And he asked Moose how to get across the wide and sloppy marsh. Moose smiled and led him to a dry spot and used one of his giant antlers to point the way to a very narrow trail. Coyote followed that trail and found that it led to a meadow at the end of the marsh, a meadow more beautiful than he ever remembered seeing. He built his fire there and that night, in addition to his singing he discovered that the drum seemed impatient for him to begin playing it. And the flute practically played itself. That night was not lonely at all and he slept with a smile on his face.

In the morning, he was on his way, back the way he’d come. Reaching the top of the hill he found rabbit scampering about. When Coyote saw Rabbit he stopped. He looked at him from only a few paces away. Suddenly, Rabbit stopped hopping. His nose twitched. His eyebrows raised. What was Coyote thinking, he wondered. Just then, Coyote bounded toward him with more energy than anyone had ever seen from Coyote in years, and he began to jump too! All around rabbit. And they jumped and they played and they ran all about in the field just above the clearing where they all lived. That night, back in his own tipi, Coyote invited all the animals from all around to join him. And he built the biggest, most magnificent fire any of them had ever seen. And he brought out his drum and his flute and everyone helped make music. And then he began to sing. And this is what he sang.

HYMN 99 (Fourth verse) Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen

Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen
Nobody knows my sorrow
Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen
Glory Hallelujah!
One day when I
was walking ‘long
Oh, yes, Lord!
The heavens broke
and love came down
Oh, yes, Lord!
Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen
Nobody knows my sorrow
Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen
Glory Hallelujah!

Narrator:
And after they finished singing, Old Coyote, took some careful steps right next to the fire and he took the hands and paws and wings of all his friends and he began to lead them in a dance. And this is the dance he decided to do.

(Will teach the steps)
I danced in the morning when the sun came to light
I danced in the evening and well into the night
I danced in my visions ‘till a Woman I did see
I am the Lord of the dance said she.

Dance, Dance whoever you may be
I am the Lord of the dance said he
And I’ll lead you all, wherever you may be
And I’ll lead you all in the dance said he.

OFFERTORY
Service Leader
:
This community of people gathers together attempting to accept ourselves, each other and the world around us. We strive to make ourselves, and each other, the best person we can be. We do this by our generosity. We are generous with our time, our talent and our money. This evening, when the basket comes round to you please give something important. If it is money, that is great. This community and it’s programs will make good use of it. But it is equally important to give of your dreams. If that is your gift to us tonight, think of what you would wish for yourself or this community, or the world, place that wish in your hand, and, when the basket comes by, drop it in. Those wishes are equally important, and equally welcome.

HYMN 402 From You I Receive
(As the basket goes around)

CLOSING WORDS
Service Leader
:
Coyote had many gifts. Some he lost. But with the help of his community, he found them again. May we all do the same.

CLOSING HYMN 395 Sing and Rejoice