"The Lorax"

Intergenerational Service

April 21, 2002

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PROCESSIONAL HYMN "Enter, Rejoice and Come In"


At the far end of town, where the Grickle-grass grows
and the wind smells, slow-and-sour when it blows

and no birds ever sing, excepting old crows...
is the Street that a creature named the Lorax knows

It is here, deep in the Grickle-grass, some people say,
Where you’ll discover you can still see, today,

where the Lorax once stood
just as long as it could
before somebody lifted the Lorax away.

What was the Lorax? And why was it there?
And why was it lifted and taken somewhere

from the far end of town where the Grickle-grass grows?
The old Once-ler still lives here. And he’s the only one who knows.

You won't see the Once-ler. Don't knock at his door.
He stays in his Lerkim on top of his store.

He lurks in his Lerkim, cold under the roof,
where he makes his own clothes out of miff-muffered moof.

And on special dank midnights in August, he peeks
out of the shutters and sometimes he speaks

and tells how the Lorax was lifted away.
He'll tell you, perhaps... if you're willing to pay.


Service Leader: Welcome! We are glad you’re here. Each week we gather together to pay. Specifically, to pay attention… to the good in us, in others and the higher good in our world. This community asks us to stop and pay attention to our families, to our friends, to all that is asked of us in the name of justice, compassion, understanding, commitment and service. This morning, with the Onceler and the Lorax we ask you to take a moment to set down all the concerns and cares, the headlines and deadlines of life and pay attention to that spirit within us that asks us to lead a deeper, more reverent life. This morning we pay special attention to the spirit of the earth, how we are in relationship to it as part of the interdependent web and what that asks of us. Welcome!

CHALICE LIGHTING: We light this chalice so that…

HYMN: Where Have All the Flowers Gone?



O: "Now I'll tell you," he says, with his teeth sounding ray,
"how the Lorax got lifted and taken away...

It all started way back...
such a long, long time back...

Way back in the days when the grass was still green
and the pond was still wet and the clouds were still clean,

and the song of the Swomee-Swans rang out in space...
one morning, I came to this glorious place.

And I first saw the trees! The Truffula Trees!
The bright-colored tufts of the Truffula Trees!
Mile after mile in the fresh morning breeze.

And, under the trees, I saw Brown Bar-ba-loots
frisking about in their Bar-bo-loot suits
as they played in the shade and ate Truffula Fruits."

From the rippulous pond came the comfortable sound
of the Humming-Fish humming while splashing around."

But those trees! Those trees! Those Truffula Trees!
All my life I'd been searching for trees such as these."

The touch of their tufts was much softer than silk.
And they had the sweet smell of fresh butterfly milk."

I felt a great leaping of joy in my heart.
I knew just what I'd do! I unloaded my cart."

In no time at all, I had built a small shop.
Then I chopped down a Truffula Tree with one chop."

And with great skillful skill and with great speedy speed.
I took the soft tuft. And I knitted a Thneed!"

…the instant I'd finished, I heard a ga-Zump!
I looked. I saw something pop out of the stump

…of the tree I'd chopped down. It was sort of a man.
Describe him?...That's hard. I don't know if I can."

He was shortish. And oldish. And brownish. And mossy.
And he spoke with a voice that was sharpish and bossy."

O: "…he said with a sawdusty sneeze,"
L: "I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees."

L: "I speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues.
And I'm asking you, sir, at the top of my lungs"--

O: He was very upset as he shouted and puffed--
L: "Whats that THING you've made out of my Truffula tuft?"

O:"Look, Lorax," I said. "There's no cause for alarm.
I chooped just one tree. I am doing no harm.

O: "I'm being quit useful. This thing is a Thneed.
A Thneed's a Fine-Something-That-All-People-Need!"

O: "It's a shirt. It's a sock. It's a glove. It's a hat.
But it has other uses. Yes, far beyond that."

O: "You can use it for carpets. For pillows! For sheets!
Or curtains! Or covers for bicycle seats!"

Storyteller: The Lorax said,
L:"Sir! You are crazy with greed.
There is no one on earth who would buy that fool Thneed!"

O: "But the very next minute I proved he was wrong.
For, just at that minute, a chap came along,"

O: "and he thought that the Thneed I had knitted was great.
He happily bought it for three ninety-eight.

O:I laughed at the Lorax, "You poor stupid guy!
You never can tell what some people will buy."

L:"I repeat, I speak for the trees!"
O:"I'm busy," I told him. "Shut up, if you please."

O: I rushed 'cross the room, and in no time at all,
built a radio-phone. I put in a quick call.

O: "I called all my brothers and uncles and aunts
and I said, "Listen here! Here's a wonderful chance

O: "For the whole Once-ler Family to get mighty rich!
Get over here fast! Take the road to North Nitch.
Turn left at Weehawken. Sharp right at South Stitch."

O: "And, in no time at all, in the factory I built,
the whole Once-ler Family was workign full tilt."

O: "We were all knitting Thneeds just as busy as bees,
to the sound of the chopping of Truffula Trees."

O: "Then... Oh! Baby! Oh! How my business did grow!
Now, chopping one tree at a time was too slow."

O: "So I quickly invented my Super-axe-hacker
which whacked off four Truffula Trees at one smacker."

O: "We were making Thneeds four times as fast as before!
And that Lorax?... He didn't show up any more."


Service Leader:

Certainly we all have come across situations in our weeks and years where we are happy for things that have gone well. For the feeling of being productive, creative, successful, profitable. These are good things. We do well to remember our gratitude for these. It is also important for us to remember the losses that we incur, the sacrifices made, the hardships endured. It is well to share these sorrows as well as our celebrations that we may know that each is made more meaningful when understood by the community we respect and support. Quite often we will see the irony of how some of our most profound joys can somehow be linked to sorrow – and from out of sorrow, joy has the power to rise up. Now is the time in our service where the love that binds us together is spoken aloud. If you have a joy or concern that by sharing with the caring concern of this community will bring a measure of healing or a moment of happiness, we invite you to….


O: "You’ll remember the Lorax who had walked away quite sore?
Well, the very next week he knocked on my new office door."

O: "He snapped,"
L: "I'm the Lorax who speaks for the trees
which you seem to be chopping as fast as your please."

L: "But I'm also in charge of the Brown Bar-bo-loots
who played in the shade in their Bar-bo-loot suits.
and happily lived, eating Truffula Fruits."

L: "NOW...thanks to your hacking my trees to the ground,
there's not enough Truffula Fruit to go 'round."

L: "And my poor Bar-ba-loots are all getting the crummies
because they have gas, and no food, in their tummies!"

L: "They loved living here. But I can't let them stay.
They'll have to find food. And I hope that they may
Good luck, boys,"
Storyteller: he cried. And he sent them away.

O: "I, the Once-ler, felt sad as i watched them all go.
BUT...(Onceler can roar this)-business is business! And business must grow
regardless of crummies in tummies, you know."

O: I meant no harm. I most truly did not.
But I had to grow bigger. So bigger I got."

O: "I biggered my factory. I biggered my roads.
I biggered my wagons. I biggered the loads"

O: "of the Thneeds i shipped out. I was shippping them forth
to the South! To the East! To the West! To the North!"

O: "I went right on biggering...selling more Thneeds.
And I biggered my money, which everyone needs."

O: "Then again he came back! I was fixing some pipes
when that old-nuisance Lorax came back with more gripes."

L:"I am the Lorax,"
Storyteller: he coughed and he whiffed.
He sneezed and he snuffled. He snarggled. He sniffed.

L: "Once-ler!"
Storyteller: he cried with a cruffulous croak.
L:"Once-lear! You're making such smogulous smoke!

L: "My poor Swomee-Swans...why, they can't sing a note!
(some swans appear who are trying to sing, but can't)
No one can sing who has smog in his throat."

L: "And so --please pardon my cough--
they caannot live here. So I'm sending them off."

L: "I know what you’re asking, ‘Where will they go?’
I would like to tell you, but I don't rightly know."

L: "They may have to fly for a month...or a year...
(Swans fly away*)
To escape from the smog you've smogged-up around here."

L: "What's more,"
Storyteller: snapped the Lorax. His dander was up.
L:"Let me say a few words about Gluppity-Clupp.

L: "Your machinery chugs on, day and night without stop.
making Gluppity-Glupp. Also Schloppity-Schlopp."

L: "And what do you do with this leftover goo?...
I'll show you. You dirty old Once-ler man, you!"

L: "You're glumping the pond where the Humming-Fish hummed!
No more can they hum, for their gills are all gummed."

L: "So I'm sending them off. Oh, their future is dreary.
They'll walk on their fins and get woefully weary."

L: "in search of some water that isn't so smeary.
I hear things are just as bad up in Lake Erie."

HYMN "If I Had a Hammer"


O: "And then I got mad. I got terribly mad.
I yelled at the Lorax, "Now listen here, Dad!"

O: "All you do is yap-yap and say, 'Bad! Bad! Bad! Bad!'
Well, I have my rights, sir, and I'm telling you
I intend to go on doing just what I do!"

O: "And, for your information, you stick in the mud, you
Hear what I thinking and you’ll really boo hoo.

O: "I'm figgering on biggering
and your righteous ideals I will be a-triggering."

O: "turning MORE Truffula Trees into Thneeds
which everyone, EVERYONE, EVERYONE needs!"
(slight pause)

Storyteller: "And at that very moment, we heard a loud whack!
From outside in the fields came a sickening smack

Storyteller: "of an axe on a tree. Then we heard the tree fall.
The very last Truffula Tree – the last of them all!"

O: "No more trees. No more Thneeds. No more work to be done.
So, in no time, my uncles and aunts, every one,"

O: "all waved me good-bye. they jumped into my cars
and drove away under the smoke-smuggered stars."

O: "Now all that was left 'neath the bad-smelling sky
was my big empty factory… the Lorax... and I.

O: "The Lorax said nothing. Just gave me a glance...
just gave me a very sad, sad backward glance...
as he lifted himself by the seat of his pants."

O: "And I'll never forget the grim look on his face
when he heisted himself and took leave of this place,
through a hole in the smog, without leaving a trace."

O: "And all that the Lorax left here in this mess
was a small pike of rocks, with the one word..."UNLESS."
Whatever that meant, well, I just couldn't guess."

Service Leader:

What do you think he meant when he said, ‘unless?’ (Ask some people)

None of us, I imagine, are unfamiliar with the idea of the earth becoming more and more polluted. From Ozone depletion and global warming, to the elimination of species by destroying their habitats to the difficulty in breathing to traffic and noise. Pollution has become a reality because we have chosen to care about the convenience of our days or the speed of our lives more than obligation to sustain the earth which has sustained us for so long. The word, ‘unless’ may be a reminder for us. A reminder saying that ‘unless’ we care about the earth, it may not always be here to care about us.

From the words of Adrienne Rich:

My heart is moved by all I cannot save:
So much has been destroyed
I have to cast my lost with those who, age after age,
Perversely, with no extraordinary power,
reconstitute the world.

It is one of the most fundamental of spiritual practices to learn how to save what is being lost, to care for what is being treated carelessly. Our exercise in spirituality is found in how we become part of that cycle of caring. Each week we give of ourselves such that our efforts may reconstitute the world and the love we find in it. We do this by giving of our time, talents and our money. We will now receive this morning’s offering for the good of this church and the world that we serve.


O: "That was long,long ago. But each day since that day
I've sat here and worried and worried away."

O: "Through the years, while my buildings have fallen apart,
I've worried about it with all of my heart."

O: "But now,"
Storyteller: says the Once-ler,
O: "Now that you're here,
the word of the Lorax seems perfectly clear.

(slight pause)

O: "UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot,
nothing is going to get better. Sad to say, but, it's not.

O: "SO... Catch!"
Storyteller: calls the Once-ler as he lets something fall.
O: "It's a Truffula Seed. It's the last one of all!

(Hand out acorns – one to everyone))

O: "You're in charge of the last of the Truffula Seeds.
And Truffular Trees are what everyone needs.

O: "Plant a new Truffula. Treat it with care.
Give it clean water. And feed it fresh air.

O: "Grow a forest. Protect it from axes that hack.
Then the Lorax and all of his friends may come back."


Have a ritual that is centered around a big basket of greenery. This can be vines and plants and greenery of all kinds that you ask the congregation to come and donate to the church. Have a white trellis in the church and ask people to come up and put something on the trellis until it is fully covered and beautiful. There might also be a Flaming Chalice piece that stands out above the trellis. When people hang a garland they might be invited to say what they might do to help encourage more consideration for the earth in the coming year.


(Read by the character playing the Lorax)

L: Please join with me in the spirit of this prayer by Harry Maserve

From arrogance, pompousness, and from thinking ourselves more important than we are, may some saving sense of humor liberate us. For allowing ourselves to ridicule the faith of others, may be forgiven.

From making war and calling it peace, special privilege and calling it justice, indifference and calling it tolerance, pollution and calling it progress, may we be cured.

For telling ourselves and other that evil is inevitable while good is impossible, may we stand corrected.

God of our mixed up, tragic, aspiring, doubting, and insurgent lives, help us to be as good in our hearts as we have always wanted to be.


HYMN "I’ve Got the Whole World in My Hand"


Service Leader:
In the words of Edward Everett Hale:
I am only one
But still I am one.
I cannot do everything,
But still I can do something.
And because I cannot do everything
I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.
Edward Everett Hale