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Lost in the Unitarian Jungle

Intergenerational Service

First Unitarian Congregation of Toronto

May 10, 1998 (Mother’s Day/Teacher Recognition Sunday)

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Description: Ever feel lost when you come to church? Today we explore the feelings of our children (and those who still may feel like a lost child at times), how we learn to find our way and the people who help make us feel at home. RE Teachers/Mother’s Day celebration with Greg Ward and the Dance Choir.

Note:

This service is different in that we used off stage microphone where voices were spoken for the characters.   Each character had someone pantomine the motions and someone speaking the voice.

Staging: Chairs are in concentric circles with six breaks for aisles. The chairs go up on the platform as well. Chalice is in the center of the room. Piano is down on the floor. Plants are scattered around the inside of the circle. Microphone is outside the west door (leading up to the kitchen).

Characters: Mime Voice

Boy: 
Mother: 
Storyteller 
Bears: 
Monkeys:
Lion:
Tree:
Service Leader: 
 

PROCESSIONAL HYMN 346 Come Sing a Song with Me

(Everyone who is in the production processes in one at a time in costume. Each will come, in turn, down one of the aisles, walking around the chalice, and then exiting down another aisle.)

(Hymn Stops. Drumming and intense piano Starts. Fast beat, several drums. All the characters walk continuously through the center of the room going from one aisle to another and back again. The look is bustle and confusion in the middle. Music stops abruptly. People freeze and stay frozen while boy walks out and explores excitedly.)

Storyteller:

Life is exciting. The chance to explore… see new things…. Especially when we’re young. All that energy…. In one body…. Sometimes ya just gotta run around or you’re gonna bust. Such was the case for Hot Rod Harold. Harold got the name "hot rod" from his mom on account of every time they’d go somewhere new, he’d take off like a souped-up dragster and not slow down till he was plum out of gas. To Harold’s mind, there were a million things out there to play with, hang on, jump over, swing from, put in your mouth or stuff in your pocket. Whether it was making friends, chasing animals or being chased by them, there was adventure to be had and Harold wasn’t going to miss a minute of it. And he usually knew when and where to find it: around the next corner, as soon as his mother was out of sight.

(Boy wanders off stage. Drumming and piano starts. Fast beat, several drums. All characters continue to walk continuously. Music stops abruptly. People freeze and stay frozen while Mother comes on stage and looks a little panicked searching for something.)

Storyteller:

Mothers, on the other hand, have a different perspective of the world than their children - especially when their child happens to be Harold. Harold is a handful. No one is more certain of this than his mother, Patty. Patty often refers to herself as Pit Stop Patty, since she spends most of her time hoping Harold will slow down and idle for at least a few minutes. A normal day will include a moment of panic, when she’s lost sight of him, time worrying if he’s safe, a few seconds of anger picking up messes he’s left behind, a note of frustration when he isn’t more careful… and always relief that he’s still her little boy. She often hopes the people he runs into are as patient with him as she tries to be, but she also knows she’s always asking for more patience herself. She wants Harold to be adventurous… but hopes he will be safe. So when she finally finds him, she can explain, "…just exactly how important your are to me young man."

(last line spoken with intensity)

(Mother rushes off stage still looking panicked. Music Starts. Fast beat, several drums, Intense piano. All characters continue to walk continuously. Music stops abruptly. People freeze and stay frozen while boy returns looking at first excited and then (with the help of musical mood change) begins to get more and more worried that he doesn’t recognize anything as familiar anymore.)

Storyteller:

Adventure is exciting… for a while. But there is an important, and hard to recognize - difference between feeling adventurous and feeling lost. Once that lost feeling creeps in, things are very different. Thoughts echo in the back of the head, anxiety rumbles in the pit of our stomach. This is what Harold was beginning to experience. He didn’t know exactly when… or where… or how it occurred to him that he was lost, but there was no mistaking the tingling up his spine and the painful thumping of his heart: Neither home, nor his mother, nor anything he recognized could be seen! And he realized that adventure wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. Harold knew that he’d give anything to be back in his own boring room listening to his mother saying, "Just a minute Harold!" or "Come back here this instant, mister!" We’ve all be lost at one time or another, longing to see something familiar. Each one of us. Can you remember a time when the world felt like that to you?

 

CHALICE LIGHTING

(Service Leader): We light this chalice for all the times we’ve ever felt lost. For the times when we lost sight of our community. For the times when we’d lost sight of friends, lost our purpose or simply lost our mind. May the light of truth, the fire of commitment and the warmth of community guide us home.

Welcome and Greeting:

If any of you are feeling a little lost around here, look for Horizons, or the Adult Program Guide. If you are new and really lost, one of our friendly community members would love to talk to you. Grab a green mug......Now please take a moment to greet those sitting close to you.

 

Music: To gather everyone’s attention and continue the story.

Storyteller:

Harold walked and walked and walked… hoping to find something that looked familiar. But nothing did. All the other times he’d been lost, it had only been for a moment or two. This was much longer. In the past, his mother always popped out from around the corner saying, "There you are!" Not this time. In the past, she’d find him just as the tears were beginning to roll down his face, and she wasn’t sure whether to scold him or pull him in and hold him close to her heart. Worry - anger - relief - ending up with each of them holding on to the other. But this time mom wasn’t there to pick him up or to comfort him. Nope. The only sound Harold could hear now were his own thoughts asking him where he was, what he was going to do, and how would he find his way back home?

He was definitely lost. Even with his super laser powered long range anti-force field binoculars he couldn’t see his mom. Only a lot of plants and bushes and trees he didn’t recognize. And every once in a while he thought he caught a glimpse of one of those Tanzanian ring toothed, bottle-beaked farble slugs, who, as Harold remembered, had an awful habit of eating five year old boys for breakfast. It seemed, Harold had gotten himself so lost, not even his mother’s radar tracking could find him. He began to regret taking off so quickly. He didn’t feel so adventurous anymore. Nor was he keen about seeing anything else new and exciting about now. On top of that he was hungry, and cold, and frightened. This day, Harold learned something new: It’s a jungle out there… and every once in a while we all end up feeling lost in the middle of it.

 

HYMN 97 Sometimes, I Feel Like A Motherless Child

Storyteller:

Something in the air told Harold he was a long way from Home. (refrain: "a long wayaaaa from ho-ome, a long wayay from home.") No doubt about it, Harold was a long way from home. And a long way from his mother. For most of his life, she’d always been there for him.

 

(At this point Harold is facing out towards the audience on his knees. Mother comes in from behind him and stands directly in back of him whispering in his ear and pointing off as if telling a story and reassuring him.)

Storyteller:

When he was hungry, all he had to do was say, "Maaaaaaaawwwwmmmmmeeeee" and she would give him cookies to make the hunger go away (mother hands him an apple. Harold throws it aside and puts his hand out again)…. She would give him cookies to make the hunger go away (mother hands him an apple. Harold throws it aside and puts his hand out again)….. She would give him cookies to make the hunger go away (mother hands him an apple. Harold throws it aside and puts his hand out again)…. Look! This is the way Harold remembers it! (mother gives him box of animal cookies). Okay! That’s better! But this time was different.

 

(The thought of her not being there leaves Harold with an empty hand and shows them both worried.)

Storyteller:

Whenever he became frightened, and the tears welled up - he would cry out, "Maaaaawwwwwmmmmmmeeeee" and she would come around to reassure him. She would wrap her arms around him and sing him a song.

 

(From behind, Mother puts her arms over Harold’s shoulders and sings to him - Family choir can join in. They suddenly stop and Harold and Mother look worried.)

But not this time.

Best of all, whenever he was bored or fidgety, he would shout out, "Maaaawwwwmmmmeeee" and she would bring him a game or read him a story. Mom knew the best games. Sometimes she could just make them up. The best part was that Harold almost always got to win.

 

(Mother and Harold mime playing patty-cake together. After one round Mother walks away and Harold looks sad. Mother is replaced by two monkeys who look on curiously and mimic playing patty cake like Harold).

But this time it was different.

Harold missed his mom something fierce by now. He wanted to feel safe, have someone who would play with him and sing to him. He felt galaxies away from her. It’d been such a long time since she’d seen him Harold was worried that she’d given up looking by now. But somehow she also felt strangely close, like they were almost playing together. He wanted to turn around and jump into her arms but when he did he….

 

(Harold turns around with his arms outstretched and frightens the monkeys who in turn frighten him and everyone runs around in pandemonium. When the chaos settles down, the monkeys turn timidly to Harold)

Monkeys:

Why would you want to turn around and frighten us like that?

Harold:

I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to. I had thought you were my mother.

Monkey 1:

(Speaking to monkey 2)

Imagine that! Him thinking you were his mother... A hairy ape like you!

Monkey 2:

A hairy ape like me? Why you!

(shakes fist)

You should talk. Besides, I rather think I’d make a fine mother.

Monkey 1:

You just barely make a good monkey.

Monkey 2:

Why you

(they start to tussle.)

Harold:

Hey! Wait! I didn’t mean to start a fight! I was just looking for someone to play with. On account of missing my mom.

Monkey1:

Oh, you miss your mom?

Monkey2:

That’s really hard, we know.

Monkey1:

We’ve been away from our mum for some time now.

Monkey2:

We’ll play with you kid. We’re really good at playing around.

Monkey1:

Yeah, if there’s one thing we can do, it’s play.

Monkey2:

Yeah. How about leap monkey. Or ring around the mulberry monkey? Or rock - paper - monkey.

Storyteller:

And they all played happily for quite some time. And for a time Harold managed to forget - at least for a little while - that he couldn’t see his mother anywhere. The monkeys were rather fun, and pretty silly. But soon it occurred to him that all the games they were playing were about monkeys and even though they were fun, he was beginning to feel distinctly like the odd monkey out. He really wanted to play with his own mother and the kind of games she made up. He missed her.

Harold:

Could you two be my mother... I mean, ... If I don’t find her again.

Monkey1:

Awwww, kid. You miss her don’t you?

Harold:

Yeah. I wonder where she is.

Monkey2:

I’m sure she’s feeling a little lost herself... I’m sure it’s tough for her too, being without you.

Monkey1:

Yeah, we know how it is, feeling all alone in a great big place.

Monkey2:

It’ll work out, kid, you wait and see.

Harold:

Yeah, I guess (gloomily). It’s just that it’s been almost twenty minutes already.

Monkey1:

Kid, what you need is a positive attitude. A mantra!

Harold:

A mantra?

Monkey2:

Yeah, kind of like an affirmation.

Monkey1:

...Something that’ll make you realize you’re part of something really big...

Monkey2:

Yeah, with people who really care about you.

Monkey1:

...Where everyone promises to treat everyone else fairly.

Monkey2:

...Everybody working together.

Harold:

Well... I haven’t got anything like that.

Monkey1:

Well you do now kid, ‘cause we’re gonna let you say ours with us.

Harold:

How does it go?

Monkey2:

Get ready kid, it goes like this:

UNISON AFFIRMATION

Love is our doctrine, the quest for truth is our sacrament and service is our prayer. To dwell together in peace, to seek knowledge in freedom, to serve life, to the end that all souls shall grow into harmony with the divine, thus do we covenant with each other and with all.

Harold:

Wow. That really did feel like I wasn’t all alone.

Monkey1:

Not bad, huh?

Harold:

That was all right. Not as good as having my mom here, though.

Monkey2:

No, I guess not.

Monkey1:

I suppose you have a point there.

Monkey2:

Still, pretty good when you’re feeling a little cast out.

Harold:

Yeah... except... I am still hungry...Did it say anything about food... or cookies?

Monkey1:

Hmmm.... Cookies....

Harold:

‘Cause I’m getting kind of hungry.

Monkey2:

Cookies.... I’m not quite sure.

Monkey1:

But now that you mention it, I am getting a little empty around the middle myself.

Monkey2:

You said it. Let’s go over to that big tree and grab some bananas.

(The monkeys scamper off, run around the chalice a few times and then head off over to the tree. Harold follows, but he can’t keep up.)

Harold:

Wait!

Storyteller:

But it was too late. The monkeys, being much faster than Harold, scampered up the tree and were out of sight when he got there. Watching them run away was hard for Harold. At least with them around he felt like he belonged…. He had friends. … He didn’t feel alone. Now he didn’t know where he belonged. On top of that he was still hungry. If his mom was here, she might give him a snack. But without her he would have to learn to survive by his wits. And he felt certain that he was too little to have any wits of his own.

Harold:

Where am I going to get something to eat now. By the law of the jungle only the toughest survive. But I’m not very tough. I don’t even have my bows and arrows or tomahawk or anything.

Tree:

Bow and arrows?!? Tomahawk?!? Don’t shoot!!! I give up!!! Don’t shoot!!!

Harold:

Who said that?

Tree:

I did. Who’s trying to shoot me?

Harold:

I am. I mean, I’m not trying to shoot you. I haven’t any bow or arrows.

Tree:

Well, that’s good. I can’t take anymore poachers. See? My bark has already been shot so many times. And then there’s all these kids who have carved their initials right into me. You wouldn’t do that to me would you kid?

Harold:

No. Mom said I shouldn’t be shooting anything anyway. I just thought maybe I could hunt for some food.

Tree:

What kind of food are you thinking of hunting?

Harold:

Hamburgers.

Tree:

There haven’t been any wild hamburgers in this jungle for quite some time now. They’ve gone extinct. But if it’s food you’re interested in, I might be able to help you out. What’s your name, kid?

Harold:

Harold. Only my mom calls me hot rod. I mean, she used to call me hot rod.

Tree:

Is that because you grew out of it?

Harold:

No. She doesn’t call me hot rod ‘cause she doesn’t call me at all anymore. I’ve been lost for.... well, as long as I can remember.

Tree:

That’s too bad.

Harold:

Now I guess I’m going to starve to death too.

Tree:

Starve to death?!? Not when you’re with me you won’t.

Harold:

Do you have hamburgers?

Tree:

Hamburgers don’t grow on trees, Harold.

Harold:

Cookies?

Tree:

No, no cookies... I’m a tree.

Harold:

What do you have?

Tree:

Apples!

Harold:

Apples?!? Awww.

Tree:

Hey, what do you expect?

Harold:

You’re just like my mom. Always trying to give me things that are good for me.

Tree:

That’s because we want you to grow up big and strong and not have all your teeth rot out with a bunch of sugar and.... Oh... what the heck... OK, kid, check in my bark. I think some squirrels stashed some cookies there a while back.

(Harold opens up the tree’s coat. Pulls out a box of animal cookies)

Harold:

Animal cookies!!

Tree:

Yeah, only don’t tell the animals I gave ‘em to you.

Harold:

Mr. Tree...? Would you be my mom? I mean, you know, if it turns out that my real mom doesn’t come back for me?

Tree:

Awww kid. Look, I know it’s scary being without your mom. Sometimes it can seem like she’s gone off and left you all alone. But ya gotta remember, it’s not easy being a mom. All the things you have to remember, having food whenever you’re hungry, making sure you’re shoes aren’t lost, wiping your nose, knowing where the Band-Aids are. And keeping up with the likes of you.... that can’t be easy. Every once in a while you’re gonna come across a few scary moments. It’s bound to happen.

Harold:

You think so?

Tree:

Sure. I bet she feels at least as bad right now - wanting to know where you are, hoping you’re all right. And I’ll tell you a secret: moms worry too! And they aren’t perfect!

Harold:

Really?

Tree:

It’s true. They just try really hard. And love you as much as they can. That’s the best they can do. That’s why they’re really proud of you when you do things for yourself.

Harold:

Really? How do you know so much about mothers?

Tree:

Aww, heck kid. See that burrow there by your feet... a whole family of rabbits live down there. And up in that branch above your head, there are three mother squirrels up there. Not to mention all the mother birds who build their nests up there and all the little cubs who wander past with their mothers. I’ve seen it all before. I’d guess I’ve taken care of dozens of little ones from time to time. Kept ‘em safe for awhile or kept ‘em from getting hungry. It’s the first time any of ‘em looked like you though.

Harold:

So, do you know my mom?

MEDITATION

Tree:

Your mother? Yeah,... yeah, I guess so... If she’s like I think... her heart beats faster when she can see a smile on your face.... and it sinks down when you cry. She likes telling stories to make you laugh. She dreams about what you’re going to be when you grow up and knows, no matter what it is, it’ll be something special. But she also knows she can’t always do everything for you all the time. So she worries. And there’s not a box big enough to hold all the worries your mother carries for you. If your mother is like I imagine, she thinks about your safety before she considers her own. She makes sure you eat before her and eat all the things that are good for you - like vegetables. And she can’t go to sleep until she knows you’re safe in bed. She brings the doctor when your sick, helps Santa get down the chimney, makes sure the Easter bunny and the tooth fairy have keys to your house. She believes in magic because she’s watched you grow from a tiny baby. She promises to try really hard and figure out what’s best for you, even when she’s not sure. It isn’t very easy, but your mother never gives up - she knows her job is for life. And most of all, she loves you, even when she’s lost herself, you can rely on that....

Storyteller:

Looking down, the tree could tell Harold was far away in his thoughts about his mother. His head was resting on his hands, and his eyes gazed past the edge of the horizon hoping to see her. Tree stopped talking, wishing there was something else he could do. But he knew the most he could do was to sit with Harold and help him miss the mother he was already missing. And for a moment, all was silent in the Jungle while they sat together.

SILENT MEDITATION

Service Leader:

And while Harold thought about his mother, all the animals of the jungle came out and lit a candle - remembering in thanks all the love their own mothers brought, remembering in forgiveness all the love left unshared. For a moment the jungle remembered the joys and sorrows of the mothers they knew.

CANDLES OF JOY AND CONCERN

Storyteller:

Harold sat, lost in his thoughts about his mother, wondering if she would ever find him. Wondering if he would ever get back to where he felt he belonged. So far, he didn’t feel he’d made it any closer to home. Harold became really sad. Tears began to come to his eyes and he felt ready to give up. And he just might have, if it weren’t for those three bears that had come across his tracks on account of having followed the scent of a box of cookies in Harold’s pocket.

Bear 1:

Whatcha doing?

Storyteller:

Upon seeing the bears, Harold nearly jumped out of his shoes.

Harold:

A pack of wild ferocious bears! Oh, this is just great! I’m lost, I can’t find my mother, and now these bears are going to eat me! This is just great!

Bear 2:

Eat you? I don’t want to eat you! Do you want to eat him?

Bear 3:

I don’t want to eat you. Do you want to eat him?

Bear 1:

Don’t be ridiculous! We don’t even have any steak sauce.

(Other bears nudge him).

Bears:

We don’t want to eat you.

Harold:

You don’t?

Bear 2:

No! But if I’m not mistaken you have a box of animal cookies in your right pocket there. We wouldn’t mind eating those.

Bear 3:

No, we wouldn’t.

Bear 1:

As long as we don’t have any steak sauce.

(Other bears nudge him).

Harold:

Huh? Oh, sure, might as well. It’s not like I’m ever going to find my way home anyway. Here, take it!

Storyteller:

And with that, Harold shoved his hands in his pockets, slumped down and began to cry.

Bear 2:

(Eating the cookie)

What’s wrong. If it’s the cookie, we’re sorry. There’s still half a box left. You want some?

Bear 3:

Here, take mine.

Bear 1:

Take ‘em all.

Harold:

No, it’s not the cookies. I’m just really lost. I’ve been in this jungle forever. At least it feels like forever. I miss my mother, I don’t know what to do and no one cares!

Bear 2:

That’s not true!

Bear 3:

Not true at all!

Bear 1:

Huh?

(others nudge him)

Oh, absolutely not!

Harold:

What do you mean?

Bear 2:

We care. Don’t we guys?

Bear 3:

You bet.

Bear 1:

Never cared more.

Bear 2:

There you go. We do care.

Harold:

You do?

Bear 3:

Well, certainly. And what’s more, We’re going to stay right here with you till you cheer up and feel at home.

Bear 1:

Right here with you, that’s right. Till the bitter end.

(others nudge him).

Bear 2:

What he means is, we’re gonna stick with you, like real friends.

Bear 3:

Through thick and thin!

Bear 1:

Yes we are. Absolutely. Do you have any more of those cookies

(other bears nudge him).

Harold:

Well, what I’d really like is to find my mom.

Bear 2:

Sure you do. We can understand that.

Bear 3:

Absolutely. After all there’s nothing like having a mom when you’re lost.

Bear 1:

But it seems like if you had your mom, you wouldn’t be lost

(other bears nudge him).

Bear 2:

Truth is we’re a little lost ourselves.

Bear 3:

Been wandering around in this jungle for most of this service.

Bear 1:

Yeah. Goldilocks kicked us out!

(Other bears nudge him).

Harold:

Really?

Bear 2:

Yeah. But we’ve found each other.

Bear 3:

And now we don’t feel so lost anymore.

Bear 1:

(smiles. Other bears nudge him.)

Hey! I didn’t say anything.

Bear 2:

You were thinking something goofy.

Bear 3:

Anyway, when things get really down we know we can take care of each other.

Bear 2:

Then we don’t feel so bad, having one another to lean on.

SONG Lean on Me.

Bear 1:

Hey, you catch on real quick.

Bear 2:

Yeah, you’re a natural. You can hang out with us anytime.

Harold:

Thanks. I feel better being with you. Although I’d still kind of like to find my mom.

Bear 3:

Yeah, I bet you really miss her, huh?

Harold:

Yeah.

(Wipes away a tear)

Bear 2:

Awwww..... look fellas, he’s all broken up. We’re sorry little guy.

Bear 3:

Yeah, it must be awful being out here away from your mum.

Bear 1:

Yeah, it must be unbearable! (Other bears nudge him).

Bear 2:

Ohhhh... We can’t have you feeling so low. C’mon you guys, group hug!

Bear 3:

Group hug?

Bear 1:

Bear hug!

(Harold nudges him).

Harold:

Thanks. I don’t feel so lost anymore.

Bear 2:

Good. We don’t either.

Bear 3:

No sir!

Bear 1:

Were we lost?

(Other bears nudge him)

Harold:

Will you all be my mother. I mean, if we never find our way out of the jungle and back to my real mother.

Bear 2:

Aww, kid. We can’t go out there.

Bear 3:

No, we have to stay here. But at least you’ll know that whenever you’re here in this jungle you’ll never be lost.

Bear 2:

That’s right, because we’ll always be here for you.

Bear 1:

Darn tootin’. Say, do you have anymore of those cookies?

(Other bears nudge him).

Harold:

No, I’m afraid I’m all out.

Bear 2:

That’s OK. But if you got any more of those hugs left, we’ll take one of those.

Bear 3:

Group hug!

Harold:

How will I get home though, if you can’t help me find the way.

Bear 1:

We can’t help you. But we know someone who can. She is the wisest and smartest animal in the whole jungle. If anyone can help you find your mother, she can.

Storyteller:

So, with the bears all pointing the way, Harold went off in search of this wise and knowledgeable creature to help him find his way back to his mother. He searched high and low, up and down, over and under, all around the place where the bears told him to look. But he couldn’t find her. With no idea of where she could be, Harold sat down as sad and as confused as ever.

Lion:

(Tiptoeing up behind Harold and tapping him on the shoulder)

You look as sad and as confused as ever... and more than a little lost.

Harold:

(Startled)

Oh my! Are you the wisest and most knowledgeable creature in the whole Jungle?

Lion:

Why, yes I am. Here’s my card.

(Hands Harold a business card).

Harold:

Thank you.

Lion:

What can I do for you?

Harold:

I’m lost.

Lion:

Yes, I can see that.

Harold:

I’d like you to help me find my mother.

Lion:

You want me to help you find your mother, huh? Well, I think maybe I can do that. But you’re going to have to help me out. Can you describe her? What’s she like? What kinds of things does she do?

Harold:

Well, she’s really good at playing Battlestar warriors 5000. And all sorts of other games. She likes to run around the backyard with me and sometimes she can swing me in the air till I laugh so hard I almost pee my pants...

Lion:

She plays a lot of games with you?

Harold:

Yeah, a lot of games.

Lion:

You mean, like those monkeys I saw you playing with earlier.

Harold:

Well, yeah. Except she’s prettier than the monkeys.

Lion:

Well, I hope so. What else can you tell me about her?

Harold:

Umm.... She’s a good cook. She makes macaroni and cheese and hot dogs and sometimes we have pizza. And she lets me eat as many chocolate chip cookies and candy bars as I want and....

Lion:

(Looking over her glasses at Harold)

Is that so? Remember, I am the wisest of all creatures in the Jungle.

Harold:

Well, I guess it’s not exactly true.

Lion:

I thought not.

Harold:

She usually gives me food that’s good for me.

Lion:

You mean just like the tree over there tried to give you?

Harold:

Yeah, I guess so.

Lion:

What else?

Harold:

Sometimes, when it’s late in the day and I’m getting tired, she puts her arms around me and she sings to me.

Lion:

You mean like those bears did for you just now?

Harold:

Yeah.

Lion:

It seems like you’ve managed to find many of the things that your mother gives you right here in this place. Even though you didn’t know many of these creatures before they were able to play with you and feed you and care about you and keep you safe and warm. All of that here in this strange jungle.

Harold:

Yeah, I guess so.

Lion:

Does that tell you something.

Harold:

I guess it does.

Lion:

Like you don’t always need to be so afraid of new things. Sometimes there are places where you don’t have to be afraid, where you can belong, even when your mother isn’t around.

Harold:

But my mom also helps to teach me things...

Lion:

          Just like I’m doing now...

Harold:

Yeah, I guess you’re right.

Lion:

Of course I’m right. I’m the wisest and most knowledgeable animal in the Jungle. Here take one of my cards.

Harold:

I already have one.

Lion:

Oh.

Harold:

All of this is important, I know, but still.... it’s not like having my mom here with me.

Lion:

That’s true, it’s not. Sometimes there is no substitute for your own mother.. Do you still want me to help you find your mother, even though she’s not always as adventurous as you, and gives you things that are good for you instead of everything you ask for?

Harold:

Yes. I understand what you’re trying to teach me, and believe me, I want my own mother back again - as soon as possible please.

Lion:

Well then, maybe if you call her, with all your strength, then she’ll hear you and come to you.

Harold:

Do you really think that if I call with all my strength she’ll come.

Lion:

Absolutely. Go ahead, give it a try.

Storyteller:

So with every bit of breath he could muster Harold called out:

Maaaaaaammmmmmmmeeeeeeeeeee

And he stood very still and waited... and listened.... until............. nothing. Disappointed, Harold walked back over to the lion and with a tear in his eye spoke to him.

Harold:

You were wrong. I called with every bit of strength I had and she still didn’t come.

Lion:

That’s not true.

Harold:

What do you mean?

Lion:

You didn’t call with every bit of strength you had.

Harold:

But, I...

Lion:

You didn’t call with my help.

Storyteller:

And with that the lion went over to edge of the clearing and took hold of the microphone.

Lion:

Attention Bargain Jungle Shoppers. There is a lost little boy wandering between the pet department and the garden department. If there is a mother out there who is looking for her lost little boy, we suggest you try looking there. And thank you for shopping at the Bargain Jungle.

(Reunion)

HYMN 201 Glory Glory Hallelujah

TEACHER RECOGNITION CEREMONY.

Mother:

Come on Harold. You’ve had quite a big day. We should be getting home.

Harold:

Wait, mother. Before we go, I have to thank everyone who helped me to find you.

Storyteller:

So, Harold went around to each of the people he’d met that day, gave them a big hug and thanked them for all they had done to care for him. Indeed, it’d been quite a day that day in the Bargain Jungle. And though it had been scary, he learned a lot. Like how special his mother his mother was and how much she did for him. And, at the same time, how she probably worried about being able to do all the things that needed to happen and how much she probably depended on others. He learned how many people it takes to care for a child when a mother can’t be there - people to play, to feed, to care, to teach. Each one of us, old and young, have the ability to care for others. To know that we live in a community of caring people is to know what it means to belong somewhere. It often takes time and effort to go from feeling lost to feeling like we belong. But it’s worth it. I know. I was Harold when I was a little boy. And a part of Harold lives on in most of us no matter how old we get.

 

Helen:

This congregation that holds us together can sometimes feel like a jungle, especially to the smaller people among us. But when we really explore, we find that it is more caring than scaring. No where is this more true than in the Children’s Religious Education Program. All year long more than twenty five members helped plan, organize and keep the program on track. And many more were around especially for hugs and support. Just as Harold knew it was important to honor those who cared for him, so too must we honor those who’ve helped care for us.

Will all those among us who have taught in the RE program this year please stand, and stay standing. Will those who served on the committee or in an advisory position please stand. Will those who worked on a children’s special event please stand. Will those who helped by bringing snack please stand. Will those who participated in the secret friends program please stand. Take a look around you and notice how many people have helped to care for our children this year.

We thank you all. To show you, we would like those who have taught in the program to take home one of the plants adorning our stage today. May you be reminded how life - and spirits - grow when time and care are offered. For the rest of our caregivers we have special diplomas. These diplomas have a poem printed on them, along with the signatures of many of our parents. We would like to read you this poem now, and to do this we have asked our Curriculum Coordinator and long time Religious Education advocate, Kathi Willing.

Kathi Willing:

I watch you raise your children. I watch you in the parking lot scooting them out of the car, alarming them to the fact that they are making you late to church and asking them to hold an item you brought for some committee.

I watch you glance at them during the Opening Hymn and I watch your eyes trail their faces as they go off to Sunday school. I watch you quiet them at coffee hour and hold their hands as you lead them off to other Sunday events. I watch you watch them during the story. And I watch the hope in your heart or this life, the very life of your life.

I witness my own quiet attachment to many of your children. I watch with tears you do not see, at how they are growing and changing presence. I look at a young man who now has a deep voice and whiskers and remember when he was a boy with dimples. I look at a young girl who moves like a gymnast, and remember when she was two years old and had little balance due to all that energy God grants two year olds. I watch too, and share many of your hopes.

I also watch grown ups here. I watch those who not only live with an empty nest at home, but an empty pew in church, whose kids grace the aisle at Easter or Christmas, stunned that this is all. Why didn’t anyone say it would move so fast, and why can’t we slow it down?

I watch you raise your children. I watch your heart beat at the miracle they bestow.

Helen:

Thank you all. Please be seated.

Service Leader:

A caring community doesn’t happen automatically when a lot of people are brought together. It takes the willingness to work, to risk and to give. As a caring community we give of our time, our talents and also our money. We will now receive this morning’s offering.

HYMN 348 Guide My Feet

CLOSING WORDS

Service Leader:

We all wish for our mother to show us care and nurture, teach us to play nicely and nurture others, so that one day we may understand - it is a job too big for one person. In this work we all have something to offer, and something to gain.

CLOSING SONG

As We Depart This Special Place
May truth yet guide our ways
May peace the nations’ madness grace
and Love fulfill our days.

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