This story reminds us of the integral role generosity plays in our
When we are led to believe that we
cannot afford to be generous, we keep to ourselves our possessions, our time and
even our caring.
This frustrates us as we were meant
to be relational beings.
Generosity is key to our well being.
The seating is circular.
The chalice is in the middle of the
There is a floor mic in a small
clearing with a chair next to it.
There is a trellis decorated with
vines and greenery.
This will be decorated with the
flowers when they are brought up.
There are approx. 200 warm fuzzies and a few warm fuzzy bags made
from cloth or paper bags.
There is a simple trellis in which
flowers can be placed.
The witch wears a hat and
minister’s black robe over a very colorful outfit.
The song lady has a very colorful
We will use prickly balls that fall
from trees (cold pricklies) and some plastic Brillo sponges (plastic fuzzies). A
white blanket for the birth scene.
A dozen roses.
(Children’s Choir sings
Flower Communion Song. )
(Stage is open with a trellis
in place of the pulpit and a chair in front where Storyteller sits with the
The Wheelers are on the edge of the
circle and walk in as they are introduced.)
Once upon a time, long ago, in a small village deep in an enchanted
forest, there lived a very happy family.
Mark.... (wait for Mark to wave to congregation )...
had two children, Lindsey.... and
To understand how happy they were
you had to understand how things were in those days.
(Wheelers are looking very happy, giving one another hugs and encouragement and
sharing Warm Fuzzies with one another.
Greg will play the mayor as the
family relives Christopher’s birth, wrapping him in a white blanket as Greg
brings him a fuzzy bag. )
Back in those days, whenever someone was born, the mayor of the village would come
by and present them with their very own ‘fuzzy bag’.
Everyone would gather around and
admire the child and congratulate the parents.
But not simply in words.
They would offer their heartfelt
congratulations by giving the parents - and especially the child - something very
Each child, then, at birth, would
have their very own warm fuzzy bag filled with warm fuzzies.
What’s a warm fuzzy?
Did I really hear you ask that?
I thought EVERYONE knew about warm
Let me tell you.
Warm fuzzies are magic.
They are love come to life.
They range in size.
The smallest fuzzy would be the size
of a tiny baby’s hand.
But when you pulled it out of its
bag and it got to see the light of day it would blossom into a large shaggy, warm
In the village they were given away with great freedom and generosity.
When anyone noticed a person in need
of cheering up, they would place a warm fuzzy in their hand, or lay it on their
shoulder, or in their lap.
Almost immediately the Fuzzy would
snuggle up to them and make them feel warm and loved.
But Fuzzies weren’t just for
people who were sad.
Everyone liked to get them and they
helped make people feel loved.
They seemed to help the baker make
better bread, the carpenter build better houses and the cobbler make better shoes.
It was discovered that if people didn’t get warm fuzzies regularly, they were in
danger of developing a terrible sickness.
Their backs would shrivel up, their
heads would turn into their chest and they would curl up into a little ball.
Sometimes they would even disappear,
never to be seen again.
The thought of this happening
horrified the people of the village.
Everyone considered it their responsibility
to help take care of one another, and for that reason warm fuzzies were very
important and handed out generously.
In those days it was easy to get warm fuzzies.
Anytime that somebody felt like it,
she might walk up to you and say, “I’d like to have a warm fuzzy.”
Whoever heard them would reach into
their bag and pull out a small fuzzy and soon it would be nestling against their
skin, feeling soft and warm.
Sometimes you could even hear it
People were always asking each other
for Warm Fuzzies, and since they were always given freely, getting enough of them
was never a problem.
There were always plenty to go
around, and as a consequence everyone was happy and felt warm and fuzzy most of
We light this chalice this morning for the warmth and love we have in
for the courage to share our heart with others
and for the wisdom to recognize that the most powerful love we have
is the love we give away.
Welcome, everyone, to the Unitarian
Universalist Metro Atlanta North Congregation and to our annual Flower Communion
We are a community of people who
have made it a privilege and a responsibility to share our lives with one another.
We share our our stories, our dreams and our pain.
Our goal is that through our sharing
we will transform lives.
This morning we will try to make a
more beautiful world just by being together and sharing what we have brought.
Will everyone who brought one,
please hold up their flower!
Look at the richness!
(Guitar begins to play “Inch by Inch” in
the background )
(The Wheelers, Karen, Greg, Emily and Jenna will help carry baskets and collect the
Whether you are young or old, a founding member or here for the first time, we
invite you to participate in this service.
Before our very eyes, we are going
to witness how the power of sharing can make the world a more beautiful place.
When the basket comes around to you
please place the flower you have brought inside and pass it on to the person next
The flowers will be collected and
then used to decorate our threshold.
As the baskets are being passed,
[Guitarist] will lead us in singing.
The chorus is printed in your order
(Dave leads ‘The Garden Song’ )
OF THE FLOWERS
Inch by inch, row by row,
Gonna make this garden grow.
All it takes is a rake and a hoe
And a piece of fertile ground
Inch by inch, row by row,
Someone bless these seeds I sow
Someone warm them from below
'Til the rain comes tumblin' down.
Pullin' weeds and pickin' stones
We are made of dreams and bones
I feel the need to grow my own
'Cause the time is close at hand
Grain for grain, sun and rain,
I'll find my way in nature's chain
I'll tune my body and my brain
To the music of the land.
Plant your rows straight and long
Temper them with prayer and song
Mother earth will keep you strong
If you give her love and care
An old crow watching hungrily
From his perch in yonder tree
In my garden I'm as free as that
Feathered thief up there
Find your way in this place
help a frown find a happy face
reach up high from a sturdy base
when the wind howls all around
Count your friends one by one
they’ll lend a smile when you have none
they’ll help you laugh and have some fun
so your chores can’t keep you down.
We will grow straight and tall
Not gonna bow to this springtime squall
Not gonna stop, no, not at all
Gonna live life best I can
I don’t know what plan’s in store
But I’m not gonna wait behind no door
With my friends, I’m never poor
‘long as I can lend a hand.
(Pianist begins to play Hymn 97
in the background, very softly and slowly. )
(Wheelers are on the edge of the circle, sitting
in a group, sharing and laughing silently.)
All was well in the village where Mark and Laurie lived with Lindsey and
For years and years they shared
fuzzies with one another and with their friends and neighbors - even with
strangers who had found their way while wandering in the forest.
For a long time everyone was very
Everyone except the witch.
(Witch is in the center, looking discontent and bitter, stirring her cauldren)
All this time the witch had lived at the edge of the forest.
She stood over her cauldron and
mixed up potions and devised spells.
She made ointments and creams.
She created salves and medicines.
All of these she made to help cure
people who found that they were beginning to shrivel up and disappear.
But because everyone had warm
fuzzies and shared them so freely, there hadn’t been much of a need for the
witch or her cupboard of potions.
(Laurie, Lindsey and Christopher move over about 15 feet still on the edge of the
They sit in a circle and are still
Mark stays where he is and the witch
comes over to him from behind and whisper’s in his ear.)
This made the witch very lonely, and like many people when they get lonely, she
So one day she devised a very
clever, very wicked, very cranky plan.
On a beautiful morning, while Laurie
was playing with Lindsey and Christopher, the witch crept up to Mark and whispered
in his ear.
“See there Mark!
Look at all the Fuzzies that Laurie
is giving to the children.
You know, if she keeps it up,
eventually she is going to completely run out of Warm Fuzzies and then there
won’t be any left for you!!!”
Mark was astonished.
He turned to the witch and asked,
“Do you mean to tell me that there isn’t a Warm Fuzzy in our bag every time we
reach into it?”
The witch laughed her cackling
“Heavens no!!!” she hissed.
“And once you run out, that’s
You don’t have any more!”
These words sent a chill running up Mark’s spine.
He felt his heart turn to stone the
very second the words came from the witch’s lips.
Seeing that his face had turned pale
and tears were streaming from his eyes, the witch slowly backed away and rode away
on her broom, cackling and laughing as she went.
(Laurie, Lindsey and Christopher begin moving and laughing silently.
Mark moves to the center and begins
to observe how they share their fuzzies.)
Very soon after this Mark’s attitude began to change.
Every time he noticed Laurie giving
a warm fuzzy to somebody else, he got worried.
He became upset.
He liked Laurie’s Warm Fuzzies
very much and did not want her to run out.
If she did, he would never get any.
He certainly did not think it was
right for Laurie to be giving all her warm fuzzies to the children and to other
(Mark goes to Laurie and complains.
The children watch.)
He began to complain every time he saw Laurie giving a warm fuzzy to somebody
And because Laurie loved him very
much, she stopped giving Warm Fuzzies to other people as often and reserved them
(Lindsey and Christopher take their fuzzy bags and tighten the strings and refuse
The children watched this and soon began to get the idea that it was wrong to give
out Warm Fuzzies any time you were asked or felt like it.
They too became careful.
They would watch their parents
closely and whenever they felt that one of their parents was giving too many
Fuzzies to others, they also began to object.
They also began to worry that they
would soon be without Fuzzies.
(Christopher walks away from Lindsey until all the Wheelers are on different places
on the outside of the circle standing crouched over with their backs to one
This worrying continued.
Even though they always managed to
find a Warm Fuzzy every time they reached into their bag, they reached in less and
They became less generous and more
Soon people began to notice the lack
of Warm Fuzzies and they began to feel less warm and less fuzzy.
It wasn’t too long after the witch
had come that people began to hear reports of people beginning to shrivel up.
Occasionally there was news of
someone or another disappearing altogether from a lack of Warm Fuzzies.
(Pianist stops playing. )
JOYS AND CONCERNS
Everyone in the village began to feel less warm and less fuzzy.
But unfortunately, what is happening
in the village happens in a lot of places.
We’ve all become worried that we
will run out of what we need most.
We’ve become cautious.
We’ve sometimes heard voices that
warn us not to share so much with others.
But in real life the people who say
these things don’t call themselves “witches.”
They refer to themselves as
Even with so many ‘sensible
people’ most of us here have been lucky.
We’ve been able to count on the kindness of friends and family - even
the kindness of strangers to help us out.
But what happens to us - what
happens to our families and our communities - when no one has the courage to break
the spell, to be the first one to be generous?
Here in this community we accept as
our mission to “build love and understanding by offering compassion and
It is our privilege to be part of a
community that takes seriously the opportunities to be generous.
Here, we are generous with out time,
our resources and our caring.
We invite you, now, into a time of
A time to bring your own joys and concerns to this group.
If you wish to shares something
important in your life, stand and speak loudly and we will light a candle for you
and offer you our attention and care.
STORY PART III
(Pianist begins to play Hymn 97 very softly and
slowly in the background. )
(Witch stands on the edge of the circle as the Wheelers line up and pay her for
The witch is laughing.
Everyone else looks sad.)
As time went on, more and more people began to withhold their Warm Fuzzies.
More and more people began to go to
the witch to buy her potions and spells and ointments, even though they didn’t
seem to work.
And more people began to feel less
warm and less fuzzy.
(Witch begins to look worried and ponder what she should do.)
The situation became worse, since many people, by this time, had already begun to
shrivel up and, in some cases, even leave or disappear.
This worried the witch since she
didn’t want people to go away, for then they wouldn’t buy her salves and
So, a new plan was devised.
(Witch pulls out different bags with cold pricklies in them.)
She began to give out different kinds of bags.
These bags were similar to Fuzzy
But instead of being warm, like a
Fuzzy bag, these bags were cold.
Inside, the witch had placed a
number of Cold Pricklies.
Cold Pricklies did not make people
feel warm and fuzzy.
They made people feel cold and
But they did prevent peoples’
backs from shriveling up.
(Wheelers begin sharing the Cold Pricklies.
They act like they are going to be happy, but end up feeling a little
From this point on people had a choice about sharing.
When asked, people who were worried
about running out might respond, “I can’t offer you any Warm Fuzzies, but
would you like a Cold Prickly instead?”
Sometimes, two people would walk up to one another, thinking they could get a Warm
Fuzzy, but one or the other of them would change their minds and end up giving
away Cold Pricklies.
So, while very few people were
shriveling up and disappearing, a lot of people were still unhappy and feeling
very cold and prickly.
(Wheelers look as though they are not sure if they want to share.
They are pretty disappointed.)
All of this resulted in Warm Fuzzies becoming extremely rare and valuable.
This caused people to do all sorts
of things to obtain them.
People who had once been very
generous, before the witch came, were now cautious and reserved.
Most people saved all their Warm
Fuzzies for only certain people and traded them back and forth.
But even when they did this they
noticed that they felt unhappy a lot more often then they did when they exchanged
them with everyone.
People who could not find a generous
partner had to buy their Fuzzies and they worked long hours to earn the money.
(Greg tries to pass off Plastic Fuzzies to the Wheelers.
Everyone looks fairly alarmed when
they see them.)
Another thing began to happen which alarmed Mark and Laurie.
Many people began to take Cold
Pricklies - which were everywhere and freely available - coat them white and
fluffy, and pass them off as Warm Fuzzies.
These counterfeit Warm Fuzzies became known as Plastic Fuzzies, and they caused
Two people who would get together and freely exchange Plastic Fuzzies,
thinking they would feel glad, would end up feeling sad instead.
People began to get very confused,
never realizing that their cold, prickly feelings were really the result of the
fact that they had been given a lot of Plastic Fuzzies.
So the situation became very, very dismal, and it all started because of the
coming of the witch, who made people believe that some day, when they least
expected, they might reach into their Warm Fuzzy bag and find no more.
(Piano plays Hymn 199 very
slowly and softly in the background )
Mark became very troubled about how things had changed in his village
and, indeed, in his own life.
The way that he found himself
treating others, even his wife and children, had moved in a very different
direction than he had hoped they would.
He became more reserved.
He didn’t feel free to share like
he had, at one time, so much enjoyed.
He longed for a better way, perhaps
closer to the way it used to be.
Very troubled, he took a long walk
He thought about his life and all
the promise it had once held.
He sat down and looked at the empty
streets around him.
He looked at his own heart and felt that same emptiness inside him.
As he sat and thought, he became
And he started to think out loud.
What has become of my life?
It used to be so easy for me to
share, to laugh, to love.
Now.... now, it all seems so
I want to live like I once did.
I want to open myself and let the
love I feel inside spill out onto the people I care for.
But I am afraid.
I am afraid that if I do, my love
will not be returned to me.
I am afraid I will be emptied.
That there will be nothing left.
That I will be forgotten, abandoned,
left to shrivel up and disappear.
Already I feel tired, and weak, and
There has got to be another way.
A way that will lead me on, help me
A way to get back to the place I
If I could only see it.
How I wish I could find a way...
And for a moment, all was silent, except for the music that played on
in Mark’s thoughts and reminded him of the life he’d remembered and wanted so
much to return to.
(Pianist continues to play Hymn 199 through
a minute of silence.)
STORY PART IV
(Pianist begins to play Hymn
402, softly and slowly.)
Not long after Mark had sat down on the rock, he looked up to notice something he
hadn’t seen before.
A beautiful garden had begun to
bloom where he thought there were only barren vines.
And from deep within the garden a
She wore wild clothes of very bright
She danced a little.
She played with the animals that
seemed to follow her.
And she sang!
Lord, how she sang.
She sang so sweetly and so
powerfully that the clouds in the sky parted and the sun shone down.
And as she came out of the garden she sang this song:
(Song Lady sings “From You I Receive” three times as she walks around the
Mark had come over from where he was sitting to get a better look at this woman.
But, as he crept closer the woman
turned and smiled toward him.
(Pianist begins to play Hymn 396 softly and
slowly in the background. )
“Hello!” she said.
But Mark was feeling a little
withdrawn and still a little troubled by his thoughts.
He looked down at the ground.
The woman could see that he was
frightened and a little sad and smiled back at him.
“I know what you need,” she said.
And she reached into the bag that she had tied around her waist and
pulled out a Warm Fuzzy.
She handed it to Mark.
But Mark, who was so startled that a
stranger would offer him a Warm Fuzzy, began to back away.
“No... I couldn’t possibly...” he resisted.
I want you to have it.”
And she placed it in his hands.
Mark tried to brace himself as if receiving a Warm Fuzzy from a stranger would be
But to his surprise, he instantly
began to feel much better.
He felt warm where he’d only felt
cold for years.
He knew he should probably offer the
stranger a warm fuzzy in return, but he remembered the warning of the witch and
what Laurie and the children and told him about not giving away so many of his
So he dropped his shoulders and
looked down at the ground instead.
Seeing this, the woman felt sorry for him, for she could see that he had not
shared with anyone in a long time.
Even though his body had not begun to shrivel up, his heart had.
Again she reached into her bag and
pulled out another Warm Fuzzy.
She placed this one in his arms,
closer to his heart.
Now, Mark began to feel much better.
A little warmer and even a little more fuzzy too (Mark feels his beard ).
But still, he could not bring
himself to reach into his bag and offer her a Warm Fuzzy in return.
The woman saw this and knew how much Mark was struggling inside.
She could see that he was really a
good and kind person in his heart, but the witch’s words had turned his heart to
He had heard so often that sharing
would lead to disaster, he began to believe it.
The woman looked at Mark and felt sad.
But she saw something out of the
corner of her eye that made her smile.
She walked over to the trellace that
held all the flowers.
There, around the top were dozens of the most beautiful roses.
Each one was bright red, healthy and
But each one was also tightly
It had not yet begun to bloom.
She pulled one of the roses from the
“I think you are a little like this rose,” she said to Mark.
“Very beautiful on the inside but
not ready to open up and show the world all you have to offer.
I have known many people like this.
But I also know that there is
another way, a better way.
(Song Lady sings “I Know This Rose Will Open three times.)
(Pianist continues to play Hymn
and slowly in the background. )
As the Song Lady sang to him, Mark could begin to feel his body soften.
He hadn’t realized how much energy
it took him all these years to be so suspicious and so protective of his Warm
Like she had said, his heart was
like a rose and he could feel it beginning to open.
Without even thinking, his hand
reached into his pouch and pulled out a fuzzy and handed it to her.
It made him feel GOOD!
In fact, he reached in and pulled
out not just one fuzzy - but a whole handful!
With each fuzzy he handed to her it
seemed like he received several in return.
It felt wonderful.
Soon they both had all their fuzzies
out and were handing them back and forth and laughing as hard as they could.
Just at that moment, Laurie and the children had come to look for Mark and found
him in a very compromising position: with all of his fuzzies out of his pouch.
They all stood there... flabbergasted
by the whole outrageous display of generosity.
Some grown ups down the road saw the whole thing and ran away in terror.
A woman screamed.
A group of people ran off to the mayor’s office to pass a law against
giving away Fuzzies in a reckless manner without a license.
(Pianist stops playing. )
I’m surprised at you!”
How could you?!?!”
But the crowning blow was when little Christopher tightened up his own bag of
Fuzzies and turned his back on his father.
Normally, that might have been the worst thing that could have happened to Mark.
But he understood what they were
He understood their fear of not
He understood the great power that
stinginess had over people.
He knew the fear of living
completely and utterly fuzziless.
And he knew what he had to do.
He walked over in front of them and
He opened up his fuzzy bag, and one
by one, he began to give away all his fuzzies.
Everyone was speechless.
They didn’t know how to respond.
He placed them in their hands, on
their shoulders, down their shirts, on top of their heads!
And when he was done, he took his empty Fuzzy Bag and sat down on the
At first his family was horrified.
Was he crazy?
What would he do without any
He might shrivel up and disappear
(Pianist begins Music for “From You I
Receive” begins slowly and softly.)
“You know... all this time,” Mark noticed, “I used to think that getting
enough and having enough fuzzies was all that mattered.
But I always got enough.
I always had enough.
What I’ve been missing this whole
time - what has made me most unhappy - was not being able to give my fuzzies
At first they weren’t quite sure what to think.
They hesitated... But it only took a
few more seconds.
They each looked into their own
Then one by one they gathered the
Warm Fuzzies and came over to him.
Christopher was first.
He walked over and put a Warm Fuzzy
in his Dad’s bag.
Then Lindsey brought him one.
And then Laurie.
And then another, and more and still
Soon, he was sitting in a huge pile
of Warm Fuzzies.
Seeing this, the song lady came over and began giving away her warm fuzzies as
The more they gave to one another,
the more they seemed to have.
And they all felt better then they had remembered feeling in a long,
(Song Lady sings through three times.)
(Pianist continues to play Hymn 402 softly
and slowly in the background. )
It only took a few moments to remember how good it felt to share like
they used to.
They were happy again!
But they looked around and noticed
that not everyone was as happy as they were.
(Elena stops playing. )
The whole town had come down to see what the pandemonium was about.
They were aghast!
They stood in shock and amazement!
“They’re delirious,” they
“They’ve gone mad!”
“Not only that, but they’re
breaking the law!”
“What are we going to do?” cried Laurie noticing that the crowd looked angry
“There’s only one thing you can do when you see so much fear,” answered the
“You must respond with as much
love and generosity as you can.
It is the only way to turn the tides
of suspicion and greed.”
(Song Lady begins to play Hymn 402 softly
and slowly in the background. )
She began to reach into her bag and give away Warm Fuzzies as fast as
In a very short time, people began
to laugh instead of scream.
They began to sing instead of shout.
And they began to share instead of
And soon, everyone in the village
was giving away fuzzies as fast as they could.... just like the old days.
Generosity transforms lives.
Not only for the receiver, but for
the giver as well.
This church is in the business of transforming lives.
We make the impossible, possible,
simply by giving ourselves over to the opportunities to build better lives.
This week we begin our Every Member
We hope that you will see how this
community of people has the power to change your life and the lives of your
Your generosity helps change the
community, as well, helping us accomplish all we dream of.
Please remember to let the spirit of
generosity transform you and us in these coming weeks.
We will now receive this morning’s offering.
(Pianist plays Hymn 402 with the children
singing until all the baskets are collected. )
(Service Leader receives the baskets. )
For the work of this church, which is weaving a tapestry of love with
our lives, we build something beautiful in our time together.
(Pianist begins to play Hymn
396 in the background. )
In a very short time, life in the village was back the way it was before the witch
People shared with one another
whether they had one fuzzy or one million.
And no one ever seemed to run out
and no one was ever known to shrivel up and disappear.
All except the witch.
She disappeared back to the small
hut she lived in at the edge of the forest.
She continued to be the stingiest,
most cold hearted person anyone had ever known.
Stories were told, and taught in school, of the disaster that almost happened in
the days where generosity almost shriveled up and disappeared.
Soon people began to worry about not
being generous enough, instead of being to generous.
They began to see how courageously
they could act.
And it was in one such act that the
Wheelers - you remember the Wheelers, don’t you - all took a trip over to the
They stood outside and, one by one,
they warm fuzzies into the witches home.
Soon, many of their friends began to
toss warm fuzzies into the witches home.
At first the witch began to shriek.
But then she began to laugh.
Harder and harder she laughed until
she finally came out of her hut and saw all the people giving her Warm Fuzzies.
It was at least a hundred.
She almost began to cry.
Fuzzies were all around her.
In her hands, in her cape, in her
So many fuzzies she began to
change, to stand up straight and tall, she began to laugh and she looked a whole
(Witch takes off the robe and is wearing a bright, colorful outfit underneath
Seeing her, the witch, change into someone kind and caring, the children knew that
their generosity had, indeed, done something truly amazing.
(Pianist stops. )
We can do amazing things when we find ways to be generous.
We give our lives to the people
around us, those we care about so that we can bring about the changes we want to
Through our own unfolding and
sharing we make the world a more beautiful place.
Like the flowers we brought here
Being generous and sharing of
ourselves and what we have is like a flower blooming and revealing its beauty.
(Guitarist begins to play “The Garden
Song” in the background. )
We invite you now, as [guitarist] closes the service with song, to sing with us.
And while you do, come up to the
front and take a flower.
Find someone who you think would
like it and give it away.
See how many times you can give
something beautiful to someone.
See how often it returns to you.
SHARING OF THE FLOWERS
(Guitarist sings “Inch by