Heaven and Earth, a choral reading, Genesis 1:1-2:4 – arranged by Scott Ward, USA

 

Based on The Message by Eugene Peterson: Genesis 1:1-2:4

Lectionary:  Trinity Sunday Year A, Epiphany Year B (Genesis 1:1-5), Easter Vigil Years A,B,C

 

Downloads:  full scripts, ready-to-print: (horizontal versions are easy for readers to hold)

Heaven and Earth Choral Reading, Scott Ward WORD

Heaven and Earth Choral Reading, Scott Ward PDF

Heaven and Earth Choral Reading Horizontal, Scott Ward WORD

Heaven and Earth Choral Reading Horizontal, Scott Ward PDF

 

The featured image, ‘There’s a Light, a Light, a Light,’ is Scott’s original artwork.  Click here to view more art displayed on his website.

Preparatory Notes

Four voices

Voice 1: strong mid range – tenor or alto. clear and assured
Voice 2: the sweetest voice – soprano
Voice 3: mid range, matter of fact – tenor or alto
Voice 4: deep, resonant, commanding – bass

  • A mixture of men and women is ideal. The texture of the voices helps give the story greater dimension.
  • This is an exciting story. The reading should reflect the creative force, with a twinkle in your eye.

Key

  • Italicized words – these words are expressed in a way that sounds like what they mean – Otemotopia “an inky blackness”
  • Underlined words – emphasis goes on this word, “Earth, green up!”
  • —   brief pause, a breath
  • 1 — 2 — 3    pause for a silent count of that number. In this case one one thousand, two one thousand, three one thousand
  • ~  an echo, overlaps the previous line, each line slightly quieter (unless noted)

3: “Lights! Come out!

4:                          ~ Lights! Come out!

2:                                                      ~ Lights! Come out!

 

  • + – directly followed by the next line as one thought. no break at all.

2,3: Lights in Heaven’s sky +

4:                           to give light to Earth.”

  • 2,3: – multiply voices speak together, in this case 2 and 3 (can be any combination)

 

Script:   (numbers represent the four voices)

1: First this:

2: God created the Heavens and Earth—

3: all you see,

4: all you don’t see.

1: Earth was a soup of nothingness, a bottomless emptiness, an inky blackness.

3: an inky blackness.

2: God’s Spirit brooded like a bird above the watery abyss.

4:                                                ~ like a bird above the watery abyss.

1: God spoke:

2,4: “Light!”

1: And light appeared.

3: God saw that light was good

4: (commanding) God saw that light was good and separated light from dark.

2: (reflecting) God saw that light was good and separated light from dark.

3: God named the light Day,

1: Day

4: God named the dark Night.

1: Night

2: It was evening,

3: it was morning—

All: Day One. (Each day ends this way. read as the definitive moment, with the same intonation each time.)

 

1 — 2 — 3

 

1: God spoke:

3,4: “Sky!

3: In the middle of the waters;

4: separate water from water!”

1: God made sky.

3,4: Sky

2: God separated the water under sky from the water above sky.

1: And there it was:

4: God named sky the Heavens;

1: Heavens

2: It was evening,

3: it was morning—

All: Day Two.

 

1 — 2 — 3

 

1: God spoke:

2,3: “Separate! +

4:          Water-beneath-Heaven, gather into one place; Land, appear!”

2,3: Land appear!

1: And there it was.

4: God named the land Earth.

1: Earth

2: God named the pooled water Ocean.

1: Ocean

1: God saw that it was +

All:                                 good.

1: God saw that it was good and God spoke:

3: “Earth, green up!

4: Grow all varieties of seed-bearing plants,

2: Every sort of fruit-bearing tree.”

1: And there it was.

3: Earth produced green seed-bearing plants,+

4:                                                    all varieties,+

2: And fruit-bearing trees of all sorts.

1: God saw that it was +

All:                                 good.

1: It was good.

1 — 2

2: It was evening,

3: it was morning—

All: Day Three.

 

1 — 2 — 3

 

1: God spoke:

3: “Lights! Come out!

4:                  ~ Lights! Come out!

2:                                       ~ Lights! Come out!

1: Shine in Heaven’s sky!

4: Separate Day from Night.

3: Day +

2:      from Night

4: Mark seasons +

3:                     and days +

2:                                     and years,

1: Mark seasons and days and years.

2,3: Lights in Heaven’s sky +

4:                         to give light to Earth.”

1: And there it was. God made two big lights,

3: the larger to take charge of +

2,3:                                          Day,

2: The smaller to be in charge of +

2,3:                                            Night;

4: and God made the stars.

 

This section: voice one repeat each line the with the same intonation, as a narrator. voice 2,3,4 build…

1: God made stars and placed them in the heavenly sky +

2:                                                     to light up Earth

1:God made stars and placed them in the heavenly sky +

3:                                                       to oversee Day and Night,

1: God made stars and placed them in the heavenly sky +

4:                                                       to separate light and dark.

1: God saw that it was good.

4: It was good.

1 — 2

2: It was evening,

3: it was morning—

All: Day Four.

 

1 — 2 — 3

 

1:God spoke:

This section is a cacophony – let it swarm, repeating lines until 3 says “God saw that it was good”.

4: “Swarm, Ocean, with fish and all sea life!

2:                       Birds, fly through the sky over Earth!”

3:                                   God created the huge whales,

4: all the swarm of life in the waters,

2:                         And every kind and species of flying birds.

3:                          God saw that it was good.

1: “Swarm, Ocean, with fish and all sea life! Birds, fly through the sky over Earth!” God created the huge whales, all the swarm of life in the waters,      And every kind and species of flying birds. God saw that it was good.

2,3: God saw that it was good.

1 — 2

1: God blessed them:

2: “Prosper! +

3:                Reproduce! +

4:                                   Fill Ocean!

1: God blessed them: +

4:                 Birds, reproduce on Earth!”

2: It was evening,

3: it was morning—

All: Day Five.

 

1 — 2 — 3

 

1: God spoke:

2,3,4: “Earth, generate life!

1: Every sort and kind:

2: cattle +

3:      and reptiles +

4:                      and wild animals

2,3,4: —all kinds.”

1: And there it was: wild animals of every kind, cattle of all kinds, every sort of reptile

4: and bug. (Attitude: read as “don’t forget the bugs!”)

1: and bug. (Attitude: reply as “yes, and bugs.”)

1: God saw that it was good.

1 — 2

 

1: God spoke:

All: “Let us make human beings in our image, make them reflecting our nature

1: So they can be responsible

3: for the fish in the sea, +

2:                 the birds in the air, +

4:                                       the cattle,

1: So they can be responsible

2,3,4: Yes, +

1:      for Earth itself,

3: and every animal that moves on the face of Earth.”

1: God created human beings;

3: God created them godlike,

4: (getting louder) ~ God created them godlike,

2:        (and louder) ~ God created them godlike.

1: Godlike.

4: Reflecting God’s nature.

2: God created them male and female.

1: God blessed them:

2: “Prosper! +

3:                Reproduce! +

4:                            Fill Earth! +

2,3,4:                                 Take charge!

1: Be responsible

3: for fish in the sea, +

2:          and the birds in the air, +

4:                       for every living thing +

2,3:                              that moves on the face of Earth.”

1: Be responsible for every living thing that moves on the face of the Earth.

 

This section builds by adding voices; there is no break when a new voice enters.

1: Then God said, “I’ve given you every sort of seed-bearing plant on Earth +

1,2: And every kind of fruit-bearing tree, given them to you for food.+

1,2,3:  To all animals and all birds, everything that moves and breathes,+

All:  I give whatever grows out of the ground for food.”

1: And there it was.

1 — 2

1: God looked over everything God had made;

4:                   ~ everything God had made

3:                                    ~ everything he had made

2:                                                      ~ everything she had made

1: it was so good,

All: so very good!

1 — 2

2: It was evening,

3: it was morning—

All: Day Six.

 

1 — 2 — 3

 

1: Heaven and Earth were finished, down to the last detail.

3,4: Down to the last detail.

1,2: Heaven and Earth were finished.

1: By the seventh day +

3: God had finished the work.

1: On the seventh day +

2: God rested from all the work.

1: God blessed the seventh day. +

4: God made it a Holy Day

1: Because on that day God rested from  all the creating God had done.

This is the story of how it all started, of Heaven and Earth when they were created.

All: And it was very good!