This drama has been used at services focusing on the environment and caring for our world, including Earth Sunday, Blessing of the Animals Sunday, St Francis service.
The source is unknown, and it has been modified over the years. If you know who wrote the original, please let Worship Words editor know.
Participants: Narrator, 1-6 Youth (can be played by any age, just wear caps, etc), 1-4 Elders (can be played by any age, just wear suit jackets or ties)
Youth and elders are standing together centre stage.
Narrator in pulpit.
Narrator: Once upon a time there was a village.
There were youth.
(Youth take three steps away from the elders).
There were elders.
(The elders take three steps away from the youth).
There were a lot more youth than elders!
The tradition in this village was that the elders looked after the village, cared for the village, and made the decisions.
One day when the youth gathered…Well, let’s listen in…
Youth 1: Hey, did you ever notice how the old folks always make the decisions?
Youth 2: Yeah, they make the rules and we have to follow them.
Youth 3: They are not bad rules, but why aren’t we included in making the decisions?
Youth 4: To tell the truth, they have never made a rule we did not like. But it is time that we took over!
Youth 5: But how will we do it?
Youth 6: (slowly) I think I have a plan.
Youth 4: What is it?
Youth 6: We ask the elders a question! (Pause)
If they answer the question correctly,
we will follow tradition and their rules.
If they answer the question incorrectly,
then we get to take over!
Youth 2,3,4,5: OH, YEAH! GREAT!
THAT’S RIGHT! AWESOME!
Youth 1: Wait a minute… (All listen to him/her).
They are wise elders.
What question can we possibly ask
that they will not know the answer to?
Youth 6: Ah, here is the genius of my plan.
I catch a small bird and hide it in my hands.
We ask them: “Is this bird that I have alive,
or is it dead?”
Youth 2,3,4,5: OH, YEAH! GREAT! COOL! AWESOME!
Youth 1: Wait a minute…
they still have a 50-50 chance of getting the answer right.
Youth 6: Ah, (All listen to him/her)
If they say the bird is dead, we show them the live bird.
And…if they say the bird is alive–(dramatic pause)
I snap its neck in my hands!
Youth 1,3,4,5: OH, YEAH! GREAT! COOL! AWESOME!
Youth 2: Ewwww…Gross! That is a terrible thing to do!
Youth 6: (slowly) Well, that’s true.
But, it is what we need to do.
Narrator: So, the youth approach the elders with one simple request.
Elder 1: (to the youth) Good morning. May we help you?
Youth 1: Elders, we have a request.
Elder: 1 Yes?
Youth 6: (Hands behind back)
If we are able to prove that you elders are NOT always right
and that you do not ALWAYS know the right answer,
can we take over?
Elder 1: Certainly.
Youth 6: (Steps forward with hands together as if holding something.)
Is the bird in my hands alive or dead?
Narrator: The elders look at the youth and say…
Elder 2: Will you give us a moment to consider the question?
Youth: (Look at one another and shrug shoulders)
Narrator: The elders huddle, consult and murmur to one another.
The oldest elder steps forward and answers the question that has been asked, “Is the bird alive or dead?” Their answer is…
Elder 1: (Pause before saying)
It is in your hands.
Stop Action. Count to 3, and then Narrator and players return to their seats.
Minister: “It is in your hands.” It is in our hands.
God has given us dominion over all God’s creatures. The animals of the earth remind us of our Creator. They remind us of God’s power: consider the whale, the elephant, the tiger. They remind us of God’s grace: consider the impala, the eagle, the cougar. They remind us of God’s humor: consider the platypus, the kangaroo and the flea.
The care, safety and well being of all God’s creatures, great and small, is in our hands.
Let us pray. Creator God, we marvel at the creatures that have come from your hand – from the platypus to the elephant, from the aardvark to the zebra, and everything in between. Instill in us a love for each and every creature, big and small. You have entrusted their care into our hands. Create in us a passion for protecting and caring for your creation, that we might offer security, safety and well-being to our pets – those present here today and those present in our hearts. And to all the creatures in the wilds of this earth. Amen.