Here is a sketch about being who you are in God’s wonderful world, linking with themes of Harvest, Autumn, self-worth, identity and (because I always like to get some science in) the Nitrogen cycle.
- Corby – a bird puppet, brightly coloured
- Wellington – a worm puppet made from a long pale-coloured sock with the end tucked in to make a mouth, with googly eyes or buttons.
Wellington is pretending to be a snake. Write ‘WELLINGTON THE WORM SNAKE’ along his length, with the crossing-out and ‘SNAKE’ in a different colour.
- cut-out paper fangs that Wellington can hold in his mouth
- shaker / rattle
- plastic fork
[Corby enters, wearing a bib]
Cor: Caw, I’m hungry. I haven’t had my breakfast yet.
[to audience] Have you had your breakfast? Yes? What did you have? Caw, that sounds tasty.
Now you know what I’d like for my breakfast? I’d like a nice, big, juicy, squishy-squashy worm! Ooh, that’s lovely, that is.
Will you tell me if you see a worm? [audience – yes]
You don’t sound very sure about that. Will you really tell me if you see a worm? [audience – YES!]
Oh that’s great. Thank you. Now I’d better go and see if I can find myself some breakfast.
[Corby searches for breakfast. Wellington enters behind him]
[audience – Behind you!]
[standard pantomime business of ‘oh no he isn’t’, ‘oh yes he is’ until Cor sees Well]
Well: Argggh! Who are you?
Cor: I’m Corby the Crow. Who are you?
Well: I’m Wellington the Wor … Snake. Wellington the Snake. Definitely a snake. Not a worm.
Cor: Are you sure about that?
Well: Oh yes. I’m definitely a snake. Who would want to be a worm? Snakes are much better.
Cor: You don’t look much like a snake.
Well: So? You don’t look much like a crow. Aren’t crows usually black?
Cor: This is my weekend plumage, this is. Latest fashion round my way. Do you like it?
Well: Hmmn. Very nice, if you like that sort of thing.
Cor: But talking of colour, aren’t snakes usually a bit more jazzy?
Well: It’s camouflage.
Well: Camouflage. [clearly making this up] For … when … I’m hiding in sock drawers.
Cor: Oh, I see. Ready to leap out at unsuspecting folks with your huge and terrifying fangs?
Well: Yep. You’ve got it.
Cor: And your fangs are …?
Well: [picks up paper fangs, shows them, then spits them out with a ‘puh’] They’re retractable!
Cor: Oh, really? And what about your forked tongue? Is that retractable too?
Well: [picks up plastic fork, shows, spits out] How did you guess?
Cor: I’m still not convinced that you are really a snake.
Well: Well you should be, because I’m very dangerous! I am a fearsome, magnificent, awesome [picks up rattle and shakes it, speaks in muffled voice while holding rattle] ‘rakalfnake’!
Cor: You’re a what?
Well: Rakalfnake! I’n a fearsung, mangnikikent, awesung rakalfnake! [shakes rattle] Fee?
Cor: Are you trying to tell me you’re a rattlesnake?
Well: Yef! Vaf waf I fed! I’n a fearsung, mangnikik …
Cor: Yeah, but you’re not really, are you? I mean, your fangs are just bits of paper, your tongue is a plastic fork and your rattle [knocks rattle from Wellington’s mouth] is supposed to be in your bum!
You’re not a rattlesnake. You’re a rattle-worm!
Well: [sobbing] Oh, you’re right. I admit it. I’m just a worm. A boring, dreary, same-as-a-million-others old worm. But I did so want to be a snake.
Cor: Why’s that?
Well: Snakes are so beautiful, with their colourful markings, and they’re so clever – did you know snakes can swim?
Cor: Can they?
Well: Yes, but when worms go swimming … it doesn’t usually end very well. Not for the worm.
And snakes are so exotic! When did you ever hear of anyone going to a zoo to see the worms?
Being a worm is so boring! All I do every day is eat dead leaves and poop out soil!
Cor: You WHAT?!?!?!
Well: I know. I’m sorry. I’m useless. I’ll just go away and sit in a compost heap.
Cor: But that’s amazing!
Well: What’s amazing?
Cor: You are! Can you really turn old leaves into soil?
Well: Er, yes. But can’t everyone do that?
Cor: No, they certainly can’t. That’s an amazing talent.
Well: Talent? I never really thought of it as a talent. It’s just what I do. It’s nothing important.
Cor: But it’s very important! Just think where we’d be if all the leaves that fall from the trees each year just sat there on the ground, year after year after year, with no-one to eat them. Where would we be then?
Well: Under a very large pile of leaves?
Cor: We’d be up to our armpits in them! Not that I’ve got armpits.
Well: Me neither.
Cor: You do a massively important job. Without you, we wouldn’t be able to grow our food, and there would be no flowers or gardens, because there would be no soil.
Farmers and gardeners are all very grateful to worms, because it’s little folks like you who make our soil good for growing.
No-one would want gardens full of snakes, but worms are fabulous!
Well: Really? Fabulous? Me?
Cor: Really. And important.
Well: Even though I’m small? [Cor nods] And juicy? [Cor nods] And squishy-squashy? [Cor nods] And totally unprotected by fangs so that any passing bird could eat me? [Cor nods slowly]
Cor: Interesting that you should mention that. I was looking for my breakfast when we met.
Well: Oh, no you don’t! You can’t eat me.
Cor: Why not?
Well: Well, the early bird catches the worm, doesn’t it?
Cor: Allegedly. And …
Well: And, we’ve been having a nice long chat, haven’t we?
Cor: Certainly long. So …
Well: So, it’s not early any more, and they’ve stopped serving breakfast.
I’m off the menu! Ha Ha! [exits]
Cor: Don’t you hate it when your food disagrees with you? [exits]
This Psalm is a bit random at first glance. First ‘The heavens declare the glory of God’ and there’s a bit about the Sun, then a load about God’s law, and then some honey.
‘Law’ can sound a bit restrictive and depressing – “You can’t do this and you can’t do that” – but what if we look a bit bigger than that? God’s Law is not like school rules that stop you running in the corridor, it’s more like an instruction manual that tells us how to do something right.
God’s Law tells the Sun how to do ‘being the Sun’: Rise in the east in the morning, and set in the west at night. Every morning. Every night. For millions of years. Boy, would I get bored if that were me, but the Sun seems happy enough. (And yes, it’s the Earth turning, not the Sun moving, but this is poetry, not a science textbook, so it’s fine.)
What are the commands for a worm? Wriggle in the ground and eat dead leaves. I’m not sure I’d like those as instructions for my life, but they suit a worm very well.
What about for us? For the general rules, Jesus summed it up as ‘Love God with all your being, and love other folks like you love yourself’. He did not give a huge list of “Don’t do this” and “Don’t do that”. As for the specifics, note that we’re allowed, or rather expected to love ourselves. And that starts with being ourselves.
A worm declares God’s glory by being, well, wormy. As wormy as it can be. The Sun declares God’s glory by being sunny (sometimes). What about you? Me? We do it by being the way God meant us to be. I am to be the best kind of ‘me’ I can be, and you are to be the best kind of ‘you’.
We all have a place to be in God’s wonderful world – a role that only we can fill, a job that’s best done by each one of us finding and using God’s gifts, whatever they may be. And that’s as sweet as honey on the comb.
Psalm 19 Common English Bible
For the music leader. A psalm of David.
Heaven is declaring God’s glory;
the sky is proclaiming his handiwork.
One day gushes the news to the next,
and one night informs another what needs to be known.
Of course, there’s no speech, no words—
their voices can’t be heard—
but their sound extends throughout the world;
their words reach the ends of the earth.
God has made a tent in heaven for the sun.
The sun is like a groom
coming out of his honeymoon suite;
like a warrior, it thrills at running its course.
It rises in one end of the sky;
its circuit is complete at the other.
Nothing escapes its heat.
The Lord’s Instruction is perfect,
reviving one’s very being.
The Lord’s laws are faithful,
making naive people wise.
The Lord’s regulations are right,
gladdening the heart.
The Lord’s commands are pure,
giving light to the eyes.
Honouring the Lord is correct,
The Lord’s judgments are true.
All of these are righteous!
They are more desirable than gold—
than tons of pure gold!
They are sweeter than honey—
even dripping off the honeycomb!
No doubt about it:
your servant is enlightened by them;
there is great reward in keeping them.
But can anyone know
what they’ve accidentally done wrong?
Clear me of any unknown sin
and save your servant from wilful sins.
Don’t let them rule me.
Then I’ll be completely blameless;
I’ll be innocent of great wrongdoing.
Let the words of my mouth
and the meditations of my heart
be pleasing to you,
Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
Common English Bible
Copyright © 2011 by Common English Bible
Thanks to Steve Dawson for additional ideas for Corby and the Rattle-Worm