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Plays : “A Playful Mystery Play for Four Voices

Reader 1: Once upon a time

Reader 2: A long time ago

Reader 3: A very, very long time  ago

Reader 4: Like, before your parents were even born

Reader 1: There was a Mystery.

Reader 2: She was a great Mystery.

Reader 3: And nobody understood or appreciated her

Reader 4: Mainly because there was no one else around to appreciate or understand much of anything.

Reader 1: For a long, long time nothing happened.

Reader 2: The great mystery waited.

Reader 3: And waited

Reader 2: And waited some more,

Reader 1: Until at last she said,

Reader 4: “I’m bored!”


Reader 1: And so the Mystery set the stars in the heavens,

Reader 2: And planets to circle the stars,

Reader 3: And comets to wander to and fro,

Reader 2:  And it was all very beautiful.

Reader 1: But after a couple of billion years of watching, the Mystery decided it was still 

Reader 4: “Bor-ing!”


Reader 1: The Mystery was lonely.

Reader 2: She wanted someone to play with.

Reader 3: So she looked among all the stars and planets.

Reader 1: But some of the stars were…

Reader 4: Too hot.

Reader 2: And others were…

Reader 4: Too cool.

Reader 1: And some of the planets were…

Reader 4: Too big

Reader 2:  And others were…

Reader 4: Too little

Reader 3: But finally she found one that was

Reader 4: Just right!


Reader 2: The planet was covered with water

Reader 3: But there were huge chunks of land sticking out,

Reader 1: And even mountains and plains and rivers.

Reader 2: Best of all, there were tiny, tiny, creatures called protozoa,

Reader 3: That lived and squirmed in the water.


Reader 4: “Come play with me!”

Reader 1: The Mystery said.

Reader 3: But the protozoa just kept on squirming like they hadn’t even heard her.

Reader 2: Which isn’t surprising

Reader 3: Because they didn’t have any ears.

Reader 1: After another couple of billion years of watching the stars and planets and comets

Reader 3: And the squirming protozoa

Reader 4: The Mystery was bored again.


Reader 1: Then the Mystery got an idea.

Reader 3: She decided to glue some of the protozoa together with stuff called protopla2m.

Reader 2: When they were stuck together, the protozoa began working together.

Reader 3: They formed eyes and feet and mouths and stomachs

Reader 4: And ears!

Reader 3:  So they could see and move around and eat and digest

Reader 4: And hear me!


Reader 1: But even if the new creatures could hear the Mystery, they didn’t pay much attention to her.

Reader 2: Instead they watched each other.

Reader 3:  And they moved around and ate and digested each other too.

Reader 4: At least it was more interesting than watching the stars and planets and comets


Reader 1: It was more interesting because as the new creatures watched and moved around and ate and digested,

Reader 2: They changed.

Reader 3: They grew.

Reader 4: They evolved.

Reader 1: And soon there were all kinds of different animals

Reader 2: In the seas and on the land

Reader 3: And mountains and rivers.

Reader 1: There were cows that said “moo.”*

Reader 2: And sheep said “baa”*

Reader 3: And three singing pigs said “la la la”*

Reader 4: No! No!  That isn’t right!  Pigs say Oink all day and night!*

Reader 3: Oh… (singing) oink!

Reader 2: (singing) Oink!

Reader 1: (singing) Oink!


Reader 1: But the idea of singing pigs got the Mystery thinking.

Reader 2: Maybe some of the animals could use their mouths for singing or talking as well as eating.

Reader 4: They would make great playmates!

Reader 3: So she waited and watched as the animals continued to evolve.

Reader 2: And sure enough, after another bazillion years, she saw them.

Reader 4: They were really funny looking.

Reader 2: All of their fur was stuck on top of their heads…

Reader 3: And just a few other places on their bodies.

Reader 2: And they walked on just two feet…

Reader 3:  Instead of all four, like most of the other creatures.

Reader 2: But best of all, they could talk!

Reader 4: They would be so much fun to play with!


Reader 1: The new creatures had problems, though.

Reader 2: The new creatures didn’t have any fur, so they were cold much of the ti

Reader 3: They didn’t have big teeth or sharp claws, so they had trouble getting food to eat.

Reader 4: So the Mystery gave them some ideas for making fires and growing crops.

Reader 3: And for a while everything went just great.

Reader 2: The new creatures called themselves humans, which means “from the earth.”

Reader 3: And for a long time the humans lived in balance with the other creatures.

Reader 4: The Mystery enjoyed watching the humans and giving them new ideas.

Reader 2: But she was always careful to make sure that the humans never saw her or heard her directly

Reader 4: Because then she wouldn’t be a Mystery any more.


Reader 1: The humans were curious, though, and wanted to know more about the Mystery

Reader 2: Was the Mystery at all human, like they were?

Reader 3: Was the Mystery male, or female, or something else entirely?

Reader 2: Did the Mystery care about them?

Reader 4: Of course I do!

Reader 1: If they prayed hard enough, would the Mystery make their crops grow?

Reader 4: Perhaps, but only if you take care of the earth.

Reader 3: Or punish their enemies?

Reader 4: I don’t think so!  Your enemies want me to punish you, but I won’t do that either!


Reader 1: The humans had lots of other questions too, like,

Reader 2: Where do we come from?

Reader 3: What are we supposed to do with our lives?

Reader 2: Why do people get sick, suffer, and die?

Reader 4: But the Mystery was silent about these things.

Reader 1: She knew that if she spoke to them, the humans would think that she was a god,

Reader 3:  A god like they wrote about in their ancient books.

Reader 2: But the mystery was greater than any god, and far beyond anything the humans could imagine.

Reader 3: She didn’t want to terrify the humans.

Reader 4: And besides, it was more interesting this way.


Reader 1: More time passed, and the humans kept evolving.

Reader 2: They gathered themselves together in cities, and built roads to connect the cities.

Reader 3: They planted huge fields of crops, and built machines to harvest the crops.

Reader 2: And they built other machines for traveling on the roads.

Reader 3: And they took the cows and sheep and pigs and penned them up to use for food.

Reader 1: And they argued a lot about what they were supposed to be doing with their lives.

Reader 4: But the Mystery kept quiet, hoping they would figure it out for themselves.


Reader 1: The humans kept building – more cities and roads, more fields, and more machines.

Reader 2: Soon the world was filled with humans.

Reader 3: There was no room for the wild animals.

Reader 2: The cows and sheep and pigs got more and more crowded in their pens.

Reader 1: The humans were running out of room too.

Reader 3: Some thought there was no more room for Mystery, either.


Reader 1: When the Mystery realized that the humans thought they had figured out everything for themselves, she became very sad.

Reader 2: Some of the humans claimed that the Mystery was angry, and if everybody didn’t do what they said, she would destroy them.

Reader 3: Others said that they didn’t need the Mystery any more – they could do fine on their own.

Reader 2: It seemed that the humans were too busy building and arguing to play any more.


Reader 1: The Mystery wanted to say something, but she knew her voice would terrify the humans.

Reader 2: She also believed that they would argue about the meaning of her words.

Reader 3:  They couldn’t even agree on what “Thou shalt not kill” or “Love your enemies” meant.

Reader 4: And besides, she knew that simply making the humans do what she wanted would take the fun out of playing.


Reader 3: But maybe there was another way.

Reader 2: The Mystery knew that the humans wouldn’t listen to her, no matter how loudly or clearly she spoke.

Reader 1: Maybe instead of telling the humans what to do in a loud voice like thunder, she should use a softer voice, like a whisper.

Reader 2: Maybe instead of speaking to their ears, she should speak to their hearts.

Reader 3: Maybe instead of using words, she should use feelings.

Reader 4: And that is exactly what she did.


Reader 1: If you listen very closely, you will hear what the Mystery is saying to you.

Reader 2: Don’t listen with your ears, listen with your heart.

Reader 3: Think about what you feel when you consider this beautiful planet, our home.

Reader 4: Do you feel joy?

Reader 3: Do you feel a sense of wonder?

Reader 2: Do you feel thankful?

Reader 1: Do you feel love?

Reader 4: Each of these feelings is part of the Mystery.

Reader 3: Because each of us is part of the Mystery.

Reader 2: When we recognize and act on our feelings of joy, wonder, thanksgiving, and love,

Reader 1: Then the Mystery will play with us and through us for a long, long time to come.

Reader 2: Amen.

Reader 3: Shalom.

Reader 4: And Blessed Be.

*Asterisked lines are from the book Moo, Baa, La La La by Sandra Boynton (Little Simon, 1982).

Copyright: The author has given Unitarian Universalist Association member congregations permission to reprint this piece for use in public worship. Any reprints must acknowledge the name of the author.

For more information contact worshipweb@uua.org.

This work is made possible by the generosity of individual donors and congregations. Please consider making a donation today.

Last updated on Thursday, April 24, 2014.

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