I am a huge fan of Godly Play. I love the language choices that simplify the story without dumbing it down and leave room for wonder, questions, and imagination. One of the things I’ve been enjoying lately is re-imagining how the stories can be told in new, engaging ways. The Creation Story is a very easy one to tell with motions. I like the idea of telling the story this way because the listeners can easily join the motions, helping them remember the story with their physical memory as well as auditory memory. Feel free to use this in a Sunday School, chapel, children’s message, or inter-generational setting. It’s a fun way to get everyone up and moving.
The storytelling is in bold while the actions are in italics.
Start front and center. The kids do not need to be in a circle, they just need room to make the actions with you.
What is the biggest present you ever got?
If something alive is named, comment on the difference between the gifts that are inanimate and the gifts that are alive. Listen. There’s something different about that gift. That gift isn’t like a bicycle. That gift is alive!
Listen. Listen to your friends. These are all big gifts. They are wonderful presents.
Did you know that there are some presents so big that nobody notices them? They are so huge that they are hard to see. They are so hard to see that the only to know that they are there is go clear back to the beginning, or maybe a little before the beginning.
I am going to tell you a story about the beginning but I was wondering if you can help me? When I make hand motions, can you make them too? And then, when I said, “It is good.” I want you to say that with me, okay?
In the beginning… in the beginning there was… Well, in the beginning there wasn’t very much.
In the beginning there was… nothing.
Except, perhaps, an enormous smile… Draw an enormous smile in the air. But there was no one there to see it.
Step one big step in front of where you are standing to day 1 spot there doesn’t need to be a special mark on the ground, it’s just for you to know. Then on the very first day Make the sign for 1. God gave us the gift of light. Flash both hands at each mention of light. So now there is not just darkness, but there is light and dark.
Now I don’t mean just the light in the light bulb or in the car lights at night. I don’t mean just this light or that light, but I mean all of the light that is light. God gave us the gift of the light that all light comes from.
When God saw the light, God said, “It is good.” Both hands on hips. And that was the end of the first day.”
Step one step to the left to day 2. On the second day Make the sign for 2. God gave us the gift of water. Make waves with hand at the mention of water. Now, I don’t mean just the water in a water glass or the water in a bathtub or shower. I don’t even mean just the water in a river or a lake. I don’t even mean just the water in the ocean, or the water that comes down from the sky in rain. I mean all of the water that is water. This is the water that all the rest of the water comes from.
When God saw the water, God said, “It is good.” Both hands on hips. And that was the end of the second day.
Step one step to the left to day 3. On the third day make the sign for 3. God gave us the gift of the dry land. Stamp the ground with both feet. God divided the water water motion and the dry land stamp feet, and gave us the gift of green and growing things. Hands pressed together like a prayer position growing up and out.
When God saw the dry land the green and growing things, God said, “It is good.” Both hands on hips. And that was the end of the third day.
Step one step to the left to day 4. On the fourth day make the sign for 4 God gave us the gift of the day and the night. Sunrise Sunset motion with arms. God gave us a way to count our days. Count on fingers.
When God saw the day and the night, our way to keep time, God said, “It is good.” Both hands on hips. And that was the end of the fourth day.
Step one step to the left for to day 5. On the fifth day Make the sign for 5 God gave us the gift of all the creatures that fly in the air. Make flying motions with arms. Not just the birds but all of the creatures that fly. And all of the creatures that swim in the water. Make swimming motion. All of them.
When God saw all of the creatures that fly and all of the creatures that swim, God said, “It is good.” Both hands on hips. And that was the end of the fifth day.
Step one step to the left to day 6. On the sixth day make the sign for 6 God gave us the gift of all the creatures that walk upon the earth walk in place: the creatures that walk with two legs hold up two fingers, like you and me point to you and me, and all the creatures that walk with many legs hold hands together and wiggle fingers like lots of legs.
When God saw the creatures that walk with two legs hold up two fingers and the creatures that walk with many legs hold up hands and wiggle fingers and all the gifts of all the other days look back and motion at the spots for all of the other days, God said, “It is very good,” both hands on hips and that was the end of the sixth day.
Step one step to the left to day 7. On the seventh day make the sign for 7 God rested and gave us the gift of a day to rest – and to remember the great gifts of all the other days.
Return to center and wonder…
Now, I wonder which one of the days you like best?
I wonder which day is the most important day?
I wonder which day you are in or which one is especially about you?
I wonder if we can leave out any one of these days and still have all the days we need?
Depending on how much time you have, go through the story one or two more times. And/or ask the kids if they remember all of the days and if they can do it without you.
Remember, the wondering time isn’t about who is right or wrong. It is a chance for the listeners to enter the story and connect to it in their own way. Remember to repeat and affirm all wonderings. Use their vocabulary and let them explain it how they want, even if it rubs against your own understanding or beliefs. Trust the Spirit is at work in the process.