United Church of Christ

The Return of the Lorax: A Children’s Sermon

Lorax.jpgHow many of you have read the Dr. Seuss story The Lorax? In this book, a young boy visits someone named the Once-ler. In the past, the Once-ler had been an extremely greedy person. He had owned a large company that chopped down Truffula trees and polluted the air and water with also sorts of gunk. A feisty little guy named the Lorax protested what he was doing, but the Once-ler continued to be greedy and pollute everything until finally all the animals were forced to leave and live elsewhere. The Brown Bar-ba-loots, the Swomee-Swans, and Humming Fish that hummed all left. Eventually, even the Lorax left. The greedy Once-ler was then all by himself in a place where there was smog and gunk everywhere, where hardly anything could live, and where there were no more Truffula trees because he had chopped them all down. The Oncel-er told the little boy how all of this happened. He then gave him the last Truffula seed in the whole world and told him that it was time to start growing Truffula trees once more, so that the Lorax and all his friends could come back.

That’s where the story of the Lorax normally ends, but what do you think happened next? I was curious about this, so I did some research. I went to the library and read and read and read in some gigantic big books. I couldn’t find anything until finally in the basement of the library in a box underneath boxes way in the back of the back, I found a book called The Return of the Lorax.

In this book, I learned what happened after the young boy took the seed. He left the Once-ler and went to a place known as Dream Hill. It was on Dream Hill where the Magical Green Dream Dragon once lived. The young boy sat on top of the hill and thought about what the Once-ler had said. He was worried and afraid. He didn’t know what to do with the last Truffula seed. He felt like the future of the whole world was in that one seed. What if he lost it? What if he dropped it? What if he sneezed and launched it? Eventually, the little boy decided to pray. He got down on his knees, and said to God, “Please, please, put me at ease. Give me the wisdom and heart, so I might do my part.” Tired and exhausted, the young boy soon fell asleep. In his sleep, he received a visit from none other than the Magical Green Dream Dragon herself. The Magical Green Dream Dragon came and said that the time had come for him to plant his seed. “Plant it on top of this hill,” she said, “and one day soon, but not too soon, you will see a giant Truffula tree.”

When the boy awoke, he knew what to do. He had to plant the one remaining Truffula seed. So, he went to work and dug a hole on top of the hill in which he placed the last Truffula seed. After he had done his part, he thought the fun would begin. He would watch the Truffula seed grow into Truffula tree. Then, the whole land would be happy again. But that was not exactly what happened.

The boy watched for a whole day, but nothing happened. He watched for a week, and still nothing happened. And then on a Monday, it started to rain. It rained on Tuesday. It rained on Wednesday. It rained and rained and rained. The boy was scared that all that rain would wash away the seed. It rained so much that soon all of the land had become flooded except the very top of Dream Hill where he had planted the seed. The boy prayed and prayed. In his dreams, the magical Green Dream Dragon would come and tell him everything would be ok. Then, finally one day, the rains came to a stop. The boy swam to the top of the hill, and looked very hard, but saw no sign at all of a new Truffula tree. But then the next day, he came back again, and he saw a little green stem poking out of the ground. The boy jumped for joy. It was a Truffula tree that he could now see.

Everyday the boy swam back to inspect how much it had grown. And, everyday the boy had to swim less and less because the floodwaters were starting to disappear until finally he no longer had to swim at all. He simply had to step over a puddle. Eventually, the boy decided to pitch a small tent and live by the tree, so he could watch it by day and protect it by night. He didn’t want anyone to come and chop down the one and only Truffula tree.

It was on that first night when he lay there trying to fall asleep that the boy first heard the voice. It was soft. Its sound was sweet. The boy couldn’t tell where it was coming from. He peered out of his tent and saw no one. It was just him and the tree. This happened night after night. The voice sounded gentle like that of a mother whispering to her child.

            Grow child grow
            Love child love
            Sing child sing
            Come child come

Then, one night from outside his tent, the boy heard a loud, peculiar, and not so soft voice call out: “Greetings my lad!” The boy was startled. He thought he had been all alone on top of Dream Hill with the one and only Truffala tree. Cautiously, he looked out through a small hole in the door of his tent. At first, he saw nothing, but then he heard that peculiar voice: “I am down here young man. I mean you no harm. You’re our hero. You’re the one who has saved us all.” And, there, down by the ground, was an odd looking man that was short and squat with a face full of whiskers. “I am the Lorax,” he said, “and you have saved my friends and I.”

The young boy opened his door and invited the Lorax into his tent. The two talked through the night. The Lorax told his sad story about how the Brown Barba-loots, the Swomee-Swans, and the Humming Fish that hummed all had to leave. For years, they lived crammed and squished on one single, small island. It was the only place in the world where there was clean air to breathe and clean water to drink. Then one night the Lorax heard the voice. It was soft and sweet. It was gentle like that of a mother whispering to her child:

            Grow child grow
            Love child love
            Sing child sing
            Come child come

“I recognized the voice at once,” said the Lorax excitedly. “It was the voice of the Truffula tree calling for me and calling for thee. Stop and listen,” said the Lorax, and so the two listened through dark of the night. At first, the young boy heard nothing but his own heart beating extra-super-fast, thump-thump-thump-thump, but then he heard the voice:

            Grow child grow
            Love child love
            Sing child sing
            Come child come

“The Truffula tree is calling us home,” said the Lorax. “Look at the land. Look at the air. It is no longer polluted. It is clean once again.”

“The rains cleaned the air,” said the boy, “and the flood cleaned the land.”

“Nature has healed itself,” said the Lorax, “but it couldn’t have done it without some like you, someone who cared.”

The next day the Lorax left. He promised to return in a year after the Truffula tree had given birth to 60 more Truffula trees. True to his word the Lorax came back in a year as 60 more Truffula trees began to grow. To the boy’s great delight, the Lorax did not come back alone. He came back with all of his friends. He came back the Brown Barba-loots, the Swomee-Swans, and the Humming Fish that hummed.

Underneath the Truffula trees, they all sang and danced. The Brown Barba-loots lifted up the young boy and carried him in a giant parade. They all shouted “Hooray!” for the young boy who not only cared enough to dream but dreamed enough to believe that one day there would be a giant new Truffula tree. The end.


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