Thursday, February 8, 2018

When did Jesus institute Ash Wednesday?

Ash Wednesday

This short skit is obviously designed to be done on Ash Wednesday or in preparation for an Ash Wednesday service.  It requires only 2 people for a short, crisp conversation.

Any stage, set, classroom, or fellowship hall will suffice.  The action is in the question and answer conversation.

Hey, when did Jesus institute Ash Wednesday?
He didn’t.  It came into practice over a millennium after Jesus ascended into heaven.
So, Jesus didn’t do this or even start it.  It must be a bad thing.  Maybe we shouldn’t do it.
He didn’t drive to worship services either.  Maybe you should start walking.
I don’t see anything wrong with driving to church.  I am more likely to go if I drive, especially on a cold or rainy day.
And you might be more likely to truly celebrate Easter—Resurrection Sunday—if you take these 40 days of Lent that begin on Ash Wednesday and give up something that will liberate someone else from their chains—whatever those may be.
So, it’s not just an empty ritual?
It is as empty or fulfilling as you make it.  God speaking through the prophet Isaiah chastised his people for going through the motions while fasting.
You mean like saying you love God but living like everyone else in the world?
Sometimes, we Christians need reminders not to just blend into the world.
Yes, we do.
Something visible and unique like a personal billboard.
If you say so.
I’m just trying to apply some modern thinking to help me remember that I should prepare to celebrate Easter.  Just some little reminder to get me back on track.
How about some ashes on your head?
That could itch.
How about just on your forehead?
That could work.
Stick around.  That’s just what we have in store for you!

The end.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Grumpiest Old Men

Grumpiest Old Men
Acts 4:36, 1 Thessalonians 5:11

Cast:  2 older men. These are long time friends with much dryness to their banter.

Set:  Anywhere a bench or 2 chairs may be set as a park bench.  Action proceeds in dialogue.  Script or notes may be hidden in props (newspaper) if used.  One friend is already center stage with lights down.  Second friend enters as lights come up.

Lights up.

First old man walks up to bench and sees friend already seated.

[Takes other seat available].  Whatever.
Why do you have to be that way?
Yes you.  Do you have a thorn in your shoe?
[Looking directly at his friend].  Yeah, I’ve got a thorn alright.
Stop it.   Why is it every time we meet here you are grumpy?
Well, you are always in my seat for one thing.
I didn’t know that.  Would you like to sit here?
Why yes, I would.
Show up earlier next time BoneheadThis seat’s taken.
[Momentary pause for the emotions to subside].
Saw some ducks flying south yesterday.
They were in a “V” formation.
Of course, they were.  They are ducks.  They only know so much alphabet.  There is no “W, X, Y or Z” formation.  They are ducks.
One side of the “V” was longer than the other.
Now you are criticizing duck formations?
Just wondering if you knew why?
Nobody knows why!  Do you know why one side of the duck “V” is longer than the other?
Of course.  There are more ducks on side.
No, you’re the bonehead.  I’m…
Putz.  I know.
Actually, I think we are both just a couple of grumpy old men.
Your grumpier.
Your grumpiest.
Enough.  I can’t even remember your real name.
It’s Barney if you must know.
Short for Barnabas?
Yes.  Short for Barnabas.
You are too old to OMG me.
No, I mean OMG did your parents ever get your name wrong.
Barnabas means “Son of Encouragement.”
LOL.  I know.
You are too old and grumpy to LOL me.
Isn’t it ironic, don’t you think.  A little too ironic…
How do you know that Barnabas means “Son of Encouragement?”
I have been studying my Bible.
Yes.  I go to a Bible study group.
They let you in?
I don’t believe that.
OK.  I have to host the group, make the coffee, have cake and cookies, and clean up when we are done.
Maybe, if you also parked their cars and provide a valet service I might believe you.
I was keeping that part secret.
I still wouldn’t let you in my Bible study. 
You have a Bible study?
No, but if I did, there would be a no bonehead rule.
What was your Bible study about?
This week we read the 5th chapter of 1st Thessalonians.
What was it about?
We are supposed to encourage one another and build up one another.
Now there’s your irony for you.
We are supposed to be encouraging each other.  I think we missed the boat on that one.
Not too late to change, is it?
I don’t know.  Should we give it a try.
OK.  My hope is that you have a wonderful day and I will see you tomorrow, Putz.
Fair enough.  May you get your old bones up early tomorrow and get here in time to get this seat, Bonehead.
[Both stand].
I think we’ve got the hang of this encouraging stuff.
[Both walk off stage in separate directions].
See you tomorrow, Bonehead.
Later, Putz.

The end.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Following Jesus

Following Jesus
Matthew 4:18-19, Matthew 11:28-29, Proverbs 3:5-6

Cast:  2 people of any age or gender. One has just been saved and the other is Jesus.

Set:  Any.  Action proceeds in dialogue.  Script or notes may be hidden in props if used.  Both begin center stage with lights down.

Lights up.

Hallelu, Hallelu, Hallelu, Hallelu; praise ye the Lord.  Praise ye the Lord, Hallelujah, Praise ye the…
That’s what I like to see.  Real enthusiasm.
You would be excited too.  I just got saved.
I know.
What?  You weren’t even there.
Actually, I was.
Most definitely.
OK.  If you say so.  I don’t remember seeing you there.
I was there.
OK.  What’s your name any way?
Some call me Yeshua.  That’s sort of like Joshua.  Most people just call me Jesus these days.
No way!
Yes way!  Actually, the way, the truth, and the life.
 Like, the Jesus?
I guess that I should say thanks.
Hmmm…  Why is that a guess?
What?  Oh, I mean, Thank You!
Good.  Now that you have been saved from sin and death, it’s time to follow me.
Actually, I have been wanting to talk to you about that.
Yes.  I thought that you being Jesus would already know that.
I do, and I also know that you have some reservations about this discipleship stuff.
Do I ever!
You love the gift of eternal life but don’t love it enough to give your life to me as my disciple.
That’s a little strong don’t you think?
How would you word it?
Well, I just, you know, I…   I have some more living to do.
I have some living in store for you.  It’s real living.
I don’t know that I want to give up everything, at least not yet.
So, you think that by following me, you are giving up something more valuable than what I have to give?
Well, when you word it that way…
How would you word it?
I wish you wouldn’t do that.
That’s not really true.
The more that we talk the more we grow closer.
Yeah but those questions…
Are what get us to the truth.
What is this truth?
That I, we, every form of God that you understand, love you more than you can understand.
I think that I get that part, maybe?
But for you to know real life, you must step out of your comfort zone and follow me.
You mean be your disciple?
But I don’t know…
My yoke is easy.  My burden is light.  You can learn from me.
I am not a big fan of that word.
It’s one of my favorites.  That and..
 If only.
It seems that you know my deal.  So why do you have to press me about this?
I’m inviting you to real life.  I know it’s the best thing for you, even when it gets tough.
Now don’t get me wrong.  I am excited about this not going to hell thing and eternal life and calorie-free buffets and endless holes in one on the golf course, and…
Not much of a Bible reader, are you?
You already knew that.
Yes, I did.
So how do you expect me to step out of my comfort zone?
One step at a time.  Let’s start with memorizing a verse from the Proverbs.
You’re not going to hit me with fools despise wisdom, are you?
No, but it came in a close second.
OK.  I’m ready.
Are you?
No.  Enough with the questions!  They always throw me for a loop. I need answers.
I have answers let’s start with this.  Trust in the Lord with all your heart.
I know this.  And lean not on your own understanding…
In all you ways acknowledge him,
And he will make your path straight.
Actually, I like the And he will direct your path’s version.
No.  Teasing!!!
Why would you do that?
Because this whole following me and trusting in the Lords stuff is good stuff.  It’s even fun if you will throw yourself into it.
OK.  I’ll try.
I don’t like that word either.
OK.  I will follow you.
Much better.  We will talk again soon.
[Jesus stares intently at the other cast member without saying a word.]
OK.  No buts.  I have decided to follow Jesus.  No turning back.  No turning back.

The end.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Thanksgiving Mouse 2017

Thanksgiving Mouse 2017
Philippians 4:6-7, Psalms 107, 118, 136

Cast:  1 person—adult or youth—who does not mind scurrying around on the stage.
Equipment:  Wireless microphone.  Costume optional

I can’t believe it!  So my sister-in-law invited me over for Thanksgiving dinner.  And me, not thinking, says “yeah sure.”
What was I thinking?  Really, what was I thinking?
So I show up early thinking there will be some good pre-feast grazing and what do I find?  Health food.  Broccoli and carrots—really!  We are mice not rabbits.
But I do my best to keep my cool, well….    That is….
Until they ask me to help get things ready.  Hey!  I’m the invited guest here.  But now I am putting out place settings and napkins and tidying up.  C’mon now, we are mice not high society.  We nibble.  We don’t dine.
And then the coup de grâce (ko͞o′ də gräs′) – that’s COOP DUH GRASS in these parts, but when you are puttin’ on the Ritz with the in-laws, well anyway. [Hands up to signal it’s time to get back to the main story].
[Shaking head left to right to signal disbelief].  TOFU TURKEY!  Can you believe it.  That should not even be a thing. Tofu turkey.  It was so good to get back here.  I hope there are some scraps of some real food left.  Give me some real Thanksgiving scraps.
I do so love it when the kids kick the piece of banana bread under the fridge.  Or when somehow a piece of mac and cheese gets missed in the cleanup.
[Looks at audience and jumps back].  WHAT!  You people again.  I just got home and it seems like I can’t even get a moment alone.
OMG, OMG, oh, oh, oh…
I remember last year I talked to you people about being thankful and here you catch me on my own little rant.  I’m dragging my pity party around with me right in front of you.
Really!  I’m the church mouse and I should know better.
You know, I think this thanksgiving stuff takes a little work.  I think that we have to get out of the rut that the world likes to keep us in and just think thankful thoughts all the time.
Give thanks to the Lord for he is good.  Yeah, that’s a good one.
[Singing.]  Give thanks with a grateful heart.  I love that song.  Maybe I should live that song too.
Here’s a cool Bible verse from the 4th chapter of Philippians.  Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
It’s better with the verse that follows.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
If I ask God with a spirit of thanksgiving, he can give me peace in the middle of my problems.  Now that’s no Tofu Turkey.  That’s some real meat.
Hey!  I gotta go and find some real food, but I am going to do my best to be thankful every step of the way.
[Starts to exit, stops, and looks directly at audience.  Raises index finger to signal a major statement to follow].
Thanksgiving, it’s not just for turkey day anymore.


Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Post Game Interview

Post Game Interview
Romans 12:1-3
Isaiah 40:28-31

Cast:  Two adults of any age.  One is a sideline sportscaster and the other a coach headed to the locker room for halftime.  This could be a stand alone drama, but it is designed as a follow on to Game Day and the Half Time Interview.

Set:  Anything that presents a football stadium setting is helpful.  The interview will be standing with the sportscaster holding a microphone and moving it back and forth with the conversation.

The coach is running off the field with the players at the end of this contest.  Sportscaster catches the coach running of the field and has a short interview.

Coach!  Coach!  Can I get just a few words before you head off to catch up with the team.
What a game.  You must be proud of your players.
I was really pleased at how everyone pressed on towards the goal.  Past mistakes were just that, in the past.  They kept pressing on.
Reading God’s word, making joyful sounds, the heart of worship, worshiping in spirit and in truth—I think your team hit all of these keys to success.
Yes.  We put our hearts into it.
I guess it’s time for a well-deserved rest now.
Not a chance!
Now is when real worship begins.
But I thought this past hour was worship?
It was and it was good, but most of our worship takes place outside of this building.  Most of our worship takes place during the rest of the week.
I didn’t see that coming so I don’t have any official announcer questions.
That’s ok.  Our response to God’s grace and mercy is to worship him all the time. We are told that our entire lives are to be given to God as a living sacrifice. 
Living Sacrifice?  You made that up, right?  I have read enough of the Bible to know that the sacrifice doesn’t get to live.
In the Old Testament, sacrifices didn’t get to live; well, except for the scapegoat—but that’s for another time.  But now…
[Raises index finger to interrupt with an epiphany.]
Because Christ made a once and for all sacrifice for us we don’t have to make sacrifices every year.
Correct.  We make sacrifices every day with our lives not our livestock.
But we get to live?
You betcha, we get to live like never before.  When we give our lives completely to God, we live more fully than ever before.
Wow!  That’s something.
That’s everything.
Coach, just one more question.  I have been broadcasting for years, but I have never seen a scoreboard.  How do you know who wins?
[Big smile and large gestures]
Don’t you know?  The victory is already won.  Before we stepped foot on the playing field, God had already defeated sin and death with the blood of Christ.  We are already winners.
Wow!  I guess I never thought about how much God has done for us.

Listen to what the prophet Isaiah says about God:

Do you not know?
    Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
    and his understanding no one can fathom.
 He gives strength to the weary
    and increases the power of the weak.

Hey!  I know the rest of that…

 Even youths grow tired and weary,
    and young men stumble and fall;
 but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.

The worship hour is over but our worship is just beginning.
And while you come to give your hearts to God, he sends you out to soar on wings like eagles.
Do you know what the theological term for that is?
No, what?
Cool beans.
[A little perplexed.]
That’s not theology, is it.
Gotta go.  See you next time.
[Facing viewing audience as coach departs]
And there you have it.  Living Sacrifice, soaring like eagles, and cool beans.  Worship, it’s not just for Sunday anymore.

The end.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Half Time Interview

Half Time Interview
John 4:24

Cast:  Two adults of any age.  One is a sideline sportscaster and the other a coach headed to the locker room for halftime.  This could be a stand alone drama, but it is designed as a follow on to Game Day.

Set:  Anything that presents a football stadium setting is helpful.  The interview will be standing with the sportscaster holding a microphone and moving it back and forth with the conversation.
The coach is running off the field with the players.  Sportscaster catches the coach running to the lockeroom and has a short interview.

Coach!  Coach, just a minute.
[Coach stops running and sportscaster launches into interview].
What a first half.  Are you pleased with how it all went?
We had some good moments.  We had good participation in reciting God’s word.  We still need to get everyone involved though.  Singing was good, but still a few not lifting their voices.
What else is it going to take to succeed in the second half?
We need to get to the heart of what this is all about.
You mean the heart of worship that you talked about before?
Yes, but we need to get to the meat and potatoes of it.
Just what exactly is the meat and potatoes of the heart of worship?
Spirit and Truth!
What do you mean by that?
Jesus said that God wants people to worship him in Spirit and in Truth.  Those are two big words.  Our spirit must seek to connect with God’s Spirit.  We must worship with our very being.
And truth?
Our worship must be genuine.  It must not be perfunctory.
That’s a big word for a halftime interview.
I’m sure you audience has already Googled it.
I’m sure, but for those of us who don’t do that…
Don’t just go through the motions.  Don’t just log time in the pew.  Don’t just come to a worship service and start thinking about everything else you could be doing.
You mean that when you are here, really be here.
Yes!  Think of God calling Moses up the mountain.  They would do some things during their time on the mountain but God wanted Moses just to be there.  God’s saying, come and enjoy this intimate time with me.
And in worship, we really connect with God?
Yes, if you worship in Spirit and in Truth.  Gotta get to the locker room.
Thanks coach.  That’s something to chew on for sure.  God wants people who will worship him in Spirit and in Truth.  Back to the booth.

The end.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Game Day

Game Day
Hebrews 4:12, Psalm 100, 1 Samuel 16:7

Cast:  Two adults of any age.  One is a sportscaster and the other a coach.
Set:  A table and two chairs or just two men standing with microphones (real or as props).  A sign or banner that reads GAME DAY might add to the pre-game setting.

Pre-conversation activity could be the sportscaster and coach greeting each  other and taking their seats or already seated at the table and the sportscaster looking to the off stage director and whispering “Are we live?” and then kicking off the program.  Lead in music might add to the game day setting.

This particular drama might also be recorded on video and played on a screen to give the feeling of viewing at home.

The time has finally come.  It is the season opener for Wednesday evening worship.  What are the keys to victory this evening, coach?
Here’s what I’m calling the holy trinity of worship success.
That’s catchy.
I hope it catches on.  First in this threesome of worship things to get right is the reading of God’s word aloud.  We are supposed to read his holy word all week long, but when we come together, there is nothing like reading it aloud.
That is powerful.  Could it get any better?
Absolutely.  Sometimes we read it aloud together.  Sometimes we say it aloud because God’s holy word is written in our hearts.
You are talking about memorizing scripture.
Talking about it?  We are doing it.  There are millions of people who just talk about doing things.  We do them.
OK.  What’s next.
Next, we lift our voices to the Lord.  We make joyful sounds. 
So just throw in a little music to accompany everything else?
No, we don’t just throw in anything.  Lifting our voices to the Lord is essential to worship.  It is not a sound track that accompanies the important stuff.  It is important stuff.
For those who are musically inclined anyway.
Every living thing needs to cry out in joy to the Lord, especially those of us who are the crown of his creation.  We may not hit every note just right but our hearts are perfectly tuned to please God when our words are offered with joy.
I don’t mean to pick at you coach, but it seems that a lot of people are sitting this part out, or standing it out.  They stand up but it seems like they can’t wait for the song to end.
You’re right.  They look at worship like a buffet, skipping over the parts they are not interested in and filling up on something else.
Like the sermon or the prayer?
Sometimes that’s what they are waiting for—you do occasionally get a joke or two thrown in the sermon—but sometimes their minds and their hearts are set upon things of the world.  They are in the worship service but they are NOT IN THE WORSHIP SERVICE!  They just can’t wait to get this singing stuff over with.
That’s got to be a challenge.
It is, but that’s what we coaches signed up for.
So what’s number three in your worship coaching trinity?
A heart of worship.
That’s different.  You can tell if people read or if they sing, but how do you coach this?
That one is all in God’s hands. He knows the heart.  Sometimes people will be lifting their hands and jumping up and down with the music but their heart knows it’s all for their own attention.  Sometimes people don’t seem to be into what’s happening, but their hearts are perfectly tuned into the Lord.
So we don’t judge by what’s on the outside?
Not here.  God sees the heart.  If we were playing baseball, then you had better pay attention to what’s happening on the outside or you get called on three pitches or picked off on first or…
Got it, coach.  So read, sing, and have a heart for worship—is that all you need?
There’s more, but you must master the basics first.
That’s all the time we have right now.  Maybe we can talk more at half time.
Looking forward to it.

The end.