Wednesday, February 22, 2017
Independence Day Mouse
Cast: 1 person—adult or youth—who does not mind scurrying around on the stage.
Equipment: Wireless microphone. Costume optional. A chair or stool is also optional.
Church mouse comes dragging onto stage, rubbing eyes, having been awakened too early.
[Walking and yawning and singing as the mouse enters].
My country ‘tis of thee. Sweet land of liberty. Of thee I sing.
[Big yawn, then continues singing].
Land of the big French Fry. I got ketchup in my eye. Oh boy does it sting?
[Stretching and more yawning, then resume singing].
Land where scraps from your hand. Land here in church mouse land. Let every… [Steps back in shock]. WHOA! WHERE DID YOU PEOPLE COME FROM?
I thought I had the place to myself. What time is it anyway? How late did those fireworks go?
[Looks back]. Oh man, am I ever having a bad tail day.
[Looking directly at audience]. Don’t give me that look. It’s your holiday. Fireworks all night and kids launching missile attacks on me and my friends with bottle rockets. You try to sleep through that.
Don’t get me wrong. I love the picnics. Bread and cheese are falling everywhere. Got me a piece of that Chipolate-Habernero and I was more explosive that those Black Cats—the firecrackers, not the menacing felines that are always just around the corner.
[Sits and stares intently at audience].
CAN WE TALK? REALLY, CAN WE TALK?
I don’t get it. You throw these huge outdoor parties with food galore. You light up the sky for hours. Some of you venture out onto the lakes or just want to get a good dose of sunburn, but it seems that you all have this in common.
[Looks to see who is listening].
You all have something to complain about. Really! Land of the free, home of the brave, burgers and hotdogs galore, and you still find things to complain about? Really?
I am absolutely thrilled that you invited ole fumble fingers to this year’s picnic again. Hey, scraps are my life; but you get a whole burger, heap the fries on high, kick back in the shade, pop a top on whatever that stuff is in the can, and still find stuff to complain about.
Since when has complaining become a career choice?
Really, I have been here on enough Sunday mornings to hear what Paul wrote to the church in Philippi. Try to do everything without complaining or arguing.
You guys can’t seem to do anything without complaining.
[Holds up both hands to make this point].
Will you listen to a mouse? Will you?
You guys have it good. You are what we call in the church mouse world, blessed. That’s right, blessed.
You guys have way more than most people. Heck! I have more scraps that some people have food in parts of the world. Nobody needs to be singing the blues around here.
Plus! Now here this! Please understand!!!
[Waiting for everyone to pay attention].
You have liberty in this nation AND you have liberty in Jesus Christ. That’s beyond abundant.
Man, I need to go get some sleep, but you need to think about the blessings of liberty that you have been given in this nation and through God’s Son. Really, think about it!
[Starts to walk off, but turns back towards the audience for one last comment].
Hey! Don’t be too hard on your kids when they drop something from the dinner table. It’s for a good cause.
[Resumes exit singing]. O beautiful for spacious skies, for amber waves of…
Sausage and Sermons
Title dedicated to Dr. Thomas D. Campbell of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church
Cast: Two people, one playing the pastor. Any gender or age. Both in jogging suits.
Set: Any. Action is brought about completely in dialogue though the two will simulate running or walking as part of a morning exercise routine. Action could also begin at the end of a run with both picking up towels. The end of run set provides opportunities to hide notes with the set.
So you had two flats and then your battery went dead? On the same trip?
That’s gotta stink.
Grist for the mill.
OK. Whatever. And they doubled your insurance rate last month.
I’ll bet that sent you through the roof.
Just more to consider.
And you really waited 4 hours at the dentist to get in. I thought it was emergency surgery.
I did. It was.
That’s really some… I mean you ought to protest or something.
It’s okay. I read their Bible for most of the time and actually got to catch up on my Facebook for a little bit.
Yesterday when you gave me a ride and that guy cut you off.
I soooo wanted you to pass him, get out, and kick his rude self to kingdom come.
Sure. For a moment. But I figured the thought would be better filed for future use.
You know that I like you, right?
But, pastor—dude—your answers are just weird.
I see. Let me ask you something.
Go for it.
Do you like sausage?
Sausage and eggs?
Yes. Throw in some Texas Toast and I’ll call it a party.
Have you ever watched someone make sausage?
I did for a little while, then sort of lost my appetite for sausage for a while.
I see. So one more question.
Would you rather watch someone make sausage or eat sausage?
I would much rather eat it. I don’t even want to remember how it is made.
There you go.
Do you get something out of my sermons?
Then maybe you don’t need to worry how they come about.
There are two things that most people never need to see made…
One of them is sausage.
And the other?
Exactly. Now you’ve got it.
I’m not sure that I do.
You remember Jeremiah 29:11?
For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Once, I was called to be a pastor, I knew that everything that came my way would refine me somehow. Somehow, God would use it for good. Somehow, I would grow from it.
Yeah, okay, sure?
Or at least give me some good grist for the mill in my next sermon.
That’s good for you, you are a pastor.
It’s good for you too. You are his disciple.
Sounds like that whole pick up your cross daily bit.
That’s a load to think on.
It is. Want to go get some breakfast? We could discuss it more there.
Sure. What’s your favorite?
Biscuits and sermon gravy.
Don’t give up your day job.
Let’s get something to eat.
Sunday, February 12, 2017
Cast: One very animated speaker. Gestures and facial expressions must be exaggerated.
Set: Can be from pulpit or lectern so notes can be used.
I started my day right, said my prayers, read my devotion, and set out to bring glory to God. Then the next thing that you know there is this gal making a left-hand turn from the right hand lane. Right in front of me!
I kept my cool, as much as I could. That is to say that I didn’t curse or use any hand signals, but really God—really?
There are people out just doing their best to spit in the grits. What’s up with that?
And then there I was in Walmart—yes, I know I was there yesterday and the day before but you’ve gotta do what ya gotta do—and this old man, he had to be at least 30, kicked the shopping cart across the parking lot. He might have been aiming for the place where you put the carts but he missed and hit the side of my car. Then he laughs out loud where I can hear him and drives off.
What gives God? Can’t you get rid of these yahoos for those of us who are trying to follow you?
And then there was the guy at the basketball game. I have said a few bad words in my day, but this guy ran out of cusswords and starting making up his own. He was cussing the refs, our coach, their coach, and when he went to get a popcorn, I could even hear him cussing out the concession stand folks.
C’mon God. Can’t you just pluck these guys out of the world right now? They don’t seem to love you or us. They seem to be playing for the other team.
[Sighs and looks up.]
What was my devotion about this morning? Oh, it was the parable of the weeds.
[Looks up again.]
What did the workers want to do? They wanted to pull up the weeds. The landowner planted good seed but somebody—agents of the enemy for sure—had scattered weed seed in the field. They wanted to pull up the weeds right away.
[Looks up again.]
What were they told? To let them grow together. The wheat might get uprooted with the weeds. The time for separation will be at the harvest.
[Exhales and big sigh.]
In your time, not mine Lord. I get it. Sort of. I know that you said we would have trouble in the world and that we should take heart for you have overcome the world. Sometimes, it seems that we are ready for the harvest now…
[Pause to think.]
But we forget our commission when we ask for you to come back and judge the world now. We have work to do—work that you trusted us with.
I know that I still have many people to share the good news with. I will do my best to be patient until you say it is time for the harvest.
Maybe by then, there won’t be as many weeds because we did what you commissioned us to do.
[Looks up again, briefly, and shakes head up and down in agreement with what has transpired.]
Well, thanks for listening. You always do and before I call you have already answered. I will do my best Lord, but if you could see fit to somehow let the loudmouth at the ball game catch laryngitis for a couple of weeks during the playoffs, it would make it a little easier to be patient until the harvest.
[Shrugs shoulders and smiles.]
Wednesday, February 8, 2017
Work Out Your Salvation
Cast: Two people. One is in workout gear with some small weights and a boom box, but not working out. The other is dressed in business attire (not workout gear).
Set: Any stage. Props added to make it look like a workout area or fitness center. A single weight set could suffice.
Workout clothes again?
I am afraid to.
It’s in the Bible.
In his letter to the people living in the Philippines, Paul told them to work out their salvation with fear and trembling. So, I am afraid to work out.
Okaaaay. I think Paul wrote to the Philippians and he didn’t say to be afraid to work out. He said work out your salvation with fear and trembling.
I don’t get that part. Why should I have to be afraid to work out?
Paul said to work out your salvation. What if you understood that to mean live out your salvation?
That’s better, but the whole fear and trembling stuff has me bummed out.
What if you understood that to mean as the most important thing you did every day.
That adds some gravity to it and maybe takes away the part where I’m afraid to do anything.
Indeed it does. We are not afraid to live but we acknowledge that our every decision is important—the most important one that we will make at that moment.
That is sort of scary.
It is important. That’s for sure.
But what if I mess up? What if I blow it? What if….
Hold them holy horse. We don’t live in a what if world. We live out our salvation. Jesus not only stepped out of heaven to live and die as a man and be a sacrifice for our sin.
He did not orphan us when he went back to heaven. He gave us the Holy Spirit.
How does that help?
God lives in us. He is leading us to do the things that he wants us to do.
But sometimes it’s just too hard to listen.
No. It really isn’t. If you are having problems listening to God’s own Spirit who lives within you, consider all that Jesus gave up for us.
He set aside living equal to his Father to come live and die as a human. I know. It’s almost unbelievable.
You need to believe it because that’s how much God loves us.
And I want to love him back.
Then quit listening to the world and listen to God’s Spirit that is alive inside of you. That Spirit will lead you step-by-step in working out your salvation.
That’s a much better workout than I have been trying.
It might give you a better selection of wardrobe choices too.