Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Just Say No!

Just Say No!
Living for God’s Purpose

Cast:  Two men or two women who are friends. 

Set:  Any stage. One of the friends (P1) needs a smart phone.  The action is entirely in dialogue.  Both begin center stage.

Lights up.

P1:  I’m am so busy.  I don’t know what I am going to do?
P2:  You do seem a little frazzled.
P1:  I don’t know what to do.  I don’t know if I even have time to talk right now.
P2:  That’s too busy.
P1:  I know [phone rings].  I’ve got to take this.
P2:  Sure.
P1 [To phone]:  Hello.   Oh sure.  I can do that.  Alright, put me down for that too.  Cool.  Later.
P2:  So did I just hear you sign up for two or was it three more things that you don’t have time to do?
P1:  Yeah, I think, I don’t know.  There’s no way I can do all of this.
P2:  Why don’t you say “No” to some of these things?
P1:  Are you kidding?
P2:  No.
P1:  But you can’t just say no, can you?
P2:  Yes, you can say no.
P1:  That’s easy for you to say.
P2:  It’s easier now than it used to be.
P1:  What do you mean?
P2:  I mean that I used to be you until I learned to say “No.”
P1:  You mean like saying no to drugs or staying out too late or decaffeinated coffee?
P2:  No, well except the decaf bit.  Really, what’s the point?
P1:  Other than the decaf, what do you say no to?
P2:  The Friendly People Place of Prominence wanted me to be on their board of directors.
P1:  Oh, you would be so good at that!  You really didn’t say no did you?
P2:  Yes, I said no.
P1:  OK, I can see that.  You are the chairman of the board at the regional food bank.  I guess one board is enough.
P2:  It’s not that.
P1:  No?
P2:  See you can say no.  Now practice just saying it and not making it into a question.
P1:  Yeah, OK, whatever, but what did you mean by “It’s not that?”
P2:  I could handle another two or three board positions, but I say no unless they are aligned with my purpose in life.
P1:  You have a purpose in life?
P2:  Yes.  So do you.
P1:  I don’t know about that.  It seems that I’m too busy to have a purpose.
P2:  Maybe if you knew your purpose you wouldn’t be so busy.
P1:  Really?  I don’t see how that could help.
P2:  It’s simple, really.  Knowing you purpose empowers you to say no to everything else that you know you don’t need to be giving your time and effort to.
P1:  I need that.  [Picks up phone to use app]. Can I get it with one-click?  I am so busy, I hope that I can use one-click.                                                                                                        
P2:  You don’t order it.  You just understand it.
P1:  Now you’ve lost me.
P2:  I know.  Listen now, this is really important.  God has really good plans for you.  I mean he wants to prosper you and give you this incredible thing call hope.  God is sooooo invested in your future.
P1:  That’s cool, but what about this purpose stuff?
P2:  God has given you a unique design to do some things so well.  He wants you to pour yourself into living as the person that he made you to be.
P1:  That’s great, but I don’t have time to add one more thing to my…
P2:  You mean like you just added two or three things a moment ago?
P1:   Yeah, like that.
P2:  Then stopping adding and start saying “No” to the things that are not what God made you to do.
P1:  I don’t know which things to say yes to and which to say no to—I don’t know where to start.
P2:  Let’s start by getting up 15 minutes early tomorrow and just listen to God.
P1:  You mean pray.  I do that.  I pray that I don’t go crazy.  I pray that other people are paying attention when I drive because I sometimes get distracted trying to keep up with my appointments.  I pray that the line at the store is short because I really don’t have time for that.
P2:  I mean pray, but just say, “Hello” to God and then spend the rest of the time listening.
P1:  And God is going to speak to me.
P2:  More than that.  His Spirit is going to let you know when to say no.
P1:  One 15-minute listening session is going to take care of this?
P2:  NO!  One 15-minute listening session is going to get things started.             
P1:  I need something that works now.  I don’t have time for more than one session.
P2:  And you never will the way you are going.
P1: [Sarcastically]. Thanks for the encouragement.
P2:  If you will listen to God and trust him, he will reveal to you who he made you to be.
P1:  And my purpose?
P2:  Yes.  There is some mystery with God but mostly he tells us everything that we need to know and do.
P1:  And not do.
P2:  And say no to.              
P1.  “No”, you know I like that word.  Just say no!
P2:  Yes, you will be able to say “No” whenever you know you should.
P1:  How do you know so much about saying no.       
P2:  Because I know the One who tells me when to say no.
P1:  I want to know him and say no to everything that doesn’t get me closer to him.
P2:  That’s great!  Hey, do you want to help me paint the rocks in front of my house this evening?
P1:  Sure, I mean “No!”  Who paints rocks, anyway?
P2:  I don’t know.  I was just giving you a little warm up exercise for later.
P1:  And I said “NO!”
P2:  Good for you.  [Baiting P1].  I guess I will have to do it all myself…
P1:  Nice try.
P2:  Good job.  I’m here for you as you work your way into saying yes to your purpose and no to the other stuff.

Lights down.

The end.

Designated Bible Thumper

Designated Bible Thumper
Matthew 7:1-6
1 Thessalonians 4:11-12
James 5:19-20

Cast:  Two men or women who are friends.  One is exploring Christianity (P1) and the other is a long time Christian (P2).

Set:  Any set.  Action proceeds entirely in dialogue.

Both men begin the scene center stage in pantomime of conversation with the lights down. 

Lights up.

P1:  That Bible of yours is confusing.
P2:  I see.  I’m guessing that you read something that you can’t figure out.
P1:  No.  I read several things that don’t seem to go together.
P2:  OK.  Let’s see what we can figure out, but first, it’s not that Bible of mine.
P1:  You know what I mean, that Bible that you people refer to all the time.
P2:  It is for you too.
P1:  I don’t know about that.  I have been reading it and I think you can have my copy.
P2:  Hmmm, let’s see what’s got you stumped.
P1:  Like I said, it’s not just one thing.  It seems like some things just don’t jive.
P2:  Let’s see what doesn’t jive.
P1:  OK, this guy name Paul who used to go by Saul—must have been on the run from the law or something, told people in Thessalonica to mind their own business.  Now that’s sound advice, just ask any mother or teacher.
P2:  First, Paul had a lot to say about the law but he wasn’t on the run from it.  Next, it seems that you agree with what he had to say.
P1:  Yes, but then this guy named James says if you get into somebody’s business when they get off course, then that’s a good thing.
P2:  It is a good thing.
P1:  But what about minding your own business?
P2:  That’s a good thing as well, but if I saw you drowning would you want me to mind my own business and watch you die or would you want to practice my life saving techniques and bring you to the safety of the shore.
P1:  Who wouldn’t want to be rescued, but this James character says he is talking about turning a sinner from the error of his ways.  That sounds like judging and I read that we should not judge others unless we too want to be judged.
P2:  First of all, let me say that I am proud of you for reading your Bible.  These are good thoughts!
P1:  I thought that you would be upset with me for disrespecting your Bible.
P2:  You are just wrestling with things that every believer has to sort out.  OK, let’s go back to rescuing a drowning man.  The lifeguard has to make an assessment before committing to rescue.
P1:  What?
P2:  Is he really drowning?  If he is, then he must be ready to get physical—to take hold of the man and forcefully pull him to safety.  A drowning person is governed by panic and will pull the rescuer under if a casual rescue is attempted.  In some case, it’s necessary to knock out the drowning person so he does not drown both of them.
P1:  Is that why they call you Bible-Thumpers—you go around knocking people out with your Bibles.
P2:  Not exactly.  Have I ever thumped you with my Bible?
P1:  No.  You just keep inviting me to worship and to this thing you call the truth.
P2:  That’s right.  I can’t thump righteousness into you, but if I were to try, know that I would use my Amplified Version.
P1:  Yeah, OK, I think that was you being funny, but what about judging?
P2:  Don’t judge anyone so as to condemn them.  We are not entitled to condemn another person.  Jesus died to take away the sin of every person on the planet, past and present—permanently.
P1:  Wow! Now that is some propitiation with alliteration!
P2:  How do you know that word?  Most people don’t use propitiation in daily conversation.
P1:  I have been studying.  Let me see if I understand all of this, or at least these things that we have been talking about.
P2:  Hit me with your best shot.
P1:  In as much as possible, I should lead a quiet life and try to get along with others and tend to my own business—like staying away from gossip and the like.
P2:  Yes.
P1:  Unless someone who is a believer is headed down the wrong path and doesn’t seem to be able to get back on course by himself.  Then it’s OK to get into his business so long as I do it out of love and not self-righteousness.
P2:  Wow!  I don’t think you are confused at all.
P1:  It actually made sense to me, but I needed to bounce it off a, err, off a…
P2:  Bible Thumper?
P1:  Yeah, a Bible Thumper.  Do you mind me calling you that?
P2:  I prefer disciple or Christian, but if it keeps you reading your Bible, I will be your designated Thumper.
P1:  Cool.  I’m wanting to read more.  I don’t know what it is.
P2:  My turn to lay a label on you.
P1:  Go for it.
P2:  You are hungry for God’s word.
P1:  That’s it.  I’m hungry for God’s word.  Hey, did you know it seems like it is living and active?  I mean more than ordinary words.

Both start to walk off the stage together.

P2:  I’m going to enjoy being your designated Bible Thumper. 
P1:  Let’s go read something!

Lights down.

The end.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Pharisee Jeopardy

Pharisee Jeopardy
Matthew 23

Cast:  One moderator (M), two Pharisees (C1 & C2) dressed for the part with phylacteries and tassels on their sleeves, and one common person (C3).  The two Pharisees invoke a variety of disgusted looks every time that C3 gets a right answer.

Set:  Any set with 4 music stands, lecterns, pulpits, or something to stand behind to resemble a set similar to the television show, Jeopardy.  There is one stand on one side of the stage and three on the other.  They should be angled so they mostly face the audience.  There is no board or score display.

Jeopardy theme song at the beginning and end would be a nice touch.

Theme song to Jeopardy begins while lights are still down.  The moderator and all contestants are on stage.

Lights up.

Moderator:  Welcome back.  It’s now time for double Jeopardy, where the stakes can really change.  Let’s review our categories.

[The three contestants jump up and down with excitement.]

M:  We have Land Mines—a category where every answer could be like stepping on a land mine; Penalty Flags, where breaking a rule can lead to ruin; and Favorite Pharisees—a category that speaks for itself and all of the answers are either Gamaliel or Nicodemus. 

[C1 & C2 start cheering and fist pumping.]

M:  We round out the board with Love—a category where the answer is always love.  All you have to do is put it in the form of a question.  The last category is forgiveness where the right answer is always, YES.

[C1 & C2 look at each other with befuddled looks.  C3 nods head up and down in quiet confidence.]

M:  Contestant #1, you finished Round I with a negative 6000 talents.  You get to begin.
C1:  I’ll take Land Mines for 200.
M:  Group associated with white washed tombs.
C1 [Makes buzzing sound and then answers.]:  Who are the Grateful Dead?
M:  Incorrect.
C2 [Makes buzzing sound and then answers.]:  Who is Black Sabbath?
M:  Also incorrect.
C3:  [Makes buzzing sound and then answers.]:  Who are the Pharisees?
[C1 & C2 look at each other like C3 is crazy.]
M:  Correct!  You now control the board.
C3:  I’ll take Love for 200, please.
C1 [Makes buzzing sound and then answers.]:  Because they broke the law.
M:  Please let me read the question—which in Jeopardy is actually the answer—before you answer, and remember that your answers must be in the form of a question.

[C1 turns around, rolls his eyes, and throws a mini-tantrum.]

C2:  What is because they broke the law?
M:  Incorrect.  Now I will read the answer.  God is…
C3 [Makes buzzing sound and then answers.]:  What is love?

[C1 & C2 look at each other like C3 is crazy.]

M:  Correct again.
C3:  Let’s try forgiveness for 200, please.
C1:  Yes, please let’s have that good-for-nothing category.
C2:  Just get on with it.
M:  Why thank you.  How many times must you forgive your brother?
C1 [Makes buzzing sound and then answers.]:  Never.  That dude can burn in hell or make sacrifices until the cows come home.
M:  Incorrect.  I remind you that the category is Forgiveness.
C1:  Like anyone is interested.  I want Penalty Flags for 200.
M:  Then you need to answer a question right and then you get to choose.
C2:  It’s a trick question.  You don’t have a brother.
C3 [Makes buzzing sound and then answers.]:  What is YES we forgive 77 or in some translations, 7 times 70?
M:  Correct!  Well done.
C3:  Let’s try love again.  This time for 1000.
M:  Fill in the blank.  Greater                       has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friend.
C1 [Makes buzzing sound and then answers.]:  Tassels.  I mean what are tassels?
M:  Incorrect.
C2 [Makes buzzing sound and then answers.]:  Phylacteries—what are Phylacteries?
M:  Incorrect.
C3 [Makes buzzing sound and then answers.]:  What is love?
M:  Correct.
C3:  Love for 800, please.
M [Makes Ding, Ding, Ding sound]:  That sound means you have hit the Daily Double.
C3:  I’ll wager all of it.
M:  Bold move.  The Greeks would use the word, Agape, meaning this in the context of John 3:16.
C3:  What is love?
M:  Correct again!
C3:  I’ll take…
M [Makes Ding, Ding, Ding sound]:  That sound means that we have come to the end of the round and it is now time for Final Jeopardy.  The category is Lennon and McCartney.
C1:  What kind of baloney is that?
C2:  I’m not playing.
M:  That’s correct.  In fact, both of you Pharisees have set records for the most wrong answers in a millennium and are not invited to play.
C3:  Hey, I will bet all of my money and tell you the answer—in the form of a question—before you even ask it.  What is…     All you need is love.
M:  Correct.  You are our new Jeopardy champion, like that was ever in doubt.  Watching these two self-righteous knuckleheads was like watching the blind leading the blind.  Please say goodbye to your fellow contestants.  They are late for appointments to put burdens on the backs of men.

[C1 & C2 walk off shaking their fists at the moderator.]

M:  That’s it for tonight.  Stay tuned in for tonight’s Movie of the Week—The BLT and other forbidden pleasures.  Make sure you put the kids to bed first.

[Theme to Jeopardy begins.]

M & C3 waving to the audience.

Lights out and music fades out.

The end.

Monday, May 15, 2017

9-11 Mouse

9-11 Mouse

Cast:  Church Mouse in costume.  Monologue.

Set:  Any.  The mouse tells the story.

[Lights down to begin.  Lights go up and the church mouse is entering stage right and singing.]

I’m Proud to be and American where at least I know I’m free, and I won’t forget the men who died

[Jumps back realizing the room is full of people.]

Whoa!  You guys are back again.  You about gave me a heart attack.  Ha!  Then you would be singing, I won’t forget the mouse who died singing of liberty.
Hey!  I was reading my historical journals the other day and realized that this 9-11 stuff is fairly recent.  I mean there was just Labor Day in September and then nothing else to speak of until the Candy Festival at the end of October.  I got two cavities from that last year.
It all got me to wondering, what is this 9-11 all about?  People say it is like Pearl Harbor Day for this modern generation.  Some don’t pay it much mind.  I mean, there’s no three-day weekend with it.  You don’t hear of people heading out to see relatives for 9-11.
So what is it all about?

[Deep breath.]

I mean, I know it’s about being attacked by enemies and that many people died, but men and women die defending this thing you call America every year.  A lot of people die defending America every year. 
So just what is the deal on 9-11?     
[Hand to chin in ‘Thinker pose’]

Maybe, just maybe, it was about being of one accord for a short time.  Yes, I think that’s it.  For a short time early in this new century, people who didn’t seem to do much of anything other than argue with each other, came together in one accord.
For a short time, this wasn’t America.  It was the United States of America.  People put aside their differences and rallied together as one people.  Church attendance even went up for a while.
Tragedy had brought forth unity, for a short time.
So 9-11 is a day to remember what happened, a day to remember those who lost their lives, a day to remember those who acted heroically, and a day to remember a nation—the UNITED States of America—truly being united.
It’s all sort of sad though.  I mean it took a tragedy of that magnitude to bring people together and then it only lasted for a while.
I wonder, I mean I really wonder if you people couldn’t practice a little more harmony on a regular basis.  I mean you—not this building—are the church, right?
You are one body, right?
You are called to live in one accord, right?
I’m not judging, but I am a church mouse and I pick up on a lot during Bible Study and Sunday school.  You don’t see me, but I’m nestled away listening, when I’m not nibbling on those cookies that were put out the night before services.  You guys never learn.
I just nibble off the back sides and most people never notice. 
Anyway, back to being of one accord.  I think that you guys can handle it.  I pick up a lot of teaching while I’m scurrying about picking up morsels that your kids drop.  I do love the fact that you have so many kids.  I can eat until Wednesday unless somebody gets a wild hair to clean up early.

[Stops and stares across entire audience before speaking.]

One accord.  Think about it.  It’s not just for 9-11 anymore.  You people can have this wonderful thing all the time.  You people known as the church are truly blessed.

[Starts to walk off.]

And let me just add, I am blessed to be your church mouse.


The end.

Wanna Get Away

Wanna Get Away
Matthew 25:14-30

Cast:  Two people of either gender who are already friends and who know God and know their Bible.

Set:  Any.  Action proceeds in dialogue only.

Person 1 (P1) is on stage singing frantically as if very worried. Person 2 (P2) approaches. 

P1:  [Singing frantically.]  I’m leaving on a jet plane, don’t know when I’ll be back again.
P2:  Time for vacation again?  I thought you just took one.
P1:  No vacation.  I just need to get away.
P2:  Oh, you found one of those Wanna Get Away deals like they advertise on TV?
P1:  No I didn’t have time to look for a special.  I just need to get out of town.
P2:  Anything that I might need to know about.  Is your picture on display in the Post Office?
P1:  No.  It’s worse.
P2:  Really?  Sounds like you are on the lamb.
P1:  I am and I don’t like that metaphor.
P2:  OK.  I will try this again.  Are you on the run?
P1:  Yes.
P2:  From the law?
P1:  Worse.
P2:  You have my complete attention.  From what?
P1:  Not what, who.
P2:  The objective case is whom.
P1:  Don’t go Grammar Nazi on me now.  I’ve got to hit the road.
P2:  OK.  Tell me the who or the whom or the whomever.
P1:  God.
P2:  God?
P1:  Yes, God.  I’m running away from God.
P2:  Do you think it is going to work?
P1:  No, but what choice do I have?
P2:  Whatever you did, he will forgive you.  The blood of Jesus has all of your sins covered.
P1:  It’s not something that I did.  It’s something that he wants me to do.
P2:  What does he want you to do?
P1:  He wants me to invite the people across the street to worship this Sunday.
P2:  Wow!  God spoke to you.  Wow!
P1:  Not in words.  You know that Spirit that everyone says you have in you.
P2:  Yes, God’s own Spirit, the Holy Spirit.
P1:  That’s the one and he is telling me to talk to those people across the street.
P2:  And that’s why you are running away.
P1:  And I think he wants me to be a part of a fellowship team and help in the food pantry.
P2:  These are all things that you can do.  I know you, these things are right down your alley.
P1:  I know and that’s what scares me.  I might be good at them and then he might ask me to do more.
P2:  Well, Jonah, what are you going to do?
P1:  I’m not going by sea so I am not going to get swallowed by a fish. So don’t call me Jonah.
P2:  No, but you are running from God because he is telling you exactly what you need to do and you know it.
P1:  I know that I know it, but if I invite those people then they might come and want to be a part of God’s love and profess him as Lord and Savior.
P2:  And this is a bad thing because?
P1:  They might repent and believe the good news about Jesus.  They might get away with all of the bad stuff that they have done.
P2:  You are right.
P1:  That I should run away.
P2:  No, that I shouldn’t call you Jonah.  I think that I will call you Saint Jonah. 
P1:  I’m no saint.
P2:  Actually, you are, but not in the goody-two-shoes sense that I was using the term.
P1:  I know, I know, but it seems like these people would get off Scott free.
P2:  You mean like us?
P1:  Yes, like us.  [singing.]  Jesus paid it all, all to him I owe.
P2:  This is a good thing!  But what about being on a fellowship team and helping in the food pantry?
P1:  I am afraid that I will mess up and then God won’t like me.
P2:  There is unsound theology and there is downright terrible theology.
P1:  I know, I know.  I am burying my talent in the ground, right?
P2:  No.  You are burying your talents—plural—in the ground.  You have been trusted like the first servant and trying to live like the third servant.
P1:  It’s just hard to wrap my head around the fact that God loves me and trusts me.
P2:  Well, I am going to use a highly theological term for what you need to do.  Ready?
P1:  Sure.
P2:  Suck it up, Buttercup!
P1:  Buttercup, really?
P2:  Would you prefer Jonah?
P1:  No, and that Buttercup business is not in the Bible.
P2:  Remember, in the Parable of the Talents, the master called the third servant wicked and lazy?
P1:  Yes, but…
P2:  I thought that I would try suck it up Buttercup before you decided to act like the third servant and have to wear those labels.
P1:  Thanks, I think.
P2:  Do you remember what the master called the first two servants?
P1:  Good and faithful.  I remember.
P2:  Do you also remember that they put what their master had given them to work right away?
P1:  I remember.  I get your point.  I need to stop running away from God.  I need to take what he gave me and put it to work and I need to produce some good fruit for God’s kingdom.
P2:  Sounds like you know exactly what to do.
P1:  I do. I just want to do it because I want to bring glory to God and not because I’m afraid of ending up in a big fish or thrown out into the outer darkness.
P2:  That’s good motivation.  Hey, why don’t we both walk over and talk with your neighbor.
P1:  OK.  Let’s get this putting my gifts to work show on the road.
P2:  Better than hitting the road trying to run away from God, don’t you think.
P1:  Amen to that.

The end.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Lickety Split

Lickety Split

Psalm 90
2 Peter 3:8

Cast:  Two people, young women would be best.  The first character (P1) has a smart phone and is skilled at using it.

Set:  Any.  The action proceeds with dialogue and gesturing.

Scene begins with lights down and the first character (P1) talking on her phone as her friend approaches from stage right.

P1:  [Talking to phone.] Hold on just a second. [Puts phone on hold and waves to friend approaching.]  It’s good to see you.
P2:  [Coming center stage.]  It is good to see you too.
P1:  I have some stuff we need to talk about.  Give me just a minute. [Holds up hand to friend and returns to phone conversation.]  Hey I’ll call you back in a minute.  Cheers.
P2:  So what’s on you mind?
P1:  Well, it’s this whole God answers prayers business.  [Grabs phone again and holds up one finger to friend signaling she will just be 1 minute.  Talks into phone.]  Hey!  What’s cooking?  I’m a little busy right now.  Can I call you back? [Pause for unheard reply.]  Yes, right away.  I will call you back in a New York Minute. [Back to friend.]  Now where were we?
P2:  Something about God answering prayers?
P1:  Yeah, I’m not so sure about that.  I pray and I wait and wait and sometimes wait a little longer.
P2:  Sometimes we have to wait.
P1:  Yeah, but it’s like God just doesn’t want… [Looks at phone again and then back at friend.]  Hold that thought.  Oops, it’s my thought.  Give me a minute.  That’s what I should have said. 
P2:  Sure.  I’m right here.
P1: [To phone.]  Hey guy, I haven’t heard from you in a fortnight.  [Pause for unheard response.]  You’re right, it’s only been a couple of weeks.  Can you call me back?  No I’m not putting you off.  I’ll call you back in half a sec, how’s that?
P2:  I hope you have a lot of minutes on your phone.
P1:  Unlimited plan.  It took me about 10 seconds to know which plan was right for me.  Unnnnnnlimited!
P2:  That’s cool.  You were talking about God and prayer?
P1:  Yeah, what’s up with this prayer stuff.  It’s like he never gets back to me.
P2:  Really?
P1:   Yeah, it’s [Answers phone again.]  Hello? [Hangs up.]   Ooh that was different.
P2:  Who was that?
P1:  Don’t know.  It was nobody from my contacts that’s for sure.  Somebody named Eye-um.  Must be some Irish guy, but I don’t know any Irish guys.
P2:  I see.  So you don’t think that God answers your prayers?
P1:  I don’t know.  I don’t have time to wait and find out.  I need answers now.  This is the 21st Century you know.
P2:  I do know.  Let me tell you something about God’s time.
P1:  [Looking at phone.]  It’s that same caller, Eye-um.  I’m going to block him.
P2:  [Reaching to stop friend from doing anything else on the phone.]  Here’s something you need to know.  God’s time is not our time.
P1:  So what, he’s on Pacific time or Eastern Daylight Time or…   I know, he’s living on Tulsa Time, right?
P2:  Actually, God works outside the boundaries of what you and I know as time.  A day to him could be a thousand or six thousand years to us, well, according to the psalmist.
P1:  How am I supposed to know when it’s appropriate to contact him.
P2:  Oh, God is the original 24-7-365 entity.  He is always there.
P1:  But when will I get my answers.  I need answers.
P2:  You will get them in God’s time.
P1:  I want them in my time!
P2:  I hear you.  Waiting patiently upon the Lord is hard sometimes, but you will be blessed to wait.
P1:  That doesn’t seem right.  It’s like God’s putting me on hold.  I need answers when I need answers.
P2:  What was that you said a minute ago?  Oh yeah, I’ll get back with you in a second, or was it a minute, or was it half a second, or was it in a New York Minute?
P1:  Hey!  Don’t use my words against me!
P2:  I’m not using them against you, but hopefully I can use them to open your eyes.  And there was my favorite, Lickety Split.  Just how long is that, exactly?
P1:  I don’t know.  It’s something that my parents used to say and I just picked it up.
P2:  Do you think that the person that you told you would get back to in a second or half a sec or a New York Minute is waiting patiently for you to call them.
P1:  Sure, why wouldn’t they?  [Looks directly at audience with a look of enlightenment.]  Oh, oh my, oh I had better call them all right now, all at once.
P2:  Let’s finish our conversation first.  It will be fine.  The Bible says that God is not slow as we calibrate speed.  He will send Jesus back when the time is right.  He wants to give everyone a chance to turn away from the world and turn back to him.
P1:  He’s not in a hurry but he is not slow.  Is that what you are saying?
P2:  That’s exactly what I am saying.  I am also saying that he will answer your prayers in his time.  When you talk to the God of all creation—and by creation, I am including this thing we call time—we are always best to do things on his time.  On his time…
P1:  OK, I hear you.  I don’t want to hear you, but I get what you are saying.  You do know that patience does not come easy for me?
P2:  [Smiling.]  You don’t say?
P1:  I do say… Oh you are just teasing me again.  Which call should I return first.
P2:  How about that Irish guy?
P1:  What?  Are you crazy.  I don’t know him.
P2:  Spell out to me what the caller ID read.
P1:  Like I said Eye-um.  I space A M.  Like I said, Eye Am.
P2:  That seems like a call that you should have taken.  Sometimes we pray and then forget to listen for the answer.  Sometimes we just need to be still and let God do all of the talking.
P1:  But it’s like totally weird calling someone back that I don’t know.
P2:  Fair enough, but if he calls again, see what he has to say.
P1:  Will you be available if I need to talk?
P2:  Of course, you just call me and I will be here lickety split!

Lights down.

The end.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

First Pharisees

First Pharisees
Genesis 2-3
Matthew 23

Cast:  Two people, one of whom is a woman and the other can be male or female but dressed as a snake.  A stuffed animal snake with voice over would also suffice.  The snake could be maneuvered by fishing line on a pole.  The voice over character could be visible or hidden.  The snake must crawl on the ground.  His days of walking ended in the Garden of Eden.

Set:  Any set.  A full-length mirror or prop to represent a mirror is needed.  Eve will need one or two extra dresses.  Background could include vegetation, but not a paradise as in the Garden of Eden.  This scene takes place after the couple was kicked out of paradise.

Lights up.  Eve is centerstage, standing in front of a mirror trying on new dresses.  After a few seconds the serpent approaches.

Serpent:  Had any good apples lately?
Eve:  Hey, you bum!  Ever since I ate that apple, my husband has had to work for a living.
Serpent:  For food?
Eve:  Yes, and buying me clothes.
Serpent:  Doesn’t he need clothes too?
Eve:  He wears the same thing day after day after day after…  Hey, you no good, slimy, crafty, scaly thing that made me eat that apple…
Serpent:  Who decided to eat it?
Eve:  Don’t even go there.  You know that you wanted me to eat it.
Serpent:  What difference does that make?  It was always your decision. 
Eve:  Yeah, OK, I see how you roll.
Serpent:  Really now, if all of your friends decided to go jump off a cliff would you go with them?
Eve:  What are friends and what’s a cliff?
Serpent:  Point taken.  Besides, I’m not here to drag up the past.  I’m excited about the future.
Eve:  Really?  What mischief do you have in store for us this time?
Serpent:  It’s not my mischief, it’s yours.
Eve:  I didn’t even know what mischief was until you slithered in.
Serpent:  Actually the first time that we met I was walking.
Eve:  Yeah, I remember.  How’s that working out for you now?
Serpent:  Let’s not pick at each other.  I won’t bite at you and you won’t try to crush my head, just this time.  OK?
Eve:  OK, unless you try something slimy again.
Serpent:  OK, but I am a serpent, so I’ll have to make this short time of good behavior brief.
Eve:  So what about the future?
Serpent:  Centuries into the future, there will be these people who think themselves to be very important.  They will be called Pharisees.
Eve:  You call this breaking news?  I don’t have much of a concept of people so why should I care what they call themselves?
Serpent:  You know that sickness you had the last couple of mornings?
Eve:  Yes.  What about it?
Serpent:  You are soon going to understand the concept of people—as in more than the two of you—soon enough. 
Eve:  Whatever.
Serpent:  Back to the Pharisees.  I just wanted to congratulate you on being the father, err mother of the Pharisees.
Eve:  Snake, you are not making any sense; and the last time that I thought you were making sense, it cost me paradise.
Serpent:  Pharisees just add little things to what God says so as to make everything much clearer. 
Eve:  And your point?
Serpent:  The problem is that instead of making what God said better, they put burdens on the backs of men and women and then wouldn’t do anything to help them.
Eve:  OK, I’m not liking these people that are not even born yet.
Serpent:  Oh, you can’t dislike them.  You are one of them.
Eve:  Bite you forked little tongue!  I certainly am not!
Serpent:  What did God say about the fruit of the tree of good and evil?
Eve:  That we should not eat it or even touch it.
Serpent:  Are you sure?  You were still just a rib back then.
Eve:  And you were there?
Serpent:  Yes, I was nearby listening in like a fly on the wall.
Eve:  More like a snake in the grass.
Serpent:  Touché.  Like a snake in the grass, then.  In any case, all that God told Adam was not to eat of the tree.  He never put touching off limits.
Eve:  Yes, but touching leads to eating…
Serpent:  So you did add to what God said?
Eve:  I had to.  That man hardly says anything.  We needed some guidelines.  He put the nix on fencing off the tree and digging a moat around it.  Finally, he conceded one amendment to the divine directive and that’s how we got to we shouldn’t even touch it.
Serpent:  How did that work out for you? 
Eve [Very Angry]:  You had better slither away now before I crush your head.
Serpent:  Such a fine Pharisee.  I will pick up a couple Phylacteries for you and your husband at Slither Mart.  I can get 25% off if I buy it on the Sabbath.
Eve:  Snake!
Serpent:  Pharisee!
Eve:  Go!  Now!

Serpent departs stage right talking to himself and laughing.

Serpent:  Pharisee, Pharisee, Pharisee…

Eve looks around to make sure the serpent is actually gone, then looks stage left and calls out to Adam.

Eve:  Adam!  That no good snake called us Pharisees, and…

Eve rubs her belly.

Eve:  And I’ve got news!

Lights down.

The end.

Friday, May 12, 2017

The Prodigal Son's Older Brother

The Prodigal Son’s Older Brother
Luke 15:11-32

Introduction.  This skit focuses on the older son in this parable.  I can find no better drama for the story involving the youngest son than that one titled The Prodigal by the Skit Guys.  The two done back-to-back make for a powerful message.

Cast:  One young man dressed in overalls.  A little makeup for dirt and messed up hair could help.  He should look like a man who has put in a long day’s work.  A handkerchief to occasionally wipe his forehead during the skit might add to the “working” factor.

Set:  Any.  The ability to have some music and party sounds in the background adds to the setting.

[Stage begins with low lighting.  Party music and voices are loud in the background.  Centerstage, the single character walks back and forth kicking at the ground in frustration for 10-15 seconds, then the music comes down and the lights go up.]

You’ve got to be kidding me.  Unbelievable!  After all of these years of faithful service, he throws my no good, want my money now so I can spend it on prostitutes and wild living, little brother a party.
The fattest cow on the lot is on the spit.  The wine is flowing.  I can’t believe how loud the music is.  Everyone is laughing and shouting.  It’s insane.
I even heard that Dad was so glad to see him that he ran to him and gave him a hug, and then new clothes and a ring and this incredible party.  It is incredible because the little, no good…  I had better stop there.
I am so ticked off right now.  I am so…
And then, when Dad finds out that I won’t go into the party, and he comes out to find me.  I gave him a piece of my mind.
I mean, really, I worked all these years like a slave for him.  I didn’t even ask him to give me a scrawny goat so I could have a scrawny goat party with my friends.  And now this!
Does he not remember that his youngest son—I don’t even want to call him my brother right now— his youngest son took his inheritance and squandered it?  Even to ask for it was to wish Dad was already out of the picture.  That’s unforgiveable. 

[Stares off into space for a few moments]

But sure enough, he forgave him, despite everything he had done.  How could my father love him so much and treat me like a slave?

[Falls to knees and starts crying]

How can things be so upside down?  Dad has always done what is right?  Is he losing it?

[Holds head in his hands quietly for a few moments and then stands]

No, he is not losing it.  He is right on target as usual.  Dad told me that whatever he had has always been mine.  It’s always been mine.
He has always loved me.  He never stopped.  It was me who decided to work like a slave for him because I wanted to earn his love, but I already had his love.  I already had his love.
I couldn’t do anything to earn it, and, and, and my knuckleheaded brother couldn’t do anything to lose it.
OMG!  It’s not about the estate or the money or the stuff or the work or any of that.  Dad loves both of us because he is Dad.
Of course he had to welcome back my little brother—stupid, wasteful, lived it up while I was working my bottom off brother.  He was dead and now he is alive.  He was lost and now he is found.
How could Dad do anything but celebrate?  How could I miss that?  It’s not about me or that knuckleheaded brother.  It’s about Dad’s love.  It’s all about my father’s love.  How could Dad do anything other than hold a celebration?
Me, on the other hand, understand what Dad did, but it’s going to be tougher for me to celebrate like that right now.
I hope that one day I can love whatever children are in my future like Dad loves us, but for now I just need to work up the nerve to go into that party and give my brother a hug and not put him in a headlock.
The odds are against it.  My blood is still boiling, but I want to be like my Dad.  I want to love my children unconditionally.  I guess that I had better start by practicing on that no good, prostitute loving….err, I mean on my little brother.

[Looks directly at audience.]

This is not going to be easy.  You had better start praying for me now.

[Walks off shaking head left to right, still a little in disbelief.]

The end.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

The 411 on the 316

The 411 on the 316
John 3:16
Psalm 90:12

Cast:  Two men of any age.  One could be young and up on all the current lingo and the other older if desired, but two of the same age will work as well.  Younger cast members may need to listen to the theme song to Hawaii Five-0.

Set:  Any.  Action moves with dialogue and gesturing.

Lights come up with both men center stage.

P1:  Saw you downtown yesterday.
P2:  Yep.  Was trying to get the 411 on what that big crowd was about.
P1:  What?
P2:  The 411.  C’mon, I was trying to the information about what was happening.
P1:  And?
P2:  It started with the 911.
P1:  What?
P2:  C’mon now.  Somebody called in an emergency.
P1:  Yeah, OK, I know that one.  And?
P2:  The next thing you know the “Five Oh” is on the scene.
P1:  The who?  What?
P2:  The PoPo.  You know the police.  Hawaii Five O.  Da Da Da Da Da Da, Da Da Da Da Da..
P1:  Yeah, sure.  Book ‘em Danno.
P2:  I’m telling you the 511 was heating up after that.
P1:  I don’t have clue.
P2:  You know, the place that covers weather and travel advisories.
P1:  I might want to remember that one.
P2:  What have you done up until now?
P1:  Looked out my window and if I saw a tornado, I drove the other way.
P2:  That could work, but you’ve got to learn your numbers.
P1:  I know some numbers.
P2:  Hit me.
P1.  One is the loneliest number.
P2:  What?
P1:  That one is a double whammy because it is by Three Dog Night.  That’s a one, and a two, and a three…
P2:  Really?  Your numbers are out of date.
P1:  This one is not out of date.
P2:  Let’s have it.
P1:  Lord, teach us to number our days.
P2:  What?
P1:  I want to number my days.
P2:  They already have numbers, like July 4th or Cinco de Mayo or Valentine’s Day or…
P1:  I don’t think that Valentine’s Day is actually a number.
P2:  Yeah but it‘s always on the 15th of February.
P1:  It’s the 14th, but that explains why you can’t keep a girlfriend.
P2:  If you want to get your flowers and candy at 75% off, you go with the 15th.
P1:  Goes to my point of you not being able to keep a girlfriend.
P2:  Maybe I’m just playing the field.
P1:  I think you are mostly riding the bench, but back to numbering our days.  By number, the psalmist means to value as a scarce commodity.
P2:  Like counting gold bars.
P1:  Pretty close.
P2:  OK, I’m liking your numbers.
P1:  Really.
P2:  Yeah.  I’m not all shallow and just care about being the coolest person around.  I’m still looking for ways to improve my game.
P1:  Ok, but I don’t want to hit you with this right away.  I don’t know if you’ve got game enough for it.
P2:  I don’t have game?  Really?  Hit me with your best shot!
P1:  OK, here comes the 411 on the 316.
P2:  What?
P1:  Here is what you need to know about God’s love.
P2:  I thought we were doing numbers.
P1:  Hang with me.
P2:  OK, I’m in.
P1:  God loved everything he had made so much that even though everyone and everything seemed to be rebelling against him, he took away everything that was wrong with us and the creation by making an unbelievable sacrifice for us.
P2:  What?
P1:  God loved us when we didn’t love him.  He still loves us.  His heart desires to love us forever.
P2:  For the rest of my life?
P1:  And then some.
P2:  That’s some heavy stuff.  How much does it cost.
P1:  More than you can afford.
P2:  Bummer.  I knew there was a catch.
P1:  No catch.  God paid the price for you.  When you accept this incredible gift that he has for you, it is like you never did anything wrong at all, ever.
P2:  That’s a big slate to wipe clean.
P1:  He did it and he did it because he loves you and me more than we can imagine.
P2:  Now, that’s some 411, but I don’t get the 316 part.
P1:  That’s the Bible verse.  John 3:16.
P2:  I’ve seen that on signs at Football games and wondered about it.
P1:  Now you have the 411.
P2:  With news that good, we should put it on the 911.
P1:  You’re right, but first I want to talk to you about the ONE and only Son of God.
P2:  I’m in.
Both begin to walk off the stage.
P1:  Learn the verse and we will talk for as long as you want.  For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son that whoever would believe in him shall not perish but have everlasting life.

The end.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Confronting Jesus

Confronting Jesus

These three short dramas, Paying Taxes, One Bride for Seven Brothers, and The Greatest Commandment are designed to be done back-to-back in a single service or in consecutive services.  They come from Matthew 22:15-46.

While this pericope is about 3 encounters of the religious leaders with Jesus; the drama proceeds without a Jesus character.  All interaction is among the Pharisees or Sadducees as they wrestle with their inability to best the Messiah, or even recognize the one that they hope to discredit.

All 3 dramas do involve some costuming and perhaps a little music for effect.

The Greatest Commandent

The Greatest Commandment
Matthew 22:34-46

Cast:  4 men dressed as Pharisees.  They could be in robes or bright clothing but all must have some sort of small box strapped to their forehead.  If this is done in a series with Paying Taxes, these could be the same 4 Pharisees.

There is one additional character named Bigbox.  This Pharisee has a much larger phylactery (comically so) than the other Pharisees.  He is the expert in the law.

Set:  Any.  Dialogue and gesturing move the action.

Scene begins with 4 Pharisees stage center pantomiming discussion as the drama begins.  If lighting changes are available, lights go up as actual conversation begins.

P1:  What are we going to do now?
P2:  At least he silenced the Sadducees.  As much as I would like to discredit this Jesus, I don’t know if I could live with the Sadducees getting the credit for it.
P3:  Well they didn’t, did they?
P4:  That’s why they are Sad You See.
P1:  That’s getting old, especially since we are not having any better luck.
P2:  So what do we do?
Bigbox enters from stage right/left to music (Theme from Rocky or Bad to the Bone).  He is strolling confidently surveying all that is around him.  He is very much the man.  He walks towards the 4 Pharisees and the music fades.
 P1:  Are you thinking what I am thinking?
P2:  I think I am.
P3:  Me too.
P4:  Well, I will go ahead and say it.  We will send Bigbox to get him.  Nobody can stand up to him.
Bigbox arrives at the group and pantomime resumes with many hand and arm gestures.  Finally Bigbox turns around and exits the stage with the 4 Pharisees in trace celebrating what they are sure will be a great victory to come.
Lights go down or some other cue to the audience that a fair amount of time has passed.  Bigbox and the 4 Pharisees come dragging back in.  Bigbox has his phylactery hanging cockeyed to one side, his hair is a mess, and he is shaking his head slowly from left to right.  This is a defeated man.
The 4 other Pharisees are consoling him in pantomime and patting him on the back until all arrive center stage and the lights go up.
Bigbox:  What just happened?
P1:  You were there.
P2:  We all were there.
P3:  And you asked him the question.
P4:  Yeah, which is the greatest commandment in the law?
Bigbox:  But it seems like in an instant I was not the one in control.
P1:  He said love the Lord with all of your heart,
P2:  And soul,
P3: And mind.
P4:  And then without missing a beat.
Bigbox:  I didn’t even get to say anything else.
P1:  Jesus said and the second is like it.
P2:  Love your neighbor as yourself.
P3:  And then it was another seamless transition.
P4:  All the law and prophets hang on these two commandments.
Bigbox:  Bam!  Homerun!  Game over!
P1:  What’s a homerun?
P2:  Must be what knocked his phylactery out of whack.
P3:  It just all flowed in rhythm. 
P4:  Like he really knew his stuff.
Bigbox:  He had us.  We were whipped, but then it looked like we might have a chance to redeem ourselves.  He asked whose son is the Christ?
P1, P2, P3, & P4 together:  David’s son!
Bigbox:  That is the correct answer.  We know it is the correct answer.  But then he said…
P1:  How is it that David speaking by the Spirit calls him Lord?
P2:  Right out of the Psalms he says…
P3:  The Lord said to my Lord:  Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet.
P4:  How did we miss that?  We study all the time.  We know what God’s word says.  How did we miss that?
Bigbox sits on the ground and puts his head in his hands while the other Pharisees keep talking.
P1:  What are we going to do?
P2:  He was still talking about us when we left.  He said that the people had to do what we said but that we were terrible examples.
P3:  And should not do what we do.
P4:  I heard him saying that whoever exalts himself will be humbled.
P1:  I have been humbled, that’s for sure.
P2:  I heard him say right before we were out of earshot that everything we do is just for people to see.
P3:  He’s sort of got a point.
P4:  Hey!  Quit siding with him.  We will take him in the rematch.
Bigbox [still sitting]:  There isn’t going to be a rematch.
P1, P2, P3, & P4 together:  What?
Bigbox [standing]:  There isn’t going to be a rematch.  We have more than met our match.
P1, P2, P3, & P4 together:  What?
Bigbox:  There isn’t going to be a rematch.  We can’t beat him that way.
P1, P2, P3, & P4 together:  So what then?
Bigbox:  Nothing that we can do in broad daylight that’s for sure.
Lights go down and all 5 exit together in pantomime of further discussion.

The end.