By Rich Gerber and Peggy Barnell
A modern-day family on a visit to Israel trace the events of the Gospels from the Nativity to Easter.
Mike - modern day father
Beth - modern day mom
Leah - teenage daugh ter with a bad attitude
Luke - young son, age 5-8
Jesus - Lord of Lords, King of Kings!
Gabriel - the arhcangel
Mary, mother of Jesus
Multiple people and children needed for crowds, choir songs, funeral scene, triumphal entry, etc
We normally make use of every available platform space for Easter. Stage right is the tomb, though it is very well camouflaged as rock/mountain. Stage left is the temple area, where we set up a market place in front. We use the loft as a sort of mountain where Jesus is tempted in the desert, and where several other scenes take place. Our set designer uses starched, spray painted sheets to make the walls look like mountain side and they are quite realistic in appearance. A good bit of greenery, artificial or live adds to the set. There are several 'rocks' that people sit on or around on the platform, these too being stools or bases covered in starched and painted sheets. For this particular play the second level (loft) adds a great deal over all because we blend the modern day with the biblical. The modern family is on the mountain during several scenes and can seem to visualize the story as it takes place down below. The effect is a bit more dramatic to keep the modern family separate from the biblical scenes until the latter part, when the family walks into the actual crucifixion scene and moves among the biblical characters. We then used the same mountain for the final rapture scene. During the big choral finale (in which the song describes Jesus' return for the rapture) Jesus appears with the angels on the mountain at the appropriate time in the song. It's a really powerful scene with special lighting to enhance the song and the action.
(Dad and mom enter with kids following. Dad has a guidebook that he is trying to interpret.)
Luke: Daddy, are we lost?
Leah: Ha! You're probably right, Luke, we probably are lost!
Beth: No, honey, of course we're not lost. I'm sure Dad knows exactly where we are, Michael? Don't you, Michael?
Mike: (turning map upside down) Well, let's see, if this is North and if the sun sets in the West in Israel...
Beth: The sun does set in the West in Israel, doesn't it, dear?
Leah: Oh, great! I knew it! Why did we have to come on this stupid trip, anyway? I hate it here already.
Mike: Oh come on, Leah, this trip is gonna be fun for all of us - you'll see. (tries to put his arm around Leah's shoulder)
Leah: (pulls away and walks away a few steps, shrieks loudly, runs back to dad frustrated) Daddy! Daddy! Help, help!! It's a big, slimy, hairy crawdad or something!
Luke: (running to the creature) Where! Let me see! Let me see it!
Mike: Relax and stand back - it's not hairy or slimey - it's not even big! It's just a little scorpion.
Beth: A scorpion?? Mike - they're deadly!
Mike: It's okay, honey, come on, everybody stand back. If we just give it a little room, it's not going to bother us.
Beth: Oh, Michael, a scorpion!
Luke: This is so cool!
Mike: Luke, you stay right here with me. Now, I think I've got this straight. From where we are standing and according to this map, right over there about half a mile is Bethlehem.
Beth: The birth place of Jesus (in awe).
Luke: Over there! Right over there! Just like in the Bible story? Like you read to me, Mommy?
Beth: It's not just a story, Luke, though yes, it's what I read to you from the Bible. It really happened. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was born in a manger and it was really in Bethlehem - right over there!
Mike: Yes, Luke, for all we know we could be standing in the very spot where the shepherds stood 2000 years ago, when the angels appeared in the sky to tell them about the birth of the Christ child.
Leah: Angels! Yes! Finally we can talk about something interesting! Let's hear about the angels.
Luke: Leah! The angels just came so they could let everybody know about Jesus.
Mike: That's right, Luke. Angels are simply God's messengers.
Leah: Dad! You know how much I like angels, and they are in the Bible. How can you say they're only messengers?
Beth: Well, Leah, you're right - angels are in the Bible, but Dad is right, too - they are heavenly messengers. Remember the story of Mary when the angel Gabriel appeared to her to tell her that she was going to have a baby? Gabriel brought her the wonderful news that she had been chosen by God to be the mother of Jesus. I imagine Mary wasn't very much older than you are right now when she received that heavenly visit.
Leah: I wish an angel would visit me...
Beth: Okay, Leah, close your eyes and just imagine now what it was like for Mary: Young, engaged to be married, maybe a little apprehensive about what the future would bring...
(Mary is working with some flowers/greenery. She hums and stops to admire her work.)
Mary: What wonderful detail you give, God, even to the tiny petals of a flower.
(angel music begins, Mary realizes something is different)
Gabriel: (enters above and behind Mary)Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.
Mary: What? Who are you? What is this?
Gabriel: Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name, Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David, and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever; His kingdom will never end.
Mary: How will this be, since I am a virgin?
Gabriel: The Holy Spirit will come upon You, and the power of the most High will overshadow you. So the Holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even your Aunt Elizabeth, is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God.
Mary: I am the Lord's servant. May it be as you have said.
Song: Breath of Heaven (as performed by Amy Grant)
Leah: (caught up for a moment in the vision she has seen) It's been a long time since I've heard all that...
Beth: It amazes me that Mary was so quick to accept the angel's message from the Lord. I wonder if she even stopped to consider what her family would think, or what her fiancee, Joseph, would think about the news that she was pregnant...
Luke: But it was the baby Jesus!
Mike: Who would have even thought that God would choose to use a humble, Jewish girl and a carpenter to parent the Savior of the world? God's ways are not our ways.
Leah: (the moment of awe has now passed for Leah) Are we gonna stand in this hot sun all day? Let's get moving (starts to walk away, but her mood changes again). Hey, Dad, can we go down to that mall place we saw earlier?
Mike: Oh, you mean the little market we saw in the village?
Leah: Yeah! Maybe they'll have some angel stuff for sale there - I can add to my collection.
Mike: Wait a minute, Leah, are you sure you want to leave so soon? Just a little bit ago you were excited about being in the very spot where the angels made the announcement of the birth to the shepherds.
Luke: Maybe I should take a stone as a souvenir.
Beth: That's a good idea, Luke.
Luke: It would have been neat to be a shepherd. They got to play with all the baby sheep.
Mike: Being a shepherd was hard work. It was a 24 hour a day job, and you had to always be on your toes. Let's see, Luke, over there is lots of brush and rocks, and over on the other side is a steep hill. If we were shepherds, I believe this would be an ideal place to tend the sheep.
Leah: But a big bad wolf could hide in that brush and sneak up on the poor, unsuspecting sheep! (she grabs Luke from behind and picks him up).
Luke: (in mock fear) Help! Help! Put me down, Leah! Daddy, what do the angels look like? The ones that the shepherds saw, I mean.
Leah: Oh, I bet they were beautiful - flowing white gowns and faces that lit up the sky.
Beth: (pulling out a new testament from her bag) Well, let's just see how the Bible describes it. Luke chapter 2 says, And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them..
(blackout)(To be continued)
© Rich Gerber and Peggy Barnell, all rights reserved
THIS IS NOT THE FULL SCRIPT. To obtain a copy of the full script, a royalty payment is required. This may be discussed with the author, who can be contacted through her website, www.peggybarnell.com