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Summary: A rap based on the parable told by Jesus of the Pharisee and the tax collector.
Style: Dramatic.   Duration:  5min.
Scripture: Luke 18: 9-14
Actors: 2M, 1M/F

Characters
Narrator, Pharisee, tax collector

Script

(Narrator is at the pulpit. The Pharisee and tax collector enter, take both sides of center stage, heads bowed. The Pharisee's hands are at his side, palms facing forward. The tax collector's hands are crossed behind his back.)

Narrator:    Once upon a time there were two men. A Pharisee and a tax collector. They both went one day to the temple to pray. Little did they know that they were walking smack! right into a parable.
Now a parable is a dangerous thing to get caught in. Parables are sticky things. They get all over you. Just when you think you are out of one, something else sticks to you. Parables get you caught because they seem so straightforward, but there is always a twist, a riddle, a new insight.
The good thing about parables is that they make us think about who we are and about who God wants us to be. The hard thing about them is that we don't always like what we see, or what we are to do, and they usually have a surprise ending. You'll see what I mean...

Pharisee:
I'm a righteous man, that's how I live my life.
I'm adored by my kids and I'm good to my wife.

To the temple I come, every day to pray.
It's not that hard. It's just the way.

I'm a Pharisee, and I'm proud of that.
I follow the law, the begets and begats.

There are lots of laws, of that there's no doubt.
But stray too far, and you'd better watch out.

It's my job, you see, to supervise the crowd.
The Romans don't like it when they get too loud.

I don't work for the Empire, don't get me wrong.
It's just that without them, we wouldn't sing our song.

It's this deal, you see, that we struck with Rome.
"You pay your taxes and we'll leave you alone."

We like our freedom to worship - in this place.
Without that our faith would be a big disgrace.

It's a deal that works, and we're proud of it.
God gets our tithes, and Caesar gets his bit.

But there are times, I must admit,
When the laws aren't followed, and I have to sit.

And think for a while, as to what to do
To get the people to pay their due.

You see God has given these laws to follow.
Six hundred and thirteen. That's a lot to swallow.

Thou shalt not and thou shalt do,
It's one messy theological stew.

I should have been a lawyer, it would have paid more,
But that paper work, it's such a bore.

So it's the Godly law that I administrate.
I'm good at it. Never made a mistake.

Now my problem is that the people forget.
We tell them and tell them, but they get all wet.

They wander away from God the Creator.
They'd rather get a ticket and go to the theatre.

They neglect the temple and the worship of God.
Is it any wonder that their behaviour is odd?

They sin and cheat, rob and pillage.
There's no respect for God in any village.

Now the worst of the lot are the taxing guys.
You can spot them a mile, with this look in their eyes.

The Romans don't care as long as they plunder
their taxes from folks as they're going under.

They line their pockets with ill gotten gain.
The Romans don't care. They're on the gravy train.

(turns to notice the tax collector)

Why there's one now, just look at his sin.
He may seem sad, but he's wearing a grin.

There is nothing kind to say about him.
I should just leave and let him wallow in sin.

But before I go, there's something else to say.
I'm in the temple. So I'd better pray.

(closing his eyes, bowing his head)

Thank you, God, for making me so good.
Not like this guy, the deceiving hood.

As for this fellow in the tailored suit.
Don't fall for his line. He's in cahoots

He's got no respect for your righteousness.
His bills are paid, but his life's a mess.

Thank you, God, for my modesty.
It's a marvelous thing. Fits me to a 'T'.

Remember how often I say my prayers.
It's not like me to put on airs.

I'll be seeing you, God, be sure to yelp.
Just call on me, if you need some help.


Tax Collector (head still bowed):
God, be merciful to me, a sinner.

….......................................................

(C) Jim Hatherly.
This play is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share-Alike license. Some rights are reserved. For the full license visit visit  http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/ca/. A donation of equivalent to $10.00 Cdn. to the United Church of Canada Mission and Service Fund for use of this work is suggested. Please visit www.united-church.ca/msfund

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