Summary: After her visit from Gabriel, Mary goes to visit her cousin Elizabeth, and they share what has happened.
Style: Dramatic.     Duration: 10min
Actors: 2F   
Scripture: Luke 1: 39-45 (46-55)
Mary and Elizabeth


Scene: Elizabeth is sitting in her living room, and is pouring herself a cup of tea.

Mary arrives at the door, looks in tentatively, Elizabeth beckons her in.

Elizabeth: Do you want some tea, Mary? I just made a pot. You look like you could use some.

Mary: Yes. I really do need something. Thank you. (pauses to sip her tea) You really are so kind, Elizabeth, to take me in and let me talk. I honestly don't know who else to talk with. But I know you won't judge me harshly.

Elizabeth: Mary, I'm too old to judge anyone harshly. Besides, after having to live in seclusion for these past five months, I've had all the social criticism I can take.

Mary: That's what I mean, Elizabeth. I think you can understand. You've been there. You've been where I am now. Gosh, there are just so many questions. Those months in seclusion, while your child has been growing inside you. I want to know what it was like. I want to know what happened to Zechariah. I want to know what happened to you, too ... about the child you are expecting. O my dear wise cousin, I want to know so much. I don't know how to begin.

Elizabeth: Try from the start, my dear. You look so agitated. Tell me what is going on.

Mary: Where to start? So much has happened in these past few days. Alright, from the start. A couple of days ago, I got, how can I put it?, visited.

Elizabeth: Visited?

Mary: Yes. By an angel. His name, he said, was Gabriel.

Elizabeth: Hold on, Mary. Did you say Gabriel?

Mary: Yes. Do you know him? If you can actually know an angel, that is.

Elizabeth: I don't. But Zechariah does. Or did. Before he was made dumb by our dear winged friend. Did he have wings, Mary?

Mary: No. Sorry. No wings. Just a presence.

Elizabeth: It has to be the same one. Your friend Gabriel came to Zechariah while he was getting ready to go on duty in the temple. There he was, standing beside the altar. They talked for a while, and Gabriel told Zechariah that he and I were going to have a baby.

Mary: That same as a surprise to a lot of us, Elizabeth. I don't want to sound disrespectful, but you are not young any more.

Elizabeth: How kind of you to notice. Yes, Zech and I had long given up on having children of our own. But that's the thing. It was Gabriel who told us that we were going to have a baby. A messenger from God.

Mary: Like Abraham and Sarah.

Elizabeth: Mary, we're old, but not that old! Anyway, the angel said we were to name him John, and that he would grow to be great in the sight of the Lord. He said that John would turn many of our people to God, that they would straighten out their ways. All because of our son.

Mary: That's wonderful, isn't it? But what about Zechariah? What happened to him? And why have you been shut up here for all these months?

Elizabeth: That's the not-so-wonderful part, Mary. It seems Zechariah didn't believe Gabriel right off. And then Gabriel got mad and made him mute. Just like that. We were so disgraced in the eyes of the community that I went into seclusion. And Zechariah still can't talk.

Mary: Temperamental fellow, isn't he? That Gabriel. I'm sure glad I didn't get him upset. Any idea when Zechariah will talk again?

Elizabeth: None at all.

Mary: This is all very strange, Elizabeth. But I guess God doesn't exactly work like we do.

Elizabeth: You can say that again!

Mary: I mean, why on earth send angels?

Elizabeth: I guess it's to help cushion the blow. To comfort people when they need reassurance. Although in Zechariah's case we could have done without the comfort. But they also come when there is something very important to pass on. So it won't be misunderstood.

Mary: What is it they say? "Beware of Gabriels bearing gifts?"

Elizabeth: I think it was Greeks, Mary. But I take your point. It is a strange bit of news he has brought me. But what about you? I never let you finish your 'visitation story.'

Mary: It was sort of like yours. Gabriel told me I was to bear a child, too.

Elizabeth: Really? At your age? And you're not even married! I'm sorry. You came here for support and I'm sounding like a gossip monger.

Mary: It's alright. I felt the same way when I heard. But as you said, angels sometimes come when there is something important to be done. And that's the news. Listen to what he told me. "Greetings, favored one. The Lord is with you. You will bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever." He said Jesus would be called the son of God. And then he also told me about you. He told me what had happened to you, too.

Elizabeth: O my goodness. This is amazing.

Mary: Do you understand what this means, Elizabeth? Please, I need some help here.

Elizabeth: O I wish Zechariah could talk. He would know the scriptures better than me. But here's what I do know. It all fits. Yes, it fits. And it puts you and me together for more than a cup of tea, my dear. This is really big, Mary.

Mary: You're making me nervous, Elizabeth. What's big? What do you mean you and me together? What scriptures? What's going on?

Elizabeth: Mary, you are going to give birth to (loud whisper) Messiah! (stops, holds her womb) O my. O my. Mary, he just jumped. He really jumped! It was like he heard the word, and he stirred inside me.

Mary: Are you OK?

Elizabeth: I'm fine. Just wonderful, actually. This news. It's absolutely wonderful. Praise be to God. Mary, you really have found favor with God! All those things Gabriel told you. They are signs from God. If I'm not mistaken, John and Jesus are going to have a lot to do with each other.

Mary: What do you mean? Play together as children? I hope so. They'll be close in age. Second cousins. We can all spend time together. It'll be fun.

Elizabeth: No, Mary. More than that. It means John is to be the one to announce the coming of the Messiah. To prepare things. Talk it up with the people, you know, get them ready.

Mary: For Jesus? How do you know these things?

Elizabeth: My husband is a priest, Mary. I've spent my life in the synagogue. I've listened to more sermons than you can count. The men come over here so many nights, and they pore over the scriptures. I've heard those prophets so many times it's almost like they live in my house. Mary, I'm an old woman. But I'm no fool. Take it from me, if you can't figure it out from Gabriel.

Mary: But what does it all mean? Where will it all take us? What will my life be like? What will happen to our children? I'm sorry. I know you can't answer all those questions.

Elizabeth: No, I can't. But you're right in asking them. I suggest you ask God. But Mary, tell me how you are doing. I've had a few months to get used to this. A lifetime, really. Is this scary for you, Mary. I mean you're so young. How old are you?

Mary: Fifteen. But no, I am not really scared. Nervous. Apprehensive. I don't know what to say to Joseph yet. I don't know how to tell my parents. But I just feel it will be alright. You know what I mean?

Elizabeth: Yes. I certainly do. Really. I do understand. I know Joseph. He'll be confused at first. He should be. But he will come around. He won't abandon you. It will be tough going for you two. People like to talk. They love a good scandal. Especially if you tell them that this was all God's doing. Frankly, they can be unmerciful. I have been living with the same thing for all these months. It's almost like you are shunned. But it goes away after a while. They'll always find something more interesting to gossip about next week. It will pass, Mary. God will see you through. And so will I. As for your parents, I can talk with them. I'm kind of the resident expert on these matters. Would you like some more tea?

Mary: Yes, I will. (They sip tea in silence.) Elizabeth. Thank you. It's funny. I feel closer to you than ever before. It's almost like we're joined. Connected. With something much bigger than both of us. I don't know why God chose us, but that's what happened. I don't know what our future is, or that of our children. I only know that we have been blessed, and called. I'd like to talk some more. A lot more.

Elizabeth: That sounds good to me, Mary. Why don't you stay a while? I'll tell your parents where you are.

{The drama could end with the singing of a musical version of the Magnificat (Luke 1: 46-55)}


 Written by Jim Hatherly

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