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Lent 1 Readers Theater

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					                               SCRIPTURE RESOURCES

Lent 1

1:       I bring my basket—full of the first fruit from the ground.

2:       I bring my basket—empty now for 40 days.

1:       I want to tell the story, to celebrate God‘s goodness. I want to remember the
         terrifying display of God‘s power—the signs and wonders, the land of milk and
         honey.

2:        My mind is fuzzy—lack of food clouds my memory. My story is short, my words
         clipped, my audience relentless.

1:       Hear my story: wandering Arameans were my ancestors. They went down to
         Egypt and lived there as aliens, few in number, and there became a great nation,
         mighty and populous.

2:       Hear my story: the Spirit filled me, flooded me, washed over me, led me into the
         wilderness. For 40 days I was tempted by the devil and ate nothing at all.

1:       The Egyptians treated us harshly and afflicted us. They crushed us with hard
         labor. We cried out to God.

2:       ―Make this stone into bread,‖ said my Tempter. He knew I wanted bread—ached
         for it. Yet the words that formed on my lips were these: ―I do not live by bread
         alone.‖

1:       We cried out to the Lord, the God of our ancestors. And the Lord heard us! The
         Lord saw us. The Lord brought us out.

2:        ―Glory! Authority!‖ Empty promises, all. Tempter wanted my worship, the
         bowing of my knee, the offering of my allegiance. The words of Scripture echoed
         in my mind: ―I worship God. I will only serve Him.‖

1:       The Lord brought us out of Egypt and brought us to a place flowing with milk and
         honey—the very land that I now work and plant.

2:       A trip to Jerusalem, to the pinnacle of the temple. ―Throw yourself down,‖
         Tempter said, ―for God’s angels will protect you, won’t they?‖ ―Do not put the
         Lord your God to the test.‖ No sooner had I spoken than he left me.

1        So now I bring this basket—full of the fruit of the ground. Empty it, that God‘s
         work may be done on the earth.




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2:   So now I bring this basket – empty for 40 days. Fill it, that God’s work may be
     done on the earth.




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Lent 2

(Consider darkening the sanctuary during the first section. Add more and more light with
each reader during the second section.)


1:        Abram knew the darkness. Carcasses, birds of prey, childlessness, smoking fire
          pots and flaming torches.

2:        David knew the darkness. Evildoers seeking to devour his flesh. Armies
          encamped around him. False witnesses slandering his name.

3:         Jesus knew the darkness. Rulers seeking his death. Knowledge of what was
          coming. An unwilling brood refusing the safety of his wingspan.

4:        We know the darkness. Worshipping our bellies, we revel in what is shameful;
          we think only of ourselves.

1 -4:     And this darkness is deep and terrifying.

(Pause)

1:        But God covenanted with Abram: ―Your descendants shall be like the stars in the
          sky, and I shall give you this great land, from the river of Egypt to the river
          Euphrates.‖

2:        And God sheltered David: ―I will conceal you under the cover of my tent and
          hide you in the day of trouble.‖

3:        And God loved Jesus. ―This is my beloved son. With him I am well pleased.‖

4:        And God transforms us: ―Leave your shame. I will empower you to become more
          like me—glorious!‖




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Lent 3

7-8 individuals begin at the back of the sanctuary. Each person holds a glass or clear
bottle that has a bold label on it, naming something that does not ultimately satisfy.
Possible labels include:
        lust            gossip         food          money
        prestige        pornography power            promotions
        pride           gambling       adultery      alcohol

One person (Christ figure) is positioned at the front of the church by the altar. He/she
should hold a large glass pitcher filled with water. Have enough empty glasses to give
each player a drink of water. Depending on how many people you use, have an
additional bowl or pitcher of water available.

TO BEGIN:
Person #1 walks toward front of sanctuary, pretending to drink from the empty glass or
bottle. He/she says the word on his/her label loudly/ intermittently. ―Lust. . . . Lust. . . .
Lust. . . . Lust. . . .‖

Person #2 begins soon after #1. They will both say their words loudly and intermittently.

Continue in this fashion till all the people are saying their words. It should create a
cacophony. Each person will wander throughout the sanctuary while saying the lines.
Once all of the people are saying their words, allow the sound to lessen a bit (but
continue speaking).

The Christ figure will then begin to say slowly and gently:
―Everyone who is thirsty, come. Leave behind all that does not satisfy and drink the
water of Life. Come and drink so that you can truly live.‖

Whoever is closest to Christ at that point should slowly recognize that he/she is speaking.
Turn and come to Jesus. Jesus will then pour water into a clean glass and trade the clean
glass for their empty bottle. Person drinks, then leaves the sanctuary with joy-filled face,
no longer naming or holding their sin.

Each person will come to Jesus, take a drink of water, and leave the sin behind until only
Jesus remains at the altar.

Christ figure can then step forward toward the congregation and repeat the lines one
more time, holding out a glass of water toward the congregation.
―Everyone who is thirsty, come. Leave behind all that does not satisfy and drink the
water of Life. Come and drink so that you can truly live.‖

Depending on the desired impact, there are any number of variations that might be
fitting:




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   Have all the people let go of their sin and receive the water
   Have most people let go of their sin, but have some people who resist and walk
    away.
   Some people could be angry/ resistant at first, holding tightly to their sin. They
    could then come back later and let go of it.
   One person might let go of their sin at first, but sneak back up later to take it
    back. Note that any time a person is holding a glass with their sin named, they
    should also be speaking the name of that sin loudly.
   As people leave the sanctuary without their sin, they could all say one word
    repeatedly (e.g. ―Life‖)
   This could be used after a sermon to invite people to come forward for prayer.




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Lent 4

Younger son: I watch. I hold my tongue and I watch. I watch as my brother wastes his
             life as a slave for our father. I won‘t stand for it. I will find a new life.

Older son:     I watch. I hold my tongue and I watch. I watch as my brother packs his
               bags and takes away half of the inheritance. He is a fool. I will stay here.

Younger son: I revel. I revel with women, fine wine, good times. But somehow the
             money disappears. Famine comes. I ache for food.

Older son:     I labor. I work the fields, care for the animals, get up early and fall into
               late. I ache for a day off, for a little recognition.

Younger son: I labor. I feed pigs now, wishing I could fill my belly with even a few of
             the pods I throw to the animals. I ache for the comfort of my father‘s
             house.

Older son:     I labor. I work the fields, care for the animals, get up early and fall into
               bed late. I ache for a day off, for a little recognition.

Younger son: I repent. I plan my words carefully—―Father, I have sinned against heaven
             and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.‖ I ache to go
             home.

Older son:     I labor. I work the fields, care for the animals, get up early and fall into
               bed late. I ache for a day off, for a little recognition.

Younger son: I walk the long road toward home. With each step I rehearse my lines:
             Father, I have sinned. Father, I have sinned. Father, I have sinned.

Older son:     I labor. I work the fields, care for the animals, get up early and fall into
               bed late. I ache for a day off, for a little recognition.

Younger son: I am swept up! His arms surround me, his beard brushes my cheek, his
             kisses cover me. He calls for a robe, a ring, sandals, a calf, a huge
             celebration. I am forgiven, cherished, held.

Older son:     I am overcome with rage. How dare he! How dare he celebrate my foolish
               brother? How dare he give him all the things that I deserve? I am rejected,
               left out, forgotten. (Exit)

Younger son: I rest. I am home. The life I thought I lost was returned to me 100-fold. I
             celebrate!




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Lent 5

―Why didn‘t you sell that perfume and give the money to the poor?‖

That‘s what Judas said after I poured that perfume on Jesus‘ feet. Those words ring in my
head still. He was right that it cost me about a year‘s wages.

I remember how my hands shook as I held that bottle inside my cloak–a whole pound of
the purest nard. I used to open it sometimes, just to let the smell wash over me. But that
night, knowing that Jesus was returning to share a meal with us, I knew I had finally
found a use for that costly perfume. I knelt before him, my eyes downcast. I took the
sandals from his dirty, callused feet. The room was deathly quiet. I heard the sound of
movement in the next room, but even that stopped as Martha came in and saw me. Now
that I had begun, though, there was no turning back. The smell was overpowering–
intense, heady–as I let the liquid drip over my fingers, a stream making rivulets on his
toes, his feet, his sandals, the floor. The gasp was audible as I shook my hair free and
began to wrap his feet in the long strands.

A whispered rustling had begun: ―How dare she?‖ ―Why is she doing this?‖ ―This is
outrageous.‖ ―Unheard of.‖ ―Why doesn‘t he stop her?‖

Only Judas was bold enough to speak his mind. ―Why didn‘t you sell that perfume and
give the money to the poor?‖ What I meant as a gift, a love offering, suddenly seemed
foolish and wasteful—ridiculous, even.

Strangely, though, Jesus came to my defense. ―Leave her alone,‖ he said.

But those very reasonable words of Judas plague me still. Why didn’t I sell that perfume
and give the money to the poor? Why didn’t I use it to fill the bellies of the hungry
children that crowd our streets? Why did I pour it out on the ground in front of my family
and friends?

When I am with Jesus, when I get a chance to sit at his feet and listen, I hear stories and
witness miracles that aren‘t at all reasonable. I saw his tears when Lazarus died. I
watched as he brought my brother out of the tomb. I‘ve heard him teach the crowds and
heal the sick. Even the storms stop at his command. There is nothing reasonable about
that. And so I remind myself that all I truly have to offer Jesus is myself, as I am–
extravagant, a bit impulsive, and a bit rebellious.




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Lent 6
Based on Luke 19:28-40, The Message
Preparation: Line the main aisle of the church with people holding coats/cloaks.
Children should also be interspersed down the aisle, holding palm branches and wearing
the cloaks they made last week. Congregation should turn to #75 in SS. Play participants
take their places.

Narrator:     After saying these things, Jesus headed straight up to Jerusalem. When he
              got near Bethphage and Bethany at the mountain called Olives, he sent off
              two of the disciples with these instructions:

Jesus:        ―Go to the village across from you. As soon as you enter, you‘ll find a colt
              tethered, one that has never been ridden. Untie it and bring it. If anyone
              says anything, asks, ‗What are you doing?‘ say, ‗His Master needs him.‘‖

Narrator:     The two left and found it just as he said. As they were untying the colt, its
              owners said,

Owner:        ―What are you doing untying the colt?‖

Disciples:    ―His Master needs him.‖

Narrator:     They brought the colt to Jesus. Then, throwing their coats on its back, they
              helped Jesus get on. As he rode, the people gave him a grand welcome,
              throwing their coats on the street.
              (People place coats on ground as Jesus slowly processes down aisle).

              Right at the crest, where Mount Olives begins its descent, the whole crowd
              of disciples burst into enthusiastic praise over all the mighty works they
              had witnessed:

Congregation sings enthusiastic version of STS 75, with children waving palm branches.
Continue singing this loudly until Jesus reaches the front of the sanctuary. As Jesus
comes to the front, direct the congregation to continue singing, this time very softly.
Continue with the dialogue (over the singing).

Narrator:     Some Pharisees from the crowd told Jesus,

Pharisee:     ―Teacher, get your disciples under control!‖

Jesus:        ―If they kept quiet, the stones would do it for them, shouting praise.‖

Direct congregation into another joyous round of STS 75. Children could continue to
follow Jesus around the sanctuary, waving palm branches.




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