By Dorothy Suhling Kraljev
Set in the time between crucifixion and resurrection, some of the principal characters of Easter reflect on what the death of Jesus has meant to them.
Mary of Bethany
Mary, Jesus' Mother
Male characters may be included, omitted, or used independently in script. If used independently, the female/male parts can be converted to fit the participating cast mix.
Martha - old style broom
Thomas - palm leaf
Mary of Bethany-scroll
Peter - fishing net
Mary - red rose
John - chalice type cup
Mary, Jesus' Mother - Jesus' garment (white cloth)
The only scenery used is a large cross fixed to the rear of the stage. It can be effectively draped with a purple mantle, and a crown of thorns hung from the top.
Dressed in Biblical attire, the cast are placed across the platform in the order of the narrator's coming introduction. They may take whatever stance appropriate to their individual temperaments. The narrator dressed in modern clothes, (or off stage) goes from one actor to the nest, introducing them to the audience. At this time the characters remain in their personalities, as though unaware of the narrator's presence.
Our Lord is dead. Each of us in our own way mourns. Perhaps you can identify with the feelings of: Martha - Her pangs of regret. Thomas - Entangled in doubt. Mary of Bethany - Her life took on meaning in Christ's presence. She now questions the loss of her dearest friend. Peter - The rock, God's man...Frightened, hiding, broken. Mary Magdalene - She allowed herself to become touchable and now is crushed beneath the weight of that same touch... John - The Lord's Beloved, trying to stand on his Shepherd's foundation. And lastly Jesus' own mother - Dazed and grief-stricken, she struggles with the whys.
(At the end of the introduction, the characters again freeze, except when delivering their part. Each stands at his turn and may move about, returning to his original position when lines are completed, then again freezing. Props may be picked up, or used in any way to best help character emphasize their feelings.)
How important it was to be me, organized...Keep everything running smoothly. Let everyone know, Martha was in control. But then, from out of nowhere, He came into my life and all I knew to be true, went topsy-turvy. The more I clutched at security, that which I could govern, He seemed determined to scramble my world and allow it to fall to pieces at His feet. Just as quickly as He shattered my self-made being, he deftly picked up the splintered chips and, giving them sense, molded out of them a REASON for living! I was always too busy for allowing myself to just "be." To enjoy, and savor, and share with my Lord... If I could only recapture a moment to anoint His precious hair...Listen to His wisdom...Just sit quietly at His feet...
But Now He's Gone...
I don't care what they say He is gone...Period! It is finished, done with...and we were fools... For three years, I followed Him...fighting doubts. Yet, when the dead arose, or the blind could see, then I, Thomas... Believed!...But where is my king now? With Him those signs died and with His death my dream also died. It's impossible to sift through it all...Why bother...I must move on. Move beyond the memories and begin my life again... MY WAY! Yet, a part of me remembers...It would be so much easier if only I could forget...Forever... No matter...So what...I must get on with it. The vision is ended...
And He is gone!
MARY OF BETHANY:
No one ever seemed to understand. People would laugh at me. Little Mary, the dreamer...they'd say. And then, from out of nowhere within the void of my questioning heart, HE came...And made His home. In an instant, life took on meaning. How I would love to place myself at His feet, and there, my emptiness would be filled...With Him... What confidence and joy filled my soul when my Jesus would look upon me, and smile. Even in quiet times when we were silent, I felt His reassurance knowing that He knew, and understood. How simple my world became, as my friend taught me of love, giving, acceptance, and forgiveness...suddenly all the pieces fit together and I will never be the same again! But why did He allow them to take? I need Him...How could He die? My Lord, they hurt You so. How could You...Leave me...You said you would come back to me again...
But You're Gone!
And upon this rock...My God, where is that rock you believed in...Depended upon? Shattered, like so much rubble... Big, strong, and proud I boasted that even if I had to die, I would never deny You! I was God's man yet became as a child when my Master was taken. Weak, without direction...frightened, and now alone...hiding... It was being with Jesus, my friend and companion that gave me strength. When He found me I was but an ordinary fisherman...Yet in His presence grew into a leader among men. Why can't I trust...hope...He said this sorrow would be turned into joy but my faith is so weak. I can't seem to understand or believe... Jesus, my denial accuses me, torments me. I turned my back on YOU. How could You ever forgive me? How can I forgive myself and live once more for You? My Lord, renew Your life in me, come into this man-child's heart...
I used to feel dirty inside but He changed all that. No, I guess what He really did was to love ME into changing, and then He taught me what that beautiful word is all about. Love, that's a laugh! They used to smirk at me and call me "a lover." But the pieces I gave were only fragments...And afterwards, in the light of day, I would feel like withering, wanting to crawl up into some Godforsaken hole...and die... Godforsaken, that was me, a tramp. Men that shared my bed in the shadows spat on me the next day, recoiling, pretending we were no more than strangers. Then suddenly, that glorious day, HE came into my life and instantly He knew ME. I mean He really knew me, inside and out! And, even so, invited me to drink from His own cup, what He called Living Water--water that truly healed me and made me clean! But it hurts--it hurts so bad now. My Lord, You made me tender, I no longer have a shell to protect me...I am so vulnerable! You taught me how to love, but it hurts to love your way...My Precious Lord...
And now You're gone...
Just a kid...they would smile, tousle my hair and move on. What does he know, a lad too young to have even tasted life. How much bigger was the world they knew. I think they wondered why I was even chosen a youth among men. Yet how often my Lord would call to me, "Young John..." Beckoning... that I might follow Him to a quiet place of enlightenment...from Master to pupil. It was easy for me to believe, I realized Him to be the answer to life's questions...And I will follow Him as long as I have breath, just as I followed Him to that cross.
My Lord, Your pain became my pain. You life's blood runs cold within my veins. I feel older than my years...But I can't crumble beneath the grief, I must hold on. I am confident of your promise that Your life is beyond the grave. There's work to be done. I have the strength, Your strength to rely upon. I shall treasure and care for this sorrowful mother who was YOURS, and is now mine. I will take Your good news to a troubled, searching world. I miss You, my Shepherd, but I shall wait, believe and trust in Your promises. As I live, so do You live...
You are gone, Yet you remain in me!
MARY THE MOTHER OF JESUS:
My Son, my Son... they've taken away my child. Tortured Him, mocked Him, crucified Him. My heart is broken...He was always so special, I knew from the beginning that He was set aside for great things. He had a vision beyond what I could even begin to understand, needing to be about His Father's business. Sometimes I would watch Him as He was growing up, so precious, so wise, even as a young child. I would encircle Him in my arms, and cling to Him, as though trying to hold on...to keep Him for myself. Why did I have to give Him up, share Him with the throngs? And then, when He gave His innocent heart and life to them, they allowed that life to be snatched away! Where were they when He was taken away to be slain, those whom He called friends? What resistance did they offer His murderers? And what law did he transgress to receive such a punishment? He offered his persecutors love, and they returned only hatred...My dearest Son...You spoke of returning to us...of leaving this tomb that encases Your beloved body... My dear, sweet Jesus...
Come child...come back to ME...
(Mary, Jesus' mother says, "Come child, come back to me!" in faith, with real conviction. Immediately after saying the words, her expression suddenly brightens as she looks up and stares at one point toward the rear of the room as though instantly aware of the presence of Jesus. One by one the others focus at that same point, reacting in their own personalities and with awe.)
Martha: (Sees, kneels) Jesus! Thomas: (Sees, kneels) My King! Mary of Bethany: (Sees, kneels) Dearest Friend! Peter: (Sees, kneels) My Christ! Mary Magdalene: (Sees, kneels) My Precious Love! John: (Sees, kneels) Master! Mary, the Mother of Jesus: (Sees, kneels) My Son, my Savior! Mary of Bethany: (Sees. kneels) How can we pray? Mary Magdalene: (haltingly) What do we say, Lord?
(From a distance, a soloist begins the Lord's Prayer, one phrase at a time, with the characters repeating each line, slowly and prayerfully while on their knees. The audience may be invited to participate in the singing. Following this time of praise, the actors take their prop which now serves as a symbol of themselves, and lays it at the foot of the cross, then in silence walks off the stage. A period of quiet prayer or a Communion service might follow.)
© Copyright Dorothy Suhling Kraljev 2000, all rights reserved.
This script may be performed free of charge, on condition that no charge is made for admission. In return, the author would appreciate being notified of any performance. She may be contacted at Dorothys223@aol.com