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Summary : This drama was used in a congregation in Michigan. Many people in the church were affected by the cuts of the auto industry and the recession of the economy. This drama presented the good news that God provides through a retelling of the miracle of the loaves and fishes with contemporary parallels. Following the drama, the congregation brought forward their pledges for the coming year, and placed them in the basket which represented the boy’s gift of loaves and fishes in the drama. After the service all the congregation shared in a Thanksgiving Harvest Feast which was free and open to all.
Style: Dramatic.  Duration: 20min
Scripture: John 6
Actors: 5M, 6F, 4M/F, 1C Script

Scene: The various voices are seated throughout the sanctuary. They may stand and speak in place, or walk to another place in the sanctuary. The actors in Generosity should be seated at the back of the sanctuary so they can walk in.

Reader: A reading from the sixth chapter of the Gospel of John.

After this Jesus went to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, also called the Sea of Tiberias. A large crowd kept following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing for the sick. Jesus went up the mountain and sat down there with his disciples. Now the Passover, the festival of the Jews, was near. When he looked up and saw a large crowd coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread for these people to eat?” He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he was going to do. Philip answered him, “Six months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little.” One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish. But what are they among so many people?” Jesus said, “Make the people sit down.” Now there was a great deal of grass in the place; so they sat down, about five thousand in all. Then Jesus took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated; so also the fish, as much as they wanted. When they were satisfied, he told his disciples, “Gather up the fragments left over, so that nothing may be lost.” So they gathered them up, and from the fragments of the five barley loaves, left by those who had eaten, they filled twelve baskets. When the people saw the sign that he had done, they began to say, “This is indeed the prophet who is to come into the world.”

Philip

(Character: Biblical Philip -middle aged man in period costume)

Where are we to buy bread for these people to eat? Seems like somebody should have thought of that before we came out here. There is NO place to buy food. Do you see any merchants? I suppose over by the sea there might be a place to buy fish. Someone told me there was a good mackerel catch last night. Eli Barjonah has three boats somewhere, not far from here. But it’s too late….they have probably gone out for another catch. There are a lot of people….and look over there….still more people on their way. Even if we found someone who had a full load of fish ….there would still not be enough. And ….well it would have to be cooked….and there is nothing to go with it.

And besides … think of the cost….it would take six months wages to feed everyone….not just pocket change….where is this money coming from? Whose idea was this any way?….everyone else is heading up to Jerusalem….for Passover. There is lots of food there. IF only we were there instead of here. Jesus, why have you taken us here….before long there’s going to be trouble….trouble is brewing.

Anxiety

(Character: Middle aged man or woman—a woman balances the gender of the drama—in contemporary church appropriate dress)

Did you hear what happened today? The stock market took another plunge….this time over 500 points. And all those jobs… gone to China. Don’t you just love all the rhetoric of these politicians….health care….how can you pay for health care when people don’t even have food to eat? What’s the debt now….trillions of dollars….Send your kids to college…have you seen how much colleges are raising their tuition? Where is the money going to come from? Do you remember when you could buy a loaf of bread for a dollar…in fact…. I remember when it was 59 cents….and some say the worst is yet to come.

Some say the answer is more taxes… others say less taxes…. I don’t know what the answer is but I wish someone would figure it out quickly. Why even our church is starting its fall stewardship campaign…good luck with that one…there are going to have to be serious cuts there too. If only we lived in Texas. I hear there’s still lots of money there…maybe that’s where we should be moving. Who knows where it’s all going….it’s a crazy world.

Curiosity

(Character: A biblical middle aged woman who has recently been disabled, in period dress, walking with a limp and cane)

I hope you won’t mind if I sit down. I have trouble walking and even standing. Ever since a runaway cart hit me in the road…I saw it right as it came for me, but couldn’t move in time. Everyone said the Lord had blessed me just to survive, but I wasn’t so sure. This was just before Purim, it’s been less than a year now, my leg is scarred and twisted and I haven’t been able to walk right. I don’t go out to get the water anymore, or to bargain with the butcher. My daughters do everything for me, even cook the meals. What use am I to anyone? I’ve wondered, why did the Lord save me just for a life like this, sitting at my house all day?
I came here because I’m curious, who is this Jesus? Some say a prophet. Others say a great miracle worker. He makes the blind see and the lame walk. I don’t know if it’s true but I have to see him for myself, to see, will he heal the sick? Will he work wonders? Will he, can he make me whole again?

It’s been a difficult walk up this hill. At times I thought I couldn’t make it. As it was I was the last to get up. No one helped me. I am so tired, my feet hurt and my legs hurt. My goodness, there are a lot of people here. Thousands. Jesus is up here too. I can barely see him. What is he doing? Why isn’t he giving one of his famous speeches? Is he going to work a miracle? It’s getting late. I’m not feeling very patient. And I’m getting hungry. As I look around I see that I’m not the only one. It’s getting late and the people are getting antsy. Jesus’s followers are speaking to him. They see that the crowd is hungry. They’re worried, looking around. But look! Jesus is turning and looking out. He is looking straight at me. His face is perfectly calm.
 
Scarcity

(Character: A young to middle aged man who has recently lost his job. This should be someone who we can imagine as a breadwinner for a family. May be wearing jeans and holding a church pledge card.)

I haven’t been to church much before. I haven’t had too much time. Before I lost my job Sunday was really my only day off, and, truth be told, I like to sleep. But it’s been six months now I’ve been out of work, and I guess I need some prayer. I’ve been on so many interviews, sent out so many resumes. All I want is to be able to provide for my family. Our savings have run out and I don’t know how to choose. Should we pay the mortgage or the groceries?
So here I am looking at a stewardship pledge card in my bulletin. How can I even begin to think about this? I’m almost annoyed that this has been placed before me. I’m here in need of a miracle, and they’re asking for money? I mean, I know the church has to pay its bills, but so do I. What is being asked of me?
I close my eyes. I can’t deal with this right now. It’s too much. We’re worried about getting through the next month and here this church wants me to trust in God. I don’t even know how to begin. How do I trust God? (Pause, quietly) Does God care? Can you help us?

Andrew

(Character: Biblical Andrew, in period costume)

You know Philip worries too much…he is sweating it out literally…see all the perspiration on his brow. And in such a panic. There are lots of possibilities. As some say…necessity is the mother of invention. Crises are times of great opportunity. Remember all the stories of the Torah when we were little….Moses brings us out of Egypt…we cross the Red Sea…and before long…NO FOOD. Do you think God hadn’t thought of that? Before long quails fly in and manna comes down from heaven. So much that everyone had their fill. God provided. And I think God will provide once again. Maybe not quail and manna…but maybe something just as good.

And there he goes again talking about wages…how much things cost….so many shekels for this, so much for that…when we heard Jesus speak to us a few days ago…. he told us not to be anxious. We are not to worry, worry, worry….about what we will eat or drink…for God will provide for us just like he provides for the flowers on that hillside over there or the birds that are flying above us right now…Something will be provided… I am going out in the crowd to search…why look there comes the Levi family from Galilee…it looks like there son Benjamin has a basket he is carrying…it looks full …why maybe they could share what they have…there maybe more food here than we thought.

Hope

(Character: A middle aged woman in contemporary, church appropriate dress)

Some people do worry too much. How will we pay for food? How do we pay for clothing? How is the church budget going to turn out for 2009? How do we pay for college tuition bills and soccer lessons…And people without work…what’s going to happen? I think panic is not our friend. We need to look at the long haul…God is good and has provided all kinds of things for us. It’s just a matter of planning and sharing. I remember my grandmother saying how the Depression brought people together. They didn’t have to spend money on things and had more time to spend with each other. People thought of all kinds of ways to have fun and take care of each other. Yes, there were difficult moments, but some important lessons were learned. Sometimes we get so worried that we don’t even notice what God is doing in our lives. Why… I am not sure why we were going to Las Vegas for a vacation anyway… Michigan is a beautiful state…much nicer than Texas…and it’s about time we had some of our friends and their kids over for a cookout. Maybe life could be simplified. And being in church is important now…being reminded that God is always present. I feel a spirit of joy when I’m with my church friends and well…and I can hardly wait for the next worship service and potluck dinner.

Benjamin


(Character: A boy or teen with responsibility, but also with a giving heart. In period costume and carrying a large basket.)

They were looking around nervously. What is the problem, I wondered? What is going on? I thought about it, and I figured it out. Five thousand people, at least, and no food. Well, we’re ok, I thought. My mom brought five loaves of bread, and two fish, for us, me and my six brothers and sisters. I’m the oldest and I help out all the time. That’s why she gave me the basket of bread and fish to carry. Other people can see what I have in my basket. I pull it closer to me. I don’t want anyone to take it. What would we do then? I can see that everyone is hungry. Jesus’s followers are talking to him. They’re asking him to do something. What will Jesus do?
One of the followers has left Jesus’s side. He’s walking around looking for bread. No one is giving him any. I know some of these people have food. We can’t be the only ones. I look at Jesus. Jesus is the only one who isn’t moving. Everyone around him is nervous and running around, but Jesus is just standing still. He shuts his eyes and I know he is talking to God. He looks so strong, I feel right away like I can trust him. I know now why my mom brought us here. I have never seen anybody like this before. I know in my heart that Jesus is someone who can make miracles happen.
“Boy!” Someone shouts over my shoulder. I look up, startled. It is one of Jesus’s followers, the one asking everyone for food. “Do you have anything? Do you have something the rabbi can use to feed this crowd?” We both look in front of me, at the basket in my hands. The loaves, the fish are right there. I look at him and he looks straight back. I look over at my mother. My sister Hannah just stubbed her toe and she’s crying. Mom is taking care of her.
He asks me one more time. “Will you give this to my master, Jesus?”
I make up my mind, and I stand up. “Take me to him.”
We walk up the hill and I start to wonder what I am doing. How can this little bag even begin to feed these people? I’m embarrassed I have so little to give, but it’s too late to turn back now. When we get there, the follower Andrew, says, “Master, there is a boy here with five loaves and two fish.”
Jesus turns around. He looks at me, and he smiles.
I feel something well up inside my chest. I walk up and put the whole basket at Jesus’s feet.
 
(Boy places his basket on the church altar or wherever the people will bring forward offerings/pledges)

Generosity


(Characters: A teenage girl who has a babysitting job. Her friend, who also goes to the same church. Her father, a middle aged man (need not be her actual father and can be someone who volunteers with youth groups). All are in jeans. Girl and her friend wear backpacks to show that they are outside the church building.)

(Babysitter and friend walk into the sanctuary while talking.)

BABYSITTER: Did you get a pledge card?

FRIEND: Yeah, did you?

BABYSITTER: I got one in the mail. Not to my parents, to me.

FRIEND: I don’t know why they do that. It’s not like I have any money.

BABYSITTER: Well, I have some. I’ve been saving up for a long time.

FRIEND: Yeah, you spent just about every day babysitting those McIntyre twins. How much did you get?

BABYSITTER: Four thousand, five hundred seventy one dollars, and I earned every penny of it, you better believe it, seven dollars an hour. One time, Madison McIntyre locked herself in the bathroom all day. That was the day after McKenzie McIntyre started making me refer to her as Grand Duchess Princess McKenzie McIntyre.

FRIEND: I don’t know how you can stand them.

BABYSITTER: Well, I’ve been saving up to buy a car when I turn sixteen. My parents said if I pay for the car and the gas, they’ll pay for the insurance.

FRIEND: I guess you don’t have any left for the church then.

BABYSITTER: Maybe not, but I don’t know. I mean, I want a new car, but there’s more to it than what I want. I have to pray about it.

FRIEND: Whatever. Well, see you next Sunday.

BABYSITTER: See you Sunday.

(Friend departs. Babysitter is quiet. Removes backpack. Sits and prays.)

(Silence as she is praying.)

(Father enters. Babysitter looks up.)

BABYSITTER: Hey Dad, can you take me to make a withdrawal from my account?

FATHER: Did you find a good used car? You have to let me take a look at it first.

BABYSITTER: No, I want to give it to the church.

FATHER: Oh, well you don’t have to do that. Your mother and I give a hundred dollars, every month, for all of us.

BABYSITTER: I know, but I want to start giving on my own. I have been praying about how God wants me to use my money.

FATHER: Don’t you still want a car?

BABYSITTER: I still do, but I think I can do both. I have four thousand, five hundred, seventy one dollars in the bank. I can give five hundred seventy one dollars to the church now, and since I make about fifty dollars a week babysitting, I’ll give five dollars or so in the offering plate every week. I’ll still have four thousand left for a car.

FATHER: But you haven’t found your car yet. What if it costs a little more than four thousand? I really think we should look at some cars today, and see how much it costs.

BABYSITTER (thinking): But I want to give the money to the church first.

FATHER: Why would you do that? I don’t know if that’s responsible.

BABYSITTER: I just know that this is what God wants me to do. I know that I have to give it to him first. I have to offer it. Like, how they call it an offering. I want to make my offering.

FATHER: (to self) Oh, my daughter. What am I thinking? I am so amazed by you. You have so much faith. Your mother and I are just so proud every time we see you singing in church, or all these mission trips you have gone on. You inspire us. I am so thankful that God gave me a daughter like you.

Mother

(Characters: A young to middle aged woman, the mother of the boy who gave his food to Jesus, in period costume. Children in the crowd, also in period costume. These can be the actor’s own children.)

MOTHER: This crowd is so big and noisy, there are so many people I’m nervous about my children getting lost, or a stranger hurting them, God knows what could happen. Oh there goes Hannah, crying because she stubbed her toe. What’s wrong sweetheart? Oh, that’s not so bad. Here (kisses) all better. Now where is everyone? It’s a trial trying to watch seven children at once…there’s Hannah, Joseph, Martha, Samuel, Jonah, Elizabeth… wait, where’s Benjamin? Oh Lord, where has he gone? Excuse me, little girl, have you seen my son?

CHILD IN THE CROWD: I saw a man take him away.

MOTHER: A man? Oh Lord! Martha, watch your brothers and sisters! I have to find Benjamin! Have you seen a man and a little boy?

CHILD IN THE CROWD: Yes, I did, they went up toward the rabbi.

MOTHER: Up to the rabbi? Up to Jesus?

CHILD: Yes, I think he was going to give him some food.

MOTHER: Some food? My bread and that salted fish? With God as my witness, when I find that boy… What does he think he’s going to do, feed this whole crowd with five loaves and two fish? There they are! He is going to get it…

(reflecting) Before I realize it I am there, I have pushed my way up to the rabbi Jesus. And only now do I remember how much I had wanted to see him. Why I had wanted to see him. Jesus is right there. He is praying. He is giving thanks. He is holding up…what is he holding up?

It is the bread I baked. The fish I salted.

I look at my son. He is watching Jesus. I see such faith in his eyes, such a spirit that boy has. What a child. What a wonderful child.

As I watch Jesus’s disciples, they take our loaves and fish into the crowd. One walks right next to me and offers me some. I am afraid that they will run out but at that moment I look up and see my son seeing me. If he could give with faith, I can receive with faith.

I take a good piece and begin to eat. And if I do say so myself, my bread is delicious. My son walks toward me.

“I’m so proud of you,” I whisper.

We both look to see what is happening. The bread should be gone by now. I look at the basket. Is that the loaf I just took from? It seems bigger but I can’t be sure…and is that another loaf?! I look at the other disciple…there are more loaves in his basket! There are more than the five I baked…and over there…how many fish could that be? What is happening? This is amazing! This is a miracle! There is more than enough!

Witness

(Character: A biblical witness to the meal, adult of any age or gender. This witness came curious, and left converted to faith in Jesus. Period costume.)

Well, that was certainly a wonderful meal…. pity those poor people on their way up to Jerusalem to the Passover…… last year when I went there….the bread was stale and….Well, quite frankly… over-priced and no such thing as delicious succulent fish like we had here…..I can’t believe the wonderful meal that we just finished…..who would have imagined being able to feed such a large crowd as this out here so far from anywhere…I for one thought there was going to be trouble…but when Jesus began to speak and broke the bread….it was a miracle….the food multiplied and the boy’s barley loaves and fish were enough to fill this crowd up. And you know the other thing I noticed was how much talking was going on while the meal was being served. People from Galilee eating with those from Jericho…you just don’t see those kinds of things…and well…those disciples of Jesus…they were certainly surprised when they started picking up the food….12 baskets left over…more than they had in the beginning.

We were fed all right…by the food but also by this wonderful rabbi Jesus said.
His words really made sense…Love the Lord your God with all your heart and mind and strength, and your neighbor as yourself…..and all things will be added unto you…
Quite a few people told me to stay away from Jesus, but he makes a lot of sense, and
I am looking forward to hear what he says next time and I’m going to bring my entire family.

Joy

(Character: A modern adult churchgoer of any age or gender. Someone whom we can believe really loves God and the church, and is happy to be here.)

Every time I come to church I have such joy in my heart. It’s a church where people come closer to God…and care for each other….last year I had a friend who was standing in the need of prayer, and when I mentioned it in church, I sensed that people were really concerned and that a lot of prayers would be said that week. But it is more…its all about learning the Bible, and being part of a faith community that is aware of God’s love and tried to share it …my goodness…I read all the ways we can serve God here and I see people giving and sharing, it motivates me to try to do a better job in my life also.

Even though there is change all around us…companies merging, people moving, elections occurring, financial markets going up and down, people have made mistakes and companies have gone in some wrong directions, yet despite all these things I trust that God is present in the midst of all of it and God will provide for everyone. I really feel that we have been given a wake up call to make some changes in how we think about jobs, and money and people…maybe God is trying to tell us to get our priorities straight and to refocus our lives.

Right now I’m actually thinking about what a blessing it is to be in a church family where we can face these things today…and I guess I’m also thinking about the Thanksgiving Harvest Feast that is going to occur right after this service. Hallelujah!!!

Widow

(Character: An older woman in period costume.)
I looked out at this crowd - there were hundreds of people. It was a bit frightening at first - I seemed to feel more alone there with so many people. But I slowly headed up the hill. It has been so hard for me, being a widow - widows find it terribly difficult in our society; loneliness, feelings of abandonment and disregard. So I held back for a while.
As I got further into the crowd, I could catch a glimpse of the man known as Jesus. I had heard about him - I was told that he healed people, and loved everyone even widows and other downcast people.
Each step took me closer to him. There were baskets of food being passed around; everyone was being fed. It was really awesome for there was so much to give and even leftovers. What an amazing celebration it had become - really like a party - a giant picnic!
This celebration was one of grace and love; everyone was included! There was no way that anyone would be excluded; it would be impossible! My heart began to burst with rejoicing for God.
I had never experienced anything like this in all of my many years - older, younger, the sick and disabled, everyone was eating, drinking and sharing together.
And you know, I didn’t feel alone anymore! I was given so much - this gift of giving was all around me. As I felt closer to Jesus, I knew I wanted to give what I could - whatever that was. These people all around me were like family somehow - like a community bonded in love and grace. Oh such joy, such a sense of peace, my spirit was afire with the love of God. Thanks be to God!!

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© Copyright Rev. Dr. George Portice, Rev. Ann Robertson, and Rev. Marianne Grano, all rights reserved. The script may not be reproduced, translated or copied in any medium, including books, CDs and on the Internet, without written permission of the authors.
This play may be performed free of charge, on the condition that copies are not sold for profit in any medium, nor any entrance fee charged. In exchange for free performance, the authors would appreciate being notified of when and for what purpose the play is performed. They may be contacted at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.