Summary: The angel Gabriel has received orders to appear to a girl called Mary. He turns to his colleague Michael to help him prepare to deliver one of the most important messages of all time.
Style: Light-hearted. Duration: 10min
Scripture: Luke 1:1-28
Actors: 1M, 1M/F
GABRIEL, very aware of the importance of his/her role.
MICHAEL, thinks he has seen it all.
(An angelic dormitory room. Michael enters, yawns, sits, puts his halo to one side, and sets to sharpening his flaming sword (clearly painted cardboard). Gabriel enters at a rush, halo askew, bearing a scroll (or a clipboard).
Gabriel: Michael! Michael!
Michael: Gabriel, what are you doing rushing about? It’s not very angelic, is it? Your halo’s askew.
Gabriel: (straightening his halo.) Sorry Michael.
Michael: Now, what’s wrong?
Gabriel: I’ve got my orders.
Gabriel: (checking.) Uhhh, appearance at a temple, render a respected member of the community speechless for nine months, and make an Annuncement to a girl in Nazareth.
Michael: An announcement?
Gabriel: No, it definitely says Annuncement.
Michael: House calls, eh? We haven’t done that since Abram. Telling old Sarai she was going to have a baby.
Gabriel: She laughed us straight out of the tent!
Michael: Well, the joke was on her.
Gabriel: This one is babies as well. Two babies, actually.
Michael: You always get the joyous proclamations. It’s all ‘Gabriel, explain these visions, proclaim that birth.’ With me its ‘Michael, guard the Garden of Eden with your flaming sword. Michael, wrestle with Jacob until daybreak.’
Gabriel: I mean I do have to strike an old man dumb.
Michael: Until daybreak, Gabriel: Until daybreak. I had nasty bruises. That Jacob was scrappy. If I had free will, you know, I might think about refusing.
Gabriel: Michael, come on, you’ve got to help me practice.
Michael: Help you? You’re the Angel of the Lord, Gabriel, His arch spokesangel. You were literally created for this job.
Gabriel: I’m nervous.
Michael: Gabriel, what did you do today?
Gabriel: Umm, I sung seven times seventy Glorias with the choirs, I observed the polishing of the Pearly Gates by the lower angels, and I was summoned to receive my orders.
Michael: And then you came here.
Michael: Well, Gabriel, I spent the day on the ramparts of Paradise, wielding my flaming sword, which is heavier than it looks, separating the prayers of the penitent from the curses of the cowardly, and staring out at the expanse of creation. Hard work.
Michael: So, I’m shattered, actually. And it’s time for me to listen to Songs of Praise and curl up with a nice cup of Ambrosia.
Gabriel: Are you going to help me or not?
Michael: Of course I am.
Gabriel: Great. Thank you so much for this.
Michael: So who am I? The first one, the respected member of the temple.
Gabriel: Zachariah? Oh, no, I think I can do that: (angelic messenger voice) “Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife (checks his scroll) Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John.” Joy and gladness, many shall rejoice, great in the sight of the Lord, won’t be a drinker, filled with the Holy Spirit, et cetera, et cetera.
Gabriel: He’s going to turn lots of the children of Israel towards God, and make everyone ready.
Michael: Ready? Ready for what?
Gabriel: For the other baby.
Michael: Wait, what?
Gabriel: So he says, “my wife and I are too old”, I say:
Michael: “We’ve heard that one before.”
Gabriel: And BAM. Strike him dumb and say (full angelic mode) “And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time.”
Michael: Classic Gabriel: I love your work.
Gabriel: That’s the easy bit.
Gabriel: It’s this Annuncement that has me worried.
Michael: Appearing to the Nazarene girl?
Gabriel: It’s such a big responsibility. Such important news to give to such young person.
Michael: Hey, you’re going to be great. What’s her name?
Gabriel: (checking.) Mary.
Michael: So give us the first line. I’ll be Mary. What does she do?
Gabriel: Um, she lives with her parents, looks after the house for them. She’s engaged to a nice local man, um, Joseph.
(Michael gets into character, pretends to sweep the floor. He is a terrible actor.)
Michael: Okay. “La la la la, living with my parents, looking after the house, when is Joseph going to set a date, la la la la.” Right, now Gabriel appears to me.
(Gabriel steps forward, nervous, shouts☺
Gabriel: HAIL, you who are highly favoured! The Lord is with you!
Michael: Okay, let’s take it back a notch, loosen up, it’s just like any other proclamation from on high, alright?
Gabriel: It’s completely different.
Michael: Well, first off, let’s go back to first principles. You, an archangel of the Lord of all creation, a being of pure majesty, power, obedience and light, just appeared ex nihilo, from thin air, in the kitchen of a teenage human being, a species well known for being a little fragile, a little prone to drama – I think you might have come over a little strong.
Gabriel: You think it’s too much?
Michael: Are you having the trumpets? The heavenly fanfare? They’re going to play?
Gabriel: Michael, the trumpets aren’t optional.
Michael: Okay, then she’s likely going to be a little confused, and when you appear, BAM, in the kitchen, I think she might be a little scared, even.
Michael: You’re an imposing presence, Gabriel, what can I say.
Gabriel: So start softer?
Michael: And throw in a ‘Fear not’. That tends to settle them down. Carry on, then.
(Michael sweeps, Gabriel speaks☺
Gabriel: Okay. “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favour with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David…”
(Michael has stopped sweeping, and is shimmying around the room like a princess.)
Mary- uh, Michael, what are you doing?
Michael: Don’t worry, you carry on, I just realised I had the character wrong.
Gabriel: Why are you shimmying around like that?
Michael: I though this girl was poor. I had it wrong, it’s my fault.
Gabriel: She is poor!
Michael: Gabriel, you’ve just said that she has ‘found favour with God’, that she’s going to have a baby that will inherit the throne of David. This Princess Mary won’t be sweeping in the kitchen, you’ll be appearing to her in the throne room, or the royal chambers, surely. I’m trying to give you something to work with here.
Gabriel: Michael, she isn’t a princess. You had it right.
Michael: The mother of the Son of the Highest is just a poor girl living at home?
Gabriel: “And he will reign over Jacob’s descendants for ever; his kingdom will never end.
Michael: Wow. So this poor Jewish girl is going to marry a king? Won’t Joseph be upset?
Gabriel: No, no. She doesn’t marry a king. That’s the next bit.
Michael: Ah, she wants to know who the father will be, too.
Gabriel: She’s going to be a bit more tactful.
Michael: Predestination, eh. It’s useful for planning.
Gabriel: She points out that she isn’t yet married, says that she knows no man.
Michael: Euphemism. You're right, she's tactful.
Gabriel: Well go on.
Michael: Alright. “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”
Gabriel: “The Holy Spirit will be with you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called a Son of God.”
Michael: Whoa, whoa, whoa. What? The Holy Spirit, our Holy Spirit, God?
Gabriel: The one and holy.
Michael: When I was first commanded, God was with the humans then, down in the Garden of Eden. But they mucked up. They mucked up big. Free will. He always said it was what made them different. God didn’t walk with them any more, they were kicked out. I know, I was standing there with a sword. He’s been with us, up here ever since. We’ve taken messages, we’ve performed wonders, some of us have wrestled with them on his behalf, believe me, but this is… well, this is different to all that. And now God has found favour with this Mary? She’s going to bear his Son? What’s going on?
Gabriel: I don’t know. I think, I think this must be God’s big plan.
Michael: A baby?
Gabriel: His baby. Him. Going back. Bridging the gap. God, but also one of them. God with them. Like it used to be, in the beginning.
Michael: Gabriel, the humans don’t always like what we tell them. I mean, Jonah crossed an ocean rather than listen to God’s word. They usually ask something like “why me?” “Why am I so special?” I’d say Mary had every right to ask that. I mean, why her?
Gabriel: I don’t know. But if Mary was a princess, her baby would already be a prince. ‘Son of God’ would sound like just another title. A poor girl from a town like Nazareth – for her baby to be called the Son of God – that would turn everything on its head. It could be the start of a revolution.
Michael: So what does she say? What does Mary say?
Gabriel: I haven’t looked. She could be one of the most important human beings in history. I want to see what she says when she says it. But God chose Mary for a reason. I think God knows exactly what he’s doing.
by David Ralf, © 2012, all rights reserved.