Style: Light-hearted. Duration: 8min.
Cast: 3F, 1M
Sally: - Bright and cheery young Mum. She is reasonably involved in the social life of the local church, but has drifted away from the Spiritual side a bit in the busy-ness of a hectic family life.
David: - Sally’s 13-year old son. He’s a good lad at heart, but showing all the usual signs of adolescent diffidence.
Mrs Grimthorpe - A mature, matronly lady well known as a pillar of the church and for knowing all the local gossip.
Emma: A middle-aged, mild-mannered, but quietly confident lady, and a lay reader in the church.
Sally’s family kitchen, the week before the start of Lent. David stands vacantly watching Sally beavering around, wiping surfaces. Sally is cheery, but preoccupied.
David: Mum, what is Lent all about?
David: What is Lent about?
Sally: Ooh, well, er…..it’s about 40 days David: No, no, I mean, like, what is it about?
Sally: Sounds like it’s about…time you got on with your homework, young man
David: [resigned] Whatever
Sally: [stops what she’s doing. Looks at David] Well what do you mean, what’s Lent about?
David: Well, I was, like, speakin’ to Michael and all that, and, he said that you have to, like, give up chocolate all the way up to Easter. And that’s just not fair.
Sally: Oh, I don’t think it’s all about chocolate. You see….
[Doorbell. Mrs Grimthorpe has approached side of stage, and stands moving from foot to foot, looking at watch, generally flustered]
Sally: [making way to door] Oh, that’s lucky, that’ll be Mrs Grimthorpe from the church come round to pick up my special pancake mix recipe for Tuesday [Opens door] Hello, Mrs Grimthorpe, do come in.
Grim: [very briskly, as Sally and Mrs G move back to centre stage] Good afternoon, Sally. Sorry I’m late, but I just had to catch up with Mr Sullivan about fixing the church gate – do you know that wretched thing has been off its hinges for nearly two weeks now, and sooner or later someone’s going to get injured.
Sally: [under her breath] Hmm, not the only thing that’s off its Hinges
Sally: I said are you still getting those lower back twinges?
Grim: Oh, well yes I am as a matter of fact. The trouble is…
Sally: [Firmly but politely] Now – Mrs Grimthorpe, listen, I’m glad you’re here, being such an experienced churchgoer and all that.
Grim: [Suspicious] Yes?
Sally: Well, David here was just asking about Lent, and I’m sure you could explain it clearly for him. I mean, I wasn’t really sure – what is Lent about?
Grim: Well, it’s about 40 days.
David: [Deeply unimpressed] Huh - brilliant!
Grim: [Scowls at David] And……this of course reflects the time that Our Lord spent fasting in the wilderness and being tempted by Satan.
Grim: Well, Christians therefore spend Lent abstaining from all pleasure to mirror Christ’s example.
David: [In an “I told you so” voice] So you do have to, like, stop eating chocolate and stuff then?
Grim: That would be one thing to do, yes. [proudly] I also stop eating meat. I don’t drink coffee. I don’t read popular magazines. I disconnect the television. And of course I get my Bible out of the spare room and learn 15 verses of Leviticus off by heart every day.
Sally: Oo - that sounds very dedicated, Mrs Grimthorpe.
Grim: Well I do find it a good opportunity once a year to demonstrate abstinence and rigorous discipline. Makes one feel rather more holy.
Sally: And lots of prayer-time, I suppose?
Grim: Oh yes – during Lent I concentrate really hard during the prayers every Sunday. Overall, I must say that our church takes Lent far too lightly – why for example do we not have compulsory instructions as to what not to do during Lent? I mean, take that Mr Cummings for example. You probably haven’t heard about this, but I have it on very good authority that……
Sally: Aah, yes, ahem….Mrs Grimthorpe, not in front of the children, eh?
David: What about, like, playing on my XBOX? Is that banned as well?
Grim: Your what?
[Emma has approached side of stage. Doorbell]
Sally: [making for door] Oh, it’s like Piccadilly Circus round here today. [opens door] Oh, Emma, hello – come in, come in – join the fun…
Emma: [as they move back centre stage. Warm and cheerful] Hello, Sally - thanks – sorry to intrude, just thought I’d pop in to see how you were.
Sally: Oh, yes - much better thank you.
Grim: Oh yes, of course your arm. I hope that you put on that poultice like I told you to.
Sally: Actually it’s fine, thanks. Hey, Emma, you’ve done all that reader training, you must understand Lent. Are you going to be learning your Leviticus like Mrs Grimthorpe?
Emma: [perplexed] My what?
Sally: You see, David was asking what Lent is all about, and Mrs Grimthorpe was kindly just explaining how it’s a time to refrain from enjoyment and to devote oneself to deprivation.
Emma: Oh, I see. Mm - actually I have a slightly different view
Sally: Oh do you? So tell us, what is Lent about?
Emma: Well…haha…it’s about 40 days
David: [loudly, despairing] Oh good grief.
[Emma looks quizzically at David]
Sally: David! Sorry, Emma – seriously what do you think?
Emma: [turns to David] Well, David, you see Lent is this period leading up to Easter. And you know what happened at Easter?
David: Like, Duh! Even I know that that was when Jesus was crucified.
Emma: Exactly, and more importantly rose again from the dead.
David: Well, yeah
Emma: And we as Christians believe that that’s the most amazing thing that’s ever happened. And so as we build up to remembering that Jesus was prepared to die for us, and then to celebrate his resurrection, we take the period of Lent to reflect. And that may be that we feel moved to stop doing certain things….
David: [Sullenly] Like eating chocolate
Emma: Like eating chocolate, yes, to focus a bit more on Jesus, and to honour in a very small way the incredible sacrifice that He was building up to endure for us. But we may also reflect on how we can get to know Jesus better, during Lent and afterwards. So we may start making more time to talk to him, and to pray with him.
Sally: Hey, Emma, that’s really helpful. I can see that reflecting on what Jesus has done for us is a really good thing to do in the build up to Easter.
Emma: Yes – and just like we’d enjoy our Easter Eggs all the more if we hadn’t eaten any chocolate for six weeks, so doing these things in Lent helps us to really appreciate the wonderful celebration of Easter Sunday.
Sally: Yes, I can see that
Emma: But look, Lent is also a great time to think about how we can grow to be a bit more like Jesus. To follow his example.
David: Such as?
Emma: Well, perhaps committing to do more to help others less fortunate than we are, or maybe, and this is the really hard part, trying to stop doing those things that are not very Jesus-like.
David: [pointedly, to Sally] What, like shouting at your children just because they left their socks on the floor?
Emma: Er, well possibly. [slowly] Or maybe not gossiping. Or not criticising others.
[Pause. Sally and David turn pointedly to look at Mrs Grimthorpe, who raises her eyebrows]
David: OK – yeah, I understand, like, a bit better now.
Sally: [Encouragingly] So, come on, David, what are you going to do for Lent?
David: Well… [thinks] I think the first thing I’ll do is make a real effort up to the Easter holidays to be friendly with Simon Collins at school. Everyone thinks he’s a bit odd, but I think maybe he’s just a bit lonely.
Sally: That’s great, darling – well done [gives David a big hug]
David: [embarrassed, pulling away] Whatever
Sally: And I’m going to try not to lose my temper with the children. And actually, Emma, I think I’d like to start coming to your Home Group again, if that’s OK. [E nods encouragingly] It seems like Lent will be a really good time to talk and pray together more.
Emma: That would be lovely, Sally. What about you Mrs Grimthorpe – why don’t you come and join us as well?
Grim: Mm, well I’m not sure I have the time, there are, as you will appreciate, an awful lot of Easter preparations to be getting on with.
Sally:& Emma: [together, slightly mischievously] Oh, go on
Grim: [Softening] Well, actually maybe you’re right. Perhaps I could do with taking some time out.
Sally & Emma: [together] Great!
Grim: [reverting to type, loudly] Just as long as that awful Mr Cummings isn’t there…
Sally& Emma: [together] Mrs Grimthorpe!!
[Mrs Grimthorpe looks sheepish]
Sally: Well, David – that was quite a discussion you started there! All with a simple question – what is Lent about. [Pause] And now we know
All [Look at each other knowingly] About 40 days!
Copyright Ian M Wishart 2009, all rights reserved. This script may not be reproduced, translated or copied in any medium, including books, CDs and on the Internet, without written permission of the author.