Denise Day Spencer

February 23, 2012

Holy Week drama: “Voices”

Filed under: Creative Ministries — denisedayspencer @ 2:56 pm

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything related to creative ministries, and we’re now officially in the season of Lent. Some of you may be looking for short, simple skits appropriate for worship. Below are the dramas I wrote for our school’s 2011 Holy Week services. You are welcome to use any or all; just give me a byline, please. I hope you find these helpful. We had a lot of fun with them.

Holy Week drama “Voices,” by Denise Day Spencer
Monday: James, the disciple

EMCEE: Welcome to our game show, “Voices!” Our contestants will be people from the life and time of Jesus Christ. Their goal will be to identify the voices of people from their lives—from only one sentence. Sound easy? It may be more difficult than you think.

Our first contestant is James, brother of John. (James goes to the stage) James, what’s your occupation?

JAMES: I was a fisherman. But then I became a disciple of Jesus.

EMCEE: Are you ready to be our first contestant today?

JAMES: Yes, I am!

EMCEE: Then listen to this voice from your life.

VOICE: (over the sound system) (small child’s voice singing) There’s a little blue fish swimming in the water.

JAMES: That’s my boy! Eli! He loves it when I take him fishing.

EMCEE: James, you’re off to a good start! Let’s try another one.

VOICE: (a man) If you’re going to catch fish, you’ve got to have the right kind of bait.

JAMES: That’s my dad, Zebedee. He taught me everything I know.

EMCEE: More points for you! But be careful; they may be getting harder.

VOICE: (a man) “Is it I?”

JAMES: I’ll never forget that voice. Judas Iscariot. (steps toward audience as EMCEE steps back) We were celebrating the Passover with Jesus. We didn’t know it then, but it would be the last time. We were eating, and Jesus said, “I tell you the truth; one of you will betray me.” Betray him? Our Master? Our Lord? How could any one of us possibly do that? A moment later Jesus whispered something to Judas, and Judas left. Hours later he would find us in the garden, kiss Jesus, and turn him over to the authorities. What was he thinking? And he asked, “Is it I, Lord?” As if he didn’t know!

EMCEE: (moving up again) Are you sure of your answer?

JAMES: Of course I’m sure!

EMCEE: Listen one more time.

VOICE: (James’ voice) “Is it I, Lord?”

JAMES: That’s…me. I remember now. We all said it. And the truth is, we all betrayed him. We turned and ran like cowards, leaving him to face death alone. It’s why he died, too – for each of us. (to audience) For each of you. Have you ever asked him, “Is it I, Lord?”

The End

Holy Week drama: “Voices,” by Denise Day Spencer

Tuesday: Nicodemus, the secret disciple

 EMCEE:           Welcome back to our show, “Voices!” Our contestants are people from the life and time of Jesus Christ. Their goal is to identify the voices of people they have known. Our second contestant is Nicodemus, of Jerusalem. (Nicodemus goes to the stage) Welcome! Tell us a little about yourself.

NICODEMUS:   I was a Pharisee, a member of the ruling council of the Jewish people.

EMCEE:  (to audience) Sounds like a smart man to me! (to Nicodemus) Are you ready to play?

NICODEMUS:   Absolutely!

VOICE:             (over sound system) (a woman) You forgot to cross your “T” again.

NICODEMUS:   That was Mrs. Levi, my grade school principal. She went around to every class and made us work on penmanship. I never could do cursive capitals to suit that woman.

EMCEE:           Now voice number two.

VOICE:             (a woman) Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy.

NICODEMUS:   That’s Miss Hannah, my fourth-grade Bible teacher. She taught me to love God’s law.

EMCEE:           Correct! You’re still in the running. Now this.

VOICE:             (a man) One for all.

NICODEMUS:   That’s it?

EMCEE:           That’s it!

NICODEMUS:   One for all…All for one and one for all! It’s a Musketeer!

EMCEE:           I’m sorry, but no. The correct answer is “Caiphas.”

NICODEMUS:   The high priest. “One for all?” (remembering) Oh. Jesus. (as EMCEE steps back) We were trying to decide what to do about Jesus. His following was growing; he was making outrageous claims. He even raided the Temple, turning over tables, tossing money everywhere. Everyone agreed something had to be done. I was a believer in Jesus, but secretly. It was getting more dangerous to be one of his followers. The talk turned to having Jesus arrested and bringing charges against him, charges serious enough to warrant the death penalty. Some were reluctant to be so extreme, of course. But the high priest, Caiphas, reminded us that if Jesus caused an uprising, the Romans could punish all of us. He said it would be better if one man died for the people. Caiphas didn’t know how right he was. Jesus did die for the people — not to avoid trouble with Rome, but to save us from our sins. “All for one and one for all” means togetherness. But “one for all” is the loneliest phrase in the world.

The End

Holy Week drama: “Voices,” by Denise Day Spencer

Wednesday: Esther, a lady’s maid

 EMCEE:           Welcome to day three of “Voices!” Today we have another contestant from the time of Jesus Christ. Her name is “Esther,” and she’s a lady’s maid. (Esther goes to the stage) “Esther.” That’s a beautiful name.

ESTHER:          I was named after Queen Esther, but I’m no queen. I work for a beautiful lady, though.

EMCEE:           And who might that be?

ESTHER:          The wife of Pilate, the Roman governor.

EMCEE:           A very important lady, indeed! But how about you, Esther. Are you ready to play round 1?

ESTHER:          I’ll try.

EMCEE:           Then whose is this voice?

VOICE:             (a girl’s voice over the sound system) Ow; that hurts!

ESTHER:          That’s Cecily, my lady’s daughter. She’s a brat!

EMCEE:           Are you sure you want to say that in front of all these people?

ESTHER:          Well, she was! I had to brush her hair, but she complained about the tangles. She’d toss her head around, which made it pull worse – and then she blamed me. So sometimes… I pulled her hair on purpose!

EMCEE:           We’d better move on –Voice number two!

VOICE:             (a man) “I am innocent!”

ESTHER:          (frightened, almost a whisper) “Of this man’s blood.”

EMCEE:           What’s that?

ESTHER:          “I am innocent of this man’s blood.” That’s what he said.

EMCEE:           Who?

ESTHER:          My lady’s husband — Pilate, the governor. It was awful. That prophet was on trial – Jesus of Nazareth. My mistress was taking a nap and she kept having nightmares. She cried out in her sleep, and when she woke she was so frightened. I’d never seen her like that before, and it scared me. She sent a message to Pilate that she knew Jesus was innocent, and he should have nothing to do with this. But the people kept shouting, “Crucify him!” Why would they want to kill an innocent man?

EMCEE:           Then what happened?

ESTHER:          Pilate had a servant bring him a basin of water. In front of all the people, he washed his hands and said, “I am innocent of this man’s blood! It is your responsibility!”

EMCEE:           And they crucified him.

ESTHER:          But Pilate was still the governor. He still let it happen.

EMCEE:           Esther, this really isn’t the best time to talk about this…

ESTHER:          You know who I think was guilty?

EMCEE:           Who?

ESTHER:          Everyone. Everyone but Jesus.

The End

Holy Week drama: “Voices,” by Denise Day Spencer

Thursday: Salome, mother of James and John

EMCEE:           Welcome to our game show, “Voices!” In case you’re new to the show, our contestants are people from New Testament times. They must identify the voices of people from their lives—from one sentence. Today’s contestant is the lovely Salome. (Salome goes to the stage) It’s great to have you on the show. Did you know Jesus of Nazareth?

SALOME:         Yes. I was a friend of his mother, Mary. And my sons were his disciples.

EMCEE:           Well, Salome, do you know how we play the game?

SALOME:         I do!

EMCEE:           Then let’s hear the first voice!

VOICE:             (a man’s voice over the sound system) Bring the nets!

SALOME:         That’s my son, James.

EMCEE:           Well, that was easy!

SALOME:         Or is it my other son, John? They sound so much alike…James! I’ll stick with James.

EMCEE:           Sorry; it was John. Ready to try again?

SALOME:         You bet!

VOICE:             (same man’s voice) A fine catch!

SALOME:         Now that’s James!

EMCEE:           Are you sure?

SALOME:         Absolutely!

EMCEE:           Nope! John again!

SALOME:         This isn’t fair!

EMCEE:           One more chance.

SALOME:         John!

EMCEE:           You haven’t even heard the voice yet!

VOICE:             (a different man’s voice) Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.

SALOME:         “Remember me.” I remember. (as EMCEE steps back) That was one of the thieves who was crucified next to Jesus. I was there that day. There were two of them, one on either side of Jesus. I didn’t pay much attention to their faces at first. They looked alike to me, like my two sons. But they weren’t alike at all. One of them was angry and hateful. He cursed at Jesus, saying, “Aren’t you the Christ? Then save yourself — and us!” The temple rulers cried out, “He saved others! Let him save himself if he is the Chosen One!” And the soldiers mocked him, yelling, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” Everyone was screaming at Jesus and taunting him. He had done nothing to deserve any of this! But there was one kind voice among all the rest — the other criminal. He said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” And Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth; today you will be with me in paradise.” At the time I, too, wondered why Jesus didn’t save himself. Oh, how I wanted him to come down off that cross if he could! They all thought his death proved he was a nobody. But I realize now what I couldn’t know then. It was because Jesus stayed on the cross that he could forgive us of our sins. He does hold the keys to paradise. And now I say, like that wretched thief, “Jesus, remember me.”

The End

Holy Week drama: “Voices,” by Denise Day Spencer

Friday: Mary Magdalene

EMCEE:           Today is the last day for our game show, “Voices!” where our contestants identify the voices of people from their lives by hearing only one sentence. Our contestant for today is Mary Magdalene. (Mary goes on stage) Are you the Mary Magdalene who was a follower of Jesus Christ?

MARY:              One and the same!

EMCEE:           Let’s see if you can identify our first voice.

MARY:              Wait!

EMCEE:           Is something wrong?

MARY:              (nervous) It’s just that…I don’t know if I should be playing this game.

EMCEE:           Why not? You’re our last contestant of the week!

MARY:              I know, but…I used to hear voices. You know, in my head. Voices that weren’t there. Then Jesus healed me and it’s been wonderful to be well again but—I still remember what it was like.

EMCEE:           Why don’t we skip the first two voices and let you hear only the last one. I promise you it will be real.

MARY:              (summoning her strength) OK. If you promise.

VOICE:             (man’s voice over the sound system) Surely he was the Son of God!

MARY:              Oh, it’s real, all right. Very real. That was the soldier who stood by the cross of Jesus. (to audience, as EMCEE steps back) So much had happened that day. I was standing with the other women and…(looking around) it was near this time of day. Suddenly everything went black! One minute it was daytime and the next minute it was as dark as midnight, but in the middle of the day! Someone screamed and all around me there was panic. The next thing I knew I was on the ground. I couldn’t get up; I tried and fell a second time. I thought – I thought I was losing my mind again. But it was all really happening! There had been an earthquake. I couldn’t stand because the earth was moving. The darkness seemed to last forever, but at least the ground was solid under my feet again. Then I heard a voice – Jesus’ voice. He was so weak, and he cried out as if it took all of the strength he had. “Father! Into Your hands I commit my spirit!” A hush came over the crowd as we realized we could see one another again. The light had returned. Jesus! I had to see – (breaks off) One look told me he was dead. His soul had left with the darkness. It was then that the soldier who had been guarding Jesus exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!” Did he say that because of the darkness? The earthquake? Had he heard Jesus teach? Had he seen him do miracles? I don’t know why he said it, but he was right. This story I’ve told you is not make-believe; it’s real. Jesus is the Son of God who died for your sins and mine. And like that soldier, only you can decide: Will you believe it?

The End

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3 Comments »

  1. Denise, what is your e-mail address, please?

    thank you

    Comment by Nestus Venter — May 30, 2012 @ 1:36 am | Reply

  2. Denise,

    I hope this Easter brought you some measure of peace and joy.

    I remember that it is approaching Michael’s 3d year of not being here.

    I wanted you to know I miss him, I only ever knew him through the Internet Monk, but I loved him and I miss him.

    I found myself unable to read his book, “Mere Churchianity” until recently. I suppose it brought the hurt of his all too soon passing too much to the forefront of my consciousness.

    I will finish his wonderful book tonight, and I just wanted to let you know it is a gem. And, that it reminded me of how much I wish he was still here.

    Peace and comfort to you,

    John Morgan

    Comment by John — March 31, 2013 @ 8:28 pm | Reply

  3. Mr. Morgan, thank you so much for your kind words. I still miss Michael so much, and can’t comprehend that he’s been gone three years. I’m glad you’re enjoying the book. Thank you for writing.

    Comment by denisedayspencer — April 1, 2013 @ 4:28 pm | Reply


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