Tuesday, April 04, 2006
WHEN I MET JESUS
SETTING: The following monologues are based on real testimonies. Each one ends with a reference to one of the names of Jesus: Living Water (John 4:10-15), Living Stones (1 Peter 2:4-6), Living Bread (John 6:51), and the Resurrection and the Life (John 11:25). This round is essentially four overlapping monologues. At the beginning the four actors stand with their backs to the audience from left to right: Bread, Stones, Life, and Water. Each actor turns around when he/she begins speaking.
BREAD: (Turning front) My parents always said they believed in God—if I asked them directly. But they didn't live like they did. They kind of treated God like Santa Claus. Yes, Virginia, there is a God. He was just another fairy tale to them.
WATER: (Turning front) I was confirmed as a kid. We didn’t go to church all the time, but we went when we could.
STONES: (Turning front) My family went to church too, but they were always angry about it. Judgemental. I guess you could say I grew up with the Pharisees.
LIFE: (Turning front) Looking back, there wasn't much dramatic about when I got saved. I just grew up in the Church, you know.
BREAD: (Turning Stage Right) If my parents needed something really bad, they might pray. Ask Santa Claus. But there prayers were more like back alley business deals. I don't know if they were saved or not. They certainly weren't happy.
WATER: (Turning Stage Left) When I got married, my wife and I split time between her church and mine. One Sunday we'd go to her church, the next we'd go to mine. But she didn't get much out of my church. I'm not saying they don't know God. She just had trouble finding him there.
STONES: (Turning Stage Left) With my parents, it was always something. They picked the preacher's sermon apart in the car. They talked about how they would have taught dispensationalism in their Bible class instead of covenant theology. I never knew what they were talking about.
LIFE: (Turning Stage Right) I never sang well, but I knew all the hymns. And I learned a bunch of verses. I asked Jesus into my heart when I was just a kid—playing little league, riding my bike to school, and drinking grape Kool-Aid. But I knew I needed Jesus.
BREAD: (Turning Stage Left) I went to church with a friend when I was a kid. Good friend. Do you remember those felt stories? I loved those. My favorite was the story of the manna. The felt picture looked like oatmeal or something. It looked bad. But it came every morning and kept them alive for years.
WATER: (Turning Stage Right) I could go to either church and feel just the same. I needed to be shook up, but I didn't know it. Pretty soon, we started going to my wife’s church all the time. I was in the choir, and helped out with all sorts of stuff, but that baptism thing. I had already been baptized—when I was a baby. Why would I do it again?
STONES: (Turning Stage Right) They were just critics. My dad complained that they didn’t sing enough old hymns. And my mom complained the church was out of touch with the culture. They'd get so mad every Sunday.
LIFE: (Turning Stage Left) I was only middle school, but I had started living for Jesus. He became my friend. My teacher. In High School I started telling people about him—the same way I would tell them about my best friend or my favorite teacher. I'd just say, "I wish you could know this guy."
BREAD: (Turning center) Manna is what my parents needed. It's what I needed. Just a little bread everyday. Just enough. At my house we never had enough. [pause] My parents spent a lot of money in the bars. A lot of time. We were never starving, except maybe starving for attention. But we were always hungry.
WATER: (Turning center) But then, my wife and I were reading the gospels, and getting baptized just seemed like the right thing to do. So I did. A few Sundays later. There was no great explosion or walls rattling or any of that, but I was committed now. I had recognized Jesus finally. I knew him.
STONES: (Turning center) One time my dad asked, "What would this church do if Jesus came to preach on Sunday? Jesus will never come preach to them!" And I thought to myself. Jesus does come to our church every Sunday. He comes to every church. We just don’t know how to see Him any more.
LIFE: (Turning center) You know, I even went to a Billy Graham crusade once. I was already saved then, but I wanted to go down so bad. All those people going down. Everyone singing Just As I Am. All those people walking to Jesus. So I did too.
BREAD: (Stepping forward) Jesus has words for people like us. He said, "I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever."
WATER: (Stepping forward) Jesus said, "If you knew the gift of God, you would ask for Living Water." He didn't mean the water back up there, of course. He meant Himself. And I said, "Teacher, give me this Living Water so I will not be thirsty again."
STONES: (Stepping forward) Our buildings are made out of bricks and stones. But Jesus is the Living Stone. Men reject Him, but he is chosen by God. And we are chosen too. Like Living Stones we are this church.
LIFE: (Stepping forward) I'll never forget as I was walking down the stairs, Billy Graham told us what Jesus said to Martha when her brother died: "I AM the resurrection and the Life. If anyone believes in me—even though he dies—he will live. And everyone who believes in me will not ultimately die at all.”
All: (unison) “Do you believe this?”
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