Why Leadings?

Not to lead, but to be led            -- by the Holy Spirit.

See Leader, Servant, or Slave? in the section below, "Walking the Walk".

Jack in Denali National Park, 2012.

God's Wrath

Why was Sodom destroyed? Ezekiel tells us in chapter 16, verse 49: "This was the sin of your sister, Sodom: Pride, full-ness of bread, and abundance of idleness. Neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy."

That's also why Jerusalem was destroyed.

And now, with greed as our national virtue, what hope is there for the United States of America? We are afflicted by imperialistic pride, obesity, and entertainment addiction, and we are all called to do our part to "strengthen the hand of the poor and needy".

"Strengthen the hand" is the King James wording. Modern translations say "help the poor and needy." And there's a world of difference between the two. Helping the poor = as little as throwing some cash in the Salvation Army bucket at Christmas time. That's charity. It's doing for, not doing with.

My Grandmother was right about charity. On a below-zero day, she went out on the back porch with a skillet to throw hot grease on the back-yard snow. She shivered as she re-entered the kitchen and said, "Wooooh, colder than charity."

Strengthening the hand is much different. We get personally involved with another person who needs help, and we work with her or him to get the needed help. That's risky. You're vulnerable. It takes prayer, time and patience. You need knowledge and wisdom from the LORD. There are great rewards, however. You get a brother or sister.

Strengthening the hand is great work for our churches -- which we ignore far more often than we perform. Why? Because we're afflicted with the Ameri-can curse of individualism. Christians are to be a tribe -- a tribe that takes care of each other. In Galatians 6:16, Paul calls us "the Israel of God" -- the new 13th tribe.

Jesus said, "The poor you shall always have with you." He didn't mean that as a curse -- the notion that the poor are an inevi-table nuisance and expense, to be hidden in the slums. Rather, He was saying, "You shall always be among the poor."

When you strengthen hands, you fulfill Deuteronomy 15:4-5: "However, there need be no poor people among you, for in the land the LORD your God is giving you to possess as your inheritance, he will richly bless you, if only you fully obey the LORD your God . . ." It's a glorious responsibility and promise.

And how do prosperous Americans fulfill that promise? Generally, by making sure they have no contact with people who are poor -- and we have been that way from our beginnings in the 17th century. Early villages in Massachusetts solved the problem by out-lawing poor people. Today, we deal with the same problem by confining the poor in urban reservations, our slums.

As the Supreme Court Bailiff says at the beginning of each session, "God save the United States of America..." 

Saturday
Mar212015

WALLED OUT

Cast

Andrew

Bystander, a Jerusalem resident

Caiaphas

James

John

Peter

Pontius Pilate

Narrator

 

 

 

NARRATOR:  Welcome to our Good Friday play, "Walled Out." Our players are:

Marie Yamamoto as Pontius Pilate

Rita Berrian as the High Priest, Caiaphas

Glenn Vaughn as a bystander, a Jerusalem resident

Jeannean McSwane as Andrew

Marjorie Devine as James

Kathy Hatcher as John

Art Hanley as Peter

I'm Sharon Morrison, your Narrator

The whole cast also doubles as the crowd screaming for Jesus' blood on the morning of Jesus' execution, Good Friday.

For the set, imagine a high wall behind us, with spikes and a huge locked gate.

As the curtain rises, we see John standing on the shoulders of Peter and Andrew. John is climbing onto the wall. John holds onto a spike and gets his left foot over the wall.

 

Version 7

 

JOHN:  Now, Andrew, push up on my right foot. (Astride the wall, John settles himself as comfortably as he can with his back against the gate.) Wow.

JAMES:  What do you see, John?

JOHN:  Herod's palace is over there—farther away than I can throw a stone. The courtyard is packed with people.

ANDREW:  What people?

JOHN:  White linen robes scattered through the crowd. They must be student Pharisees. . . .Rags, lots of people in rags. . . .And here below—(Beat) Hi Eri (AIR-ee). What are you doing here? (The audience does not hear Eri's reply.) Hired? How much they pay you? (The audience does not hear Eri's reply.) That much? Just to stand around? (The audience does not hear Eri's reply.) Where? (John shades his eyes with his right hand.) Sure. I see him. (To the disciples:) Andrew, Peter, James, here's what's happening. Caiaphas and the priesthood have hired the Jerusalem riff-raff—beggers, winos, thieves, prostitutes, vagrants. They've packed Herod's courtyard. Standing on the edge of Herod's porch is Saul, that young Pharisee from Asia. He's giving signals to the mob.

JAMES:  This is a disaster! Caiaphas has packed the courtyard. They're the ones Pilate will hear.

ANDREW:  And out here are thousands of Jesus people.

JAMES:  And outside the city, two-hundred thousand here for the Passover.

JOHN:  Break down the gate.

ANDREW:  (Andrew speaks to Peter, who sits slouched against the wall.) Peter?

PETER:  We can't. That takes a tree trunk and twenty men. We can get the men, but it'd take a day to cut down a tree. Then we'd have to trim it and bring it in. It'll be Passover by then.

ANDREW:  Can you see Jesus?

JOHN:  No.

JAMES:  Can you see Governor Pilate?

JOHN:  He may be on the porch of the palace. I see only eight priests and probably twenty Roman soldiers. Pilate may be back among the columns. (Beat) Oh, oh. Here comes a student Pharisee with a club. He's hitting people on the wall. Oaagh! He just busted a man's knee. Ah! Ah! Ah! (John lifts his left leg onto the top of the wall.)

ANDREW:  Do you need to come down?

JOHN:  No, he can't reach me when my leg's up here on the wall. (Beat) Somethin's happenen'. A dozen soldiers came out on the platform.

JOHN (continued): There’s Jesus, wearing a purple robe. . . He's got something on his head. . . A silly gold crown. Looks like it's made of paper.

PILATE:  To the priesthood, I say this. I find no legal basis for your charges against this man. Neither did Herod. Jesus has done nothing deserving death. I'll have him whipped and let him go.

THE MOB:  No. No. Crucify him! Crucify him!

PILATE:  You have a custom that I release a prisoner to you for Passover. Do you want me to release Barabbas or Jesus?

(Together) THE MOB:  Barabbas     JOHN:  Jesus!

PILATE:  What!? You want me to kill this holy man?

THE MOB:  Yes. Yes. Crucify him. Crucify him.

PILATE:  You want a thief to go free?

THE MOB:  Yes. Barabbas!  Barabbas!

JOHN:  (To the other disciples.) Pilate can't hear us. He only hears the mob.

PILATE:  What do you want me to do with Jesus—whom you call king?

THE MOB:  Crucify him! Crucify him! Crucify him!

PILATE:  Why? What has he done?

THE MOB:  Crucify him! Crucify him!

JOHN:  They're taking Jesus into the palace.

ANDREW:  Why is Pilate here? Why isn't he at the Fortress Antonia?

BYSTANDER:  Pilate hates the Antonia. So, he uses the palace of old King Herod.

ANDREW:  Doesn't Tetrarch Herod Antipas (An-TIP-us) have first claim on the old palace?

BYSTANDER:  No. Pilate outranks him. Herod stays at the little palace of his late brother, Philip.

JAMES:  So, Pilate got here first. Caiaphas knew he would. So this morning at dawn, the priesthood packed this courtyard with the poor of Jerusalem—

ANDREW:  And walled us out. Very clever.

SOUNDS:  (Beat a door with a belt every five seconds for two minutes.)

JAMES:  What's that sound?

JOHN:  Dunno.

ANDREW:  Whipping?

BYSTANDER:  Naw. There's no screaming. The lead tipped whip lays open a man's back. Everyone screams when his back is shredded.

JOHN:  (Looks down at the mob.)  Hey, Ari. What are they giving you? (Pause) Blintzes? (Pause. Then shouts down to the disciples.) Hey. Student Pharisee are passing out food to the crowd—blintzes.

ANDREW:  What are blintzes?

BYSTANDER:  Pancakes wrapped around apples or cherries and then fried.

JAMES:  What's happening, John?

JOHN:  Nothing as far as I can see—there's only Saul and a small Roman guard standing on the platform. The crowd seems happy—enjoying free food.

SOUND:  (A sharp crack is heard. A stone hits the gate.)

JOHN:  Help me! Get me down! Help! Help! They're going after us with slings.

NARRATOR:  (Andrew and James help John off the wall.)

JOHN:  Let me stand on your shoulders. I can see over the wall, but the students won't see me. (Pause)

PETER:  Why weren't we warned about Judas? We could have—

JOHN:  I tried to warn you yesterday. But you bragged to the others about your Mediterranean fleet—

PETER:  You knew that Judas was going to betray—?

JOHN:  You said, "Get lost, kid. Don't bother me."

PETER:  (Peter jumps to his feet and lunges at James and John.) I'll kill you, Johnny.

JAMES:  Back off, Peter.

PETER:  Let me at him.

ANDREW:  Ease off, brother. You're furious—at yourself.

PETER:  But John could have prevented all this.

JAMES: Naw. Naw. It's all in the Father's hands.

PETER:  You sniveling little—

JAMES:  Don't take out your anger on John.

PETER:  You didn't tell us, Johnnie. You're part of the betrayal.

ANDREW:  Simon, sit down and shut up. You're also a betrayer.

PETER:  (Groan) I know.

JAMES:  Don't take it out on the rest of us—especially John.

PETER:  (Peter again sets with his back to the wall. He holds his head between his knees.)

JOHN:  James. Andrew. Let me stand on your shoulders again.

ANDREW:  (Andrew cups his hands to make a step for John, who climbs on their shoulders.)

SOUNDS:  (Stop whipping the door.)

JOHN:  Everything looks the same. (Pause) But the banging sound has stopped. (Pause) They're coming out on the porch again. (Pause) There's Jesus. He's all bloody!

PILATE:  Behold, the man.

JOHN:  Pilate ripped off Jesus robe and turned him around. His back is a bloody mass.

ANDREW:  What's he—

THE MOB:  Crucify him! Crucify him!

JOHN:  Pilate's holding out his hands to the crowd. He expects them to be shocked—and merciful.

ANDREW:  Can you see—

JOHN:  Those sounds—that was a whip. His back was ripped open. We were gabbing. We weren't praying.

JAMES:  We didn't—

JOHN:  He was alone. We weren't supporting him with prayer. He took each lash without a whimper.

BYSTANDER:  Hard to believe. Everyone screams.

JOHN:  Not Jesus. He focuses on his Father.

BYSTANDER:  Who's his father?

JOHN:  The Almighty.

BYSTANDER:  Sure. He's my father too.

JOHN:  No. Jesus is the promised one, the anointed one. The Almighty is his blood Father.

BYSTANDER:  Really?

JOHN:  Yes.

CAIAPHAS:  Jesus claims to be the son of the Almighty. He deserves to die.

PILATE:  So you say, Caiaphas. But this Jesus is a Galilee hillbilly—a hobo preacher. You want him killed because he's stealing your flock.

CAIAPHAS:  No. He must die because he's blasphemed the Most High.

PILATE:  So? He offends your law. He's done nothing to trouble Rome.

CAIAPHAS:  So!!! Are you blind, Governor? He's dividing our people. He's inciting rebellion.

PILATE:  I have the Italian legion here to stop it.

CAIAPHAS:  Swords kill people in the street, but stones from rooftops can destroy your legion.

THE MOB:  Crucify him! Crucify him! Crucify him!

JOHN:  Jesus is still wearing the purple robe, but he has a funny cap on his head. It's spiky. Agggaah. It's a wreath of thorns. Blood's streaming down his face. (Beat) Pilate is taking Jesus back into the palace. (Beat) The soldiers did a parody. They took off his paper crown and gave him a crown of thorns. Pigs!

ANDREW:  Is Jesus still able to walk?

JOHN:  Yes, but Pilate sympathizes with Jesus. Pilate took his arm when they went in.

JAMES:  Pilate is a better man than I thought. He's going to release Jesus.

PETER:  No. Jesus is doomed.

JOHN:  You're right, James. Pilate wants to let Jesus go. (Beat) But when Pilate shows mercy, the mob screams for blood. (Beat) People on the porch are moving. Jesus is with Pilate.

PILATE:  Again, I find no grounds to kill this man. I'll release him.

CAIAPHAS:  If you release Jesus, you're no friend of the Emperor. Jesus claims he's king. Jesus opposes the Emperor.

PILATE:  Jesus is no king. He has no troops.

CAIAPHAS:  He doesn't need troops. He steals the loyalty of the Judeans.

PILATE:  To satisfy your jealousy, you want me to kill him.

CAIAPHAS:  No, you must kill him to save your own skin,

PILATE:  (Pilate realizes that Caiaphas is right.) Oh. (Pilate tells the mob:) Here is your king.

THE MOB: Crucify him! Crucify him!

PILATE:  What? Do you want me to kill your king?

CAIAPHAS:  We have no king except Tiberius Caesar.

PILATE:  I wash my hands of all this. I'm innocent of this man's blood. (Beat) Here's your hero, Barabbas, a robber. (Beat) As for Jesus, Centurion, take him away.

ANDREW:  What's happening now?

JOHN:  I dunno. They may be taking Jesus back into the palace. (Beat) Oh no. I can see the javelins moving along the far wall. Jesus is with them. They're going out the north gate. Are they going to Golgotha? For his crucifixion?

THE DISCIPLES:  (All sob and wail.)

JOHN:  Yes, they are going to Golgotha—Jesus is dragging a small tree.

PETER:  How many soldiers?

JOHN:  Must be a century, all hundred of them.

BYSTANDER:  A squad's enough for most crucifixions.

JOHN:  Looking around, I can see the javelin tips there and there and there. The city's full of soldiers.

PETER:  Caiaphas and Pilate have won. They outmaneuvered us. They're the worst of pigs. (Beat) Let's get out of here. The soldiers will kill us.

ANDREW:  They'll crucify us too.

JAMES:  Back to the hideout.

JOHN:  Aren't you going with Jesus?

PETER:  Are you crazy?

JOHN:  I'm going—Jesus won't die alone.

JAMES:  But brother, they'll kill you.

JOHN:  I don't care. Only with Jesus , , , can I find peace.

NARRATOR:  The End.

 

BLACKOUT

 

Unbelievable News is the third play in this Holy Week cycle. For Unbelievable News click on the following link:

http://leadings.squarespace.com/unbelievable-news/


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Purpose of this blog is to compile books for my grandchildren to read in 25 years.

Copyright © 2014 by Jack Towe

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