27 January 1997

Carpenter: Act 6 - Resurrection

Scene 1: Empty Tomb

(Mt 28:1-10; Mk 16:1-8; Lk 24:1-8; Jn 20:1-18)

Lights on. Upstage, carpenter's bench has been replaced by a large rock next to an opening. Magdalene and Mary enter stage right, move laboriously upstage.

Mary: But who will we get to roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?

Bright light on angel, appearing upstage. Women cower.

Angel: Why are you looking for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. They do so. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: "He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him." Exits.

Mary: Can you believe it? He's alive!

Magdalene: Oh, we must go tell the others, especially Peter!

Women move stage right. Lights up on Jesus, stage left, wearing white.

Jesus: Greetings.

Magdalene: Rabboni!

Women run to him, fall at his feet and grab his legs.

Jesus laughing: Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go tell my brothers to leave for Galilee, and they will see me there.

Mary: Yes, Jesus.

Magdalene: Oh, thank you, Jesus.

Women dash off stage right. Jesus exits stage left.

Scene 2: Thomas

(Jn 20:24-29)

Lights off upstage, rock is removed. Disciples enter stage left, talking quietly. Women enter stage right, chattering excitedly.

Magdalene: We have seen the Lord!

A moment of stunned silence, followed by exclamations.

Thomas speaking over noise: Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.

Lights on upstage, Jesus.

Jesus: Peace be with you!

Women and Peter run to Jesus and embrace him. Disciples other than Thomas follow more slowly, hesitantly.

Jesus beckoning: Thomas! Put your finger here in my hands. Put your hand into my side. Stop doubting and have faith.

Thomas approaches slowly, starts to reach out and touch him, then falls to his knees.

Thomas: My Lord and my God!

Jesus: You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who have not seen me and yet believe.

Scene 3: Peter

(Jn 21:15-19)

Jesus turns to Peter, who looks abashed. Others give them room.

Jesus: Simon son of John, do you love me more than these others?

Peter: Yes, Lord, you know I love you.

Jesus: Then feed my lambs. Simon son of John, do you love me?

Peter: Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.

Jesus: Then take care of my sheep. Simon son of John, do you love me?

Peter hurt: Lord, you know everything. You know I love you.

Jesus: Then feed my sheep. The truth is, when you were young, you were able to do as you liked and go wherever you wanted to. But when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and others will direct you and take you where you don't want to go. Follow me.

Exeunt. Lights off.

Scene 4: Centurion's Final Report

Lights up on Centurion, stage left, appearing unkempt, tired and shaken.

Pilate: Yes, what is it?

Centurion: Your Excellency, another report on the Judean situation.

Pilate: What? I thought we took care of that.

Centurion gulping: Well, my Lord, it appears that the body of this Jesus of Nazareth is … missing.

Pilate: Missing? What do you mean, missing?

Centurion: Just that, my Lord, missing. Some women came to tend to the body, but it was gone. When I questioned the guards, they said they fell asleep, and his disciples came during the night and stole the body away.

Pilate: Do you believe them?

Centurion: Frankly, my Lord, I don't know what to believe. I have never known a soldier to admit to falling asleep on duty, when he knows he will be at least flogged, and possibly executed.

Pilate: So what do you think really happened?

Centurion hesitant: I don't know, my Lord. No other explanation makes sense.

Pilate: Grave-robbing it was, then. Flog the guards, and let's put this whole situation behind us.

Centurion bowing: Yes, your Excellency. Exits.

Scene 5: The Great Commission

(Mt 28:18-20)

Disciples enter stage right and move across stage, chattering in excitement. Lights up on Jesus, upstage.

Jesus arm raised in benediction: All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. Lights off.

Congregational hymn of celebration.

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