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By Faith

A Reader's Theater from Hebrews 11

© 2008 Tom S. Long. Permission is granted for churches to use this script in nonprofit settings. For all other uses please contact Friends of the Groom, fog@fuse.net, 909 Center St., Milford, OH 45150; (513) 831-2859.

To prepare for this presentation, cast members should think of a person in their life who has died and whose faith has influenced them. They must be able to tell the story of that person in two or three sentences, beginning with the words “By faith [name] . . . ” and ending with “By faith [name] still speaks to me.” Here are a few examples:

  • By faith Marian Dornbier, a widow in her sixties, became a missionary to New Guinea. When she returned, she served as a Sunday school teacher, and when she taught my fifth grade class to sing “I Love to Tell the Story,” I knew she meant it. By faith, Marian still speaks to me.
  • By faith Kevin, my best friend in high school, faced terminal cancer. When I came to visit him in the hospital he would tell me, “I just want to see my Jesus.” Then he would squeeze my hand and ask, “How are you doing?” By faith, Kevin still speaks to me.

Insert your cast members’ personal faith stories in the script at the places indicated.

[Readers 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 enter holding folders and take positions. 1 and 2 sit in chairs in a front row; 5 stands behind them, looking over their inside shoulders; and 3 and 4 stand behind 5 on blocks. If steps are present to provide levels, chairs and blocks may not be needed.]

Reader 5: A reading from Hebrews, chapter 11.

[All open folders.]

Reader 1: We hope for.

Reader 2: We do not see.

Reader 1: We hope for.

Reader 2: We do not see.

[1 and 2 lower voices and continue to repeat their lines as 3 and 4 layer their lines on top.]

Reader 3: Sure of.

Reader 4: Proof of.

Reader 3: Sure of.

Reader 4: Proof of.

[All four raise voices, building. 5 looks around confused for a moment.]

Reader 5: [loudly interrupting] What?!

[All stop and look at 5.]

All: Faith!

Reader 4: Faith is being

Reader 3: sure of

Reader 5: what

Reader 1: we hope for,

Reader 4: proof of

Reader 5: what

Reader 2: we do not see.

[From this point on, the presenters can read the Scripture lines from their folders. It is best, however, if they tell their personal stories from memory without reading. The other readers should also focus on their folders when someone is reading Scripture, but look at or pay attention to the person who is telling a personal story. If a presenter is in front of the “teller,” he or she can still refer to the teller with a slight turn of the head while listening. This shift in focus will help emphasize the personal stories and set them apart from the biblical text.]

Reader 5: By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.

Reader 1: By faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith he was commended as a righteous man, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith he still speaks, even though he is dead.

Reader 4: [insert a personal faith story]

Reader 2: By faith Enoch was taken from this life so that he did not experience death; he could not be found, because God had taken him away. For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God.

All: [looking up from folders to congregation] Without faith, it is impossible to please God

Reader 4: because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

Reader 3: [insert a personal faith story]

Reader 5: By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.

Reader 1: [insert a personal faith story]

Reader 4: By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; for he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.

Reader 2: [insert a personal faith story]

Reader 3: By faith Abraham, even though he was past age—and Sarah herself was barren—was enabled to become a father. And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.

Reader 5: [insert a personal faith story]

All: [looking up from folders, to congregation] All these people were still living by faith when they died.

Reader 1: They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance.

Reader 2: They admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth.

Reader 3: People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own.

Reader 4: If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return.

Reader 5: Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. And so we say . . .

All: [looking up from folders, boldly to congregation] Faith is being sure of what we hope for, proof of what we do not see.