Sunday Morning Live: A Palm Sunday drama

Cast
  • Simon the scribe: a reporter for Jerusalem Broadcast News; serious, professional, holds a mike, carries a notepad and pen.
  • Tobias: an informal acquaintance of Simon.
  • Camera person to train video camera on Simon throughout (optional).

[Simon enters from right with energy, ready to tell the story unfolding in front of him. He and the camera person take their positions; Simon faces the congregation, which is the crowd. He lifts mike and begins his report.]

Simon: Simon the scribe for Jerusalem Broadcast News, here today live near the Mount of Olives, where we have some late-breaking news. . . .

Tobias: [enters from left casually, chewing an apple] Hey.

Simon: [temporarily thrown off] Yes . . . well . . . [with renewed energy] There is great excitement here today. A large crowd has gathered. . . .

Tobias: [trying to get his attention] I said, Hey.

Simon: A large crowd has gathered here near the Mount of Olives. . . .

Tobias: Whatcha doin’?

Simon: [does his best to ignore Tobias as he gets closer and closer; both are looking out at the scene in front of them] Here today near the Mount of Olives, a large crowd has gathered in preparation for the day all the Jews have been waiting for. We have heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem, since the unconfirmed reports from Bethany that he raised a man from the dead. It’s . . .

Tobias: Lazarus.

Simon: Pardon?

Tobias: Lazarus. The man’s name is Lazarus. I saw it. I was there.

Simon: . . . since the confirmed reports [Tobias nods] that Jesus has raised Lazarus [looks to Tobias, who nods] from the dead. This is a great day for Jerusalem indeed, because it looks like today Jesus of Nazareth will come forward and proclaim his kingship over all of Judea. That’s right, ladies and gentlemen. Today we will have a new king. No more foreign rulers, no more Romans. . . .

Tobias: [shakes his head] Nope. You’re wrong.

Simon: . . . no more Pontius Pilate, no more Caesar.

Tobias: [shakes his head] Uh-uh.

Simon: [losing it] What do you mean, Uh-uh?

Tobias: He’s not going to be that kind of king.

Simon: That’s ridiculous. What other kinds of kings are there? Once he becomes king, he will unite all the people, and we will create an army that will thrust the Roman dogs out of our land.

Tobias: He’s not that kind of king. He’s more of a servant than a king.

Simon: But look at all the people! He’s developed quite a following.

Tobias: As a healer and as a teacher.

Simon: Yes, he’s healed many, and as a wise man he has taught us . . .

Tobias: To turn the other cheek.

Simon: What’s that?

Tobias: To turn the other cheek. He said, “If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic.” [then, full of sarcasm] That wouldn’t make the Romans too worried, would it? “Hey look, the attacking Romans look cold! Here, you want my cloak?”

Simon: [turns to the action] Speaking of cloaks, the people have begun to lay down their cloaks on the road as Jesus comes closer and closer. [to Tobias] An act of royal homage.

Tobias: Of what?

Simon: Homage. You know—respect, honor.

Tobias: Oh.

Simon: The whole crowd is waving palm branches as a preview of the great military victories to come.

Tobias: [feeling it] Yes, it is creating quite a breeze. What’s that he’s riding on anyway?

Simon: It looks like a donkey’s colt.

Tobias: That’s to fulfill the prophecy of Zechariah: “Do not be afraid, O Daughter of Zion; see, your king is coming, seated on a donkey’s colt.”

Simon: See! You said it yourself! “The king is coming.” [back to the camera] The crowd is swelling, more people with palm branches. They are proclaiming the new king. Some are saying, “Hosanna. Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” Did you hear that? “Blessed is the king of Israel!” “Blessed is the coming kingdom of the father David!” [getting more excited] Yes, indeed, this is the day of the Lord, where all Judea will be victorious over its enemies, just like in the time of old with King David. It’s the fulfillment of God’s covenant promise!

Tobias: That’s true, but . . .

Simon: Jesus seems to be quite overcome by all this. [embarrassed] He seems to be weeping. [aside] That’s not very kingly. [back to reporting] He’s looking around, seems to be taking in all the grand splendor of Jerusalem. He’s about to speak. Let’s listen carefully; maybe this is his coronation speech. [He begins to write the words down on a pad, reading aloud as he writes, first reading with enthusiasm, then doubt, then disbelief.] “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.” [a pause]

Tobias: Doesn’t sound like much of a coronation speech.

Simon: All these people can’t be wrong. He’s the Messiah. He’ll change all our lives. [resumes broadcast as Tobias leaves, shaking his head] Yes, indeed, this is a great start to the Passover celebration. The crowd joyfully celebrates in the streets. As the feast continues, the crowd may play an important role in the upcoming events of this week. I’m sure that by the end of week we’ll see signs proclaiming him King of the Jews.

Ron Vanden Burg (rachron@vaxxine.com) is a school teacher and a member of the worship planning team at Jubilee Christian Reformed Church in St. Catharines, Ontario.