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We Are on Our Way: A children's drama based on the Abraham story

In this mini-musical drama, Helen Walter tells the story of Abraham—how he left his country and traveled to the promised land, and how God kept his promises to Abraham.

The drama can be used in a variety of ways, with either a large or small group of participants. If you are working with a very small group of children, consider using only the readings of the main characters. If you are working with a very large group, consider adding actions and/or dance parts for servants and animals (as many as youd like!). The drama would work well as part of a church school program or as the "Scripture reading" during a regular church service. For congregations who follow the Revised Common Lectionary, the Scriptures on which this drama is based are appointed for the first two Sundays in ]une, 1993. (The Scripture references are Genesis 12:1-3,13:14-17,15:5,17:4-8,18:3-6,18:9-15, and 21:1-3).

Helen has published several childrens stories and poems as well as many psalm versifications for the Psalter Hymnal, when her name was Otte. Before that, her name was Brink; Helen is my oldest sister, which is one reason I wanted to compose the music to her text. The music is an original composition, unashamedly imitative of an Israeli folk song.

Helen Walter, a free-lance writer from Downs, Kansas, first tried out a version of this drama in the Sunday School of Rose Valley United Methodist Church, a small rural congregation where she is a member.

—Emily R. Brink

Characters

Storyteller

The storyteller, or narrator, is often given lines in rhyme; those lines should be spoken rhythmically. The refrain 'And Abraham believed the word of the Lord" should be spoken with the same rhythm and emphasis each time.

Reader for the voice of God (offstage)

Abraham

Sarah

Servants

Three visitors

Choir

A children's choir (doubling as servants) or soloists could sing the first two stanzas of the song. If possible, Sarah should sing the third stanza.

Setting

Scene 1, in Haran, in front of Abram's tent
Scene 2, in front of the great tree of Moreh at Shechem
Scene 3, in Canaan, in front of Abraham's tent

Props

— Tent(s)
— Household items (clothes and blankets, pots and bowls)
— Animals (goats, sheep, camels)
— Tree
— Table, three chairs, and table settings for three
— Doll wrapped in a blanket

SCENE 1 : IN HARAN

Storyteller: Once there was a man named Abram who lived in Haran with his wife Sarai. He lived there with his old father and his brothers and sisters and their children. Abram and Sarai didn't have any children of their own. One day the Lord said to Abram:

Voice of God: Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you.

I will make you into a great nation,
and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
and you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you,
and curse those who curse you;
and all peoples on earth
will be blessed through you.

Storyteller: And Abram believed the word of the Lord.

Abram: Come on, everybody, get ready to go. There's lots to do, so don't be slow.

[Abram and Sarai direct servants who take down tent(s) and pack possessions while the narrator continues.]

Storyteller: So they packed up their blankets
and their clothes and their sandals.
They rounded up their goats and their
sheep and their camels.
They packed up their pots and their
bowls and their tent.
They said their goodbyes and away they
went.

[(xx) = march in place left/right]

They couldn't ride in a car or a plane.
They couldn't take a bus or hop on a train.
So they walked (xx) and they walked (xx)
and they walked (xx)
and as they walked, they sang:

Choir: (See page 35 for music.)
We are on our way to the promised land.

We are on our way to the promised land.
Our God will lead and guide us,
he will walk along beside us.
Our God will lead and guide us
as we go to the promised land. (repeat)

[Abram, Sarai, and servants sing with choir as they carry their packs and march through the congregation up and down the aisles, and then move back near the stage where they all sit down.]

SCENE 2 : BY THE GREAT TREE OF MOREH

Storyteller: Abram and Sarai and their nephew Lot traveled all the way to Canaan. When they got there, they stopped by a great big tree, the great tree of Moreh at Shechem. The Lord talked to Abram there. He promised Abram that the land of Canaan—all the hills and valleys and trees that Abram could see for miles around—would one day belong to Abram's children. And Abram worshiped the Lord there by the great tree of Moreh.

Abram traveled from place to place in the land of Canaan and became very rich. He had silver and gold and animals and servants. And the Lord appeared to Abram often and repeated his promise:

Voice of God: Lift up your eyes from where you are and look north and south, east and west. All the land that you see I will give to you and your children forever. I will make your children as many as the dust of the earth. If anyone could count the dust of the earth, he could count your children. Get up! Walk through all this land. I am now giving it to you.

[As God speaks, Abram walks to center stage, shades his eyes and looks in all directions, then slowly walks back and forth]

Abram: O sovereign Lord, you tell me my children will live in this land. But Sarai and I have no children.

[Slowly dim the lights; Abram sits down sadly]

Voice of God: Look up at the sky. There are so many stars you cannot count them. In the same way your children will be too many to count.

[Abram rises and walks slowly, looking up at the stars and then off into the distance at the land that surrounds him.]

Choir: Abraham went for a walk with God,
who was his friend.
God said, "Look up at all the stars—
you cannot see their end.
And can you count the grains of sand
on the shore or in a desert land?
So many shall your children be—
so many you cannot count."

Storyteller: And Abram believed the word of the Lord.

Voice of God: This is my covenant with you: You will be the father of many nations. No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations.

I will make you very fruitful; I will make nations of you, and kings will come from you. I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you. You live in the land of Canaan now as a stranger. But I will give you and your descendants all this land forever. And I will be the God of your descendants.

Storyteller: Many times Abraham walked around at night and thought about this great promise. And Abraham believed the word of the Lord.

SCENE 3 : IN CANAAN

[Lights on. Abraham sits in front of his tent. Visitors stand at the left.]

Storyteller: Even though Abraham believed God, he wondered how God would keep his promise when he and Sarah had no children—not even one.

The years went by, and Sarah and Abraham grew older and older. One day as Abraham was sitting in front of his tent in the heat of the day, he looked up and saw three men standing near him.

Abraham:

[bows low to the ground as visitors approach]

If I have found favor in your eyes, my lords, do not pass your servant by. I will have my servants bring a little water, and then you may all wash your feet and rest under this tree. Let me get you something to eat, so you can be refreshed and then go on your way.

Visitors: Very well. Do as you say.

Abraham: Sarah, we have guests.

[Sarah and servants come out of tent]

Quickly, get some flour, and bake some bread.

[to servants]

Bring some water for our guests. We will have a feast. Select a choice, tender calf and prepare it for our meal.

Sarah:

[A servant brings a basin of water. Two others set up a card table and place a cloth and dishes on it. Visitors are seated and pretend to eat while Abraham stands aside, directing servants who continue to serve them. During all this activity, Sarah speaks to the servants and to the congregation.]

Be kind to the stranger who passes by
your door.
Do not turn away those who are in need.
I have two apples—here is one for you.
And I have enough for you and you and
you.
Oh, are you happy? Then I am happy too.
And if you are sad, I'll sympathize with
you.
Be kind to the stranger who passes by
your door.
And you may be surprised—for you
never never know
just who the stranger is who passes by
your door.
Perhaps he is—
perhaps she is—
an angel in disguise.

[Sarah goes back into tent]

Storyteller: After the meal, one of the visitors, who was really the Lord, had something to say to Abraham.

Visitor:

[rises and approaches Abraham]

Where is Sarah, your wife?

Abraham: There, in the tent.

Visitor: I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son.

Sarah:

[listening at the door of the tent, laughs bitterly]

How can this really be true? I am too old to have a baby!

Visitor:

Why did Sarah laugh and say, "Will I really have a child, now that I am old?" Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return to you at the appointed time next year and Sarah will have a son.

Sarah:

[fearfully]

No, I didn't laugh.

Visitor: Yes, Sarah, you did laugh.

[Abraham and Sarah watch visitors leave stage and then the two of them go into the tent. Servants remove table, dishes etc., then leave stage.]

Storyteller: Now the Lord was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did for Sarah what he had promised. Sarah became pregnant and bore a son in her old age, at the very time God had promised the child would be born. Abraham and Sarah named the baby Isaac.

[Abraham and Sarah come out of the tent. Sarah is holding baby Isaac. She hands him to Abraham in order to sing her song—the first time as a solo, then repeated, perhaps with choir and dance.]

Sarah's Song (solo zvith dancers):

I never thought it possible,
not in a million years.
But God performed a miracle
and took away my fears.
He took away my bitterness
and now I laugh and sing for joy.
So dance with me and sing with me,
sing a new song of praise and joy.