This Way to the Banquet
This readers’ theater was originally written and performed for a women’s Bible study event several years ago. It was also used in a worship service with members of our church’s Friendship program, a ministry for people with cognitive impairments
Scripture passages used include Revelation 19:9; Luke 14:16-23; Luke 15:22-23; John 4:1-26; Luke 19:1-10; Luke 23:42-43.
[As the narration begins, two people (Max and Ida—or substitute names to reflect the gender of readers) notice a sign that reads THIS WAY TO THE GREAT BANQUET. They wander into the parable of the great banquet, listening to each person who speaks, intrigued by all the preparations. Max and Ida could wear something unusual to highlight the fact that they are different and don’t quite fit in. Throughout the drama, the congregation sings designated songs.]
Narrator: Then the angel said to me, Write: “Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!”
Sing: “Alleluia/Alabaré” PsH 234, SFL 193, SNT 252
Narrator: Jesus replied: A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, “Come, for everything is now ready.” But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said . . .
Reader 1: I have just bought a field and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.
Narrator: Another said . . .
Reader 2: I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.
Narrator: Still another said . . .
Reader 3: I just got married, so I can’t come.
Narrator: The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, “Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame.”
“Sir,” the servant said, “what you have ordered has been done, but there is still room.”
[Max nudges Ida.]
Max: Did you hear that? There’s still room at the party. Look at that spread! What a feast!
Ida: But is there room for us?
Max: You heard him. The poor, the crippled, the blind, the lame! He wants them all to come!
Ida: They’re outcasts through no fault of their own. But if he knew what I was like, I don’t think he would want me at his party. He wouldn’t make room for me, would he?
[At this point, different people seated throughout the audience stand up and speak. When the Prodigal Son, the Samaritan Woman, Zacchaeus, and the Thief have finished speaking, they go up to Max and Ida, one by one, and join the party. Each carries an item that shows he or she is part of the feast, perhaps an instrument or a bunch of balloons.]
Prodigal Son: There is room for you! I know, because there was room for me. I am the prodigal son. When I came to my senses and went home to my father, he said, “Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate!”
Samaritan Woman: I am the Samaritan woman. I’d had five husbands by the time I met Jesus, and the man I was living with was not my husband. But Jesus revealed himself to me as Living Water, and I believed. There was room for me at the feast too.
Zacchaeus: I am Zacchaeus. I was chief tax collector, and because I was dishonest, I was filthy rich. Jesus called me out of a sycamore tree, out of my sin, and invited me too.
Thief: I am the thief on the cross. I asked Jesus to remember me when he came into his kingdom. And he promised me, “Today you will be with me in paradise.”
Max: Look at all of us here! I’ve never felt such joy at any of the other parties I’ve gone to. They’ve been empty shells compared to this.
Ida: And the light in this room! I’ve never seen anything like it before! It’s chased the darkness away!
Max: What radiance! What incredible brilliance!
Ida: [looks around] But there is still room for more guests. Lots of room.
Narrator: Then the master told his servant, “Go out to the roads and the country lanes and make them come in, so that my house will be full.”
Max: [speaking to Ida] Do you think we should go out, too, and invite people to the feast?
Ida: I wouldn’t want anyone to miss this incredible party!
Sing: “Here I Am, Lord” CH 589, PH 525, SFL 243, SNC 268, WR 559