God sees the plight of refugees. He hates the injustice that leads to their displacement from home and country. The church, called to emulate God’s character, must also care about the hardships of refugees. One way to do so is to incorporate into a worship service a celebration of God’s just character and a call to care for refugees by performing this drama.
Every Christmas at our church the Sunday school and catechism classes (preschool to grade 12) prepare a program for the evening service of the third Sunday of Advent. When some of the high school students objected to a proposed plan, they were challenged to come up with a better idea. Two of the girls wrote the pageant based on the Christmas story from the book of Luke presented here. Along with a narrator, they included songs and dramatic scenarios for the Sunday school classes.
I prepared this resource to provide some material that might make Reformation Sunday more relevant, particularly for youth. It was first prepared for Canadian Presbyterian congregations using The Whole People of God Resource 2000 to 2001 (Wood Lake Books) and is slightly adapted here. The dialogue can be used as a group activity for older children and youth or as a presentation in worship. Encourage participants to expand and/or modify the social activist’s part, using their own words or quotes from recent newspapers and newsmagazines.
For centuries churches have played out the Christmas story in drama and song. Todd Farley looks far back into the origins of nativity scenes and liturgical Christmas dramas, and then offers some intriguing ideas for enlivening worship today. His ideas for a complete Christmas service involving the entire congregation are not spelled out in detail; every church would need to consider their own resources and abilities.
For more information about this touring company of professional Christian actors, visit www.friendsofthegroom.org. The group in the photographs is the Youth Drama Team sponsored by Friends of the Groom (made possible through a grant from the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship): Julia Albain, Robyn Hubbuch, Becca Long, Becca Maher, Aimee Morton, David Morton, Annie Sluka, and Jacqueline Voss.
When we hear Scripture read in worship, it is usually in carefully chosen chunks or discrete units. The Bible, however, is one large overriding picture/story of God’s action with his people, written down over many generations. It contains hugely complex overlapping images and concepts, like a tapestry of multiple interweaving strands. The overall effect has a rich and vibrant depth, as individual elements placed next to each other bring out a whole range of associations and meanings.
Keeping Paul’s missionary journeys straight can be tough. The stories are brief and many involve mostly preaching. It is hard to remember what happened. Our challenge was to communicate the information about Paul’s first missionary journey to our congregation in a way that was interesting, memorable, and brief. We wanted to present information about cities as well as people.
JESUS APPEARS TO SEVEN DISCIPLES
Narrator: Jesus appeared once more to his disciples at Lake Tiberias. This is how it happened, Simon Peter, Thomas— called the Twin, Nathanael—the one from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples of Jesus were all together. Simon Peter said to the others:
Peter: I am going fishing.
Disciple: We will come with you.