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Working to build God's dream. Help wanted!

We the people of Glen Rhodes United Church, are determined that our life together will be fully inclusive for people of all ages, races, genders, sexual orientations, differing abilities, ethnic origins and economic circumstances. Therefore, we hope that God will work in us so that we will be a sensitive congregation, willing to share our faith and gifts in language and worship, in the life and work of our church and wherever God calls us to do justice in the wider community, with compassion, fun and laughter

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

“That Was The Story Then…  And It Still Happens Now.”

Palm Sunday Playlet at Glen Rhodes UC on April 1st, 2012

(All those taking part in the Playlet will gather at the front, Narrator1 will go to the pulpit and narrator2 will go to the lectern. The other readers will sit in the front pew and take turns to come to the mike on the floor. The Prayers of the People today is incorporated into this Playlet.)

Narrator 1: This is Palm Sunday and it is also Passion Sunday, the beginning of Holy week, the focus of Jesus passion. We will hear the experience, the story of Jesus passion, his suffering and death. "Passion" means powerful feelings which Jesus experienced, feelings of joy, anger, sadness, loneliness, comfort, miracle, pain. So it’s more than a story; its a story of feelings and we'll hear some of them.

Narrator 2: Jesus cared deeply about Jerusalem; his disciples found him a donkey to ride on, so people would know he came to bring peace. The crowds gathered, like for the Santa Claus parade, and they cheered as he entered the city. They waved palm branches, and even threw their clothes on the ground, like we do with red carpet for important people. The crowds shouted "Hosanna Hosanna", which means “Save us now”. Jesus didn't like that so much; he wanted peace.  And it threatened some of the leaders, who asked Jesus to tell the crowds to be quiet. He said “If I quiet them even the stones will shout.”

Narrator 1: Jesus went to the temple.  He became angry that it had been turned into a marketplace, and he drove the bankers out. He went to the hills to pray while the leaders plotted how to get rid of him. Later on he invited his disciples to Passover dinner and in offering bread and wine told them how he would lose his life.

Narrator 2: Now I'd invite you the congregation to take part. When one of us says "That was the story then" would you please respond "And it still happens now"

Narrator 1: Jesus went to the Mount of Olives with his disciples to pray. He asked them to pray for themselves, and He went farther on, and he prayed long and hard, "God, take this cup from me, but not my will, but yours be done." When he returned, he found his disciples asleep. "Why are you sleeping?" he asked them. "Get up and pray, so that you will not fall into temptation." (Luke 22:39-46)

Disciple 1: (sadly) That was so embarrassing! Jesus told us to pray for strength; simple enough, but we fell asleep instead. I'm so sad that we let him down How often have I let down a friend or loved one when I was really needed?

Narrator 1 "That was the story then."

All: “And it still happens now."

Narrator 2: While Jesus was still speaking a crowd came up, with Judas leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him, but Jesus asked him, "Judas, do you betray me with a kiss?" (Luke 22:47-48)

Judas: (angrily) "Look I don't understand anything Jesus does or says any more.  Following him has been a waste of my time.  The world still belongs to the rich and the strong."

Narrator 2 "That was the story then."

All: “And it still happens now."

Jong Bok: Prayers for Judas* – O God, we pray for those who are disillusioned on the long journey in search of excellence. We pray for those who have compromised themselves, or sold out their loved ones and their ideals when life did not unfold according to their plan. We pray for those whose sin seems so obvious that it keeps us from looking at the little deadly betrayals we make in our own lives. We pray for those we use as scapegoats, who carry the blame and weight of our individual and collective failures. We pray for the strength to forgive those who cannot forgive themselves.

(* Adapted from a Good Friday prayer by Juanita Austin, Trinity U.C., Merritt, B.C. in Gathering, LEP, 2005, pp. 58-59.)

Narrator 1: Jesus' followers saw things were getting interesting, so they said, "Jesus, should we strike with our swords?" One of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear. Jesus interrupted, "No more of this!" He touched the man's ear and healed him. (Luke 22:49-51)

 Disciple 2: (regretfully) Sometimes I get angry; I just react without thinking. I end up hurting someone else or myself. When Judas betrayed Jesus, I was steamed. I went at one of the enemy. Jesus up and healed him, but he probably saved me from being arrested in the process."

Narrator 1 "That was the story then."

All: “And it still happens now."

Narrator 2: They seized him, and took him into the high priest’s house. As Peter sat with some of them around a fire in the courtyard, a servant girl saw him there and said, "This man was with him."
Peter denied it. "Woman, I don't know him," he said.

 Later someone else saw him: "You also are one of them."
"I am not!" Peter replied.

Again another said, "Certainly this fellow was with him, for he is a Galilean."

 Peter replied, "Man, I don't know what you're talking about!" Just then, the rooster crowed. Jesus turned and looked straight at Peter. Peter remembered what Jesus had said: "Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times." He went outside and wept bitterly. (Luke 22:54-62)

Peter: (confessionally & tearfully) I can’t believe I did that!  I denied Jesus not once, even twice , but three times!  I’ve denied the master I’ve followed and loved and promised to die for.  I’m too hung up on being liked and safe, even when I know Jesus is taking those risks and would want me to. How did he know?

Narrator 2: "That was the story then."

All: “And it still happens now."

Jong Bok: Prayers for Peter*As we reflect on the thoughts of those gathered on this Palm/Passion Sunday, God, hear our prayers for all in our world, including ourselves, who face similar dilemmas, hopes, and fears. We pray for all people who, like Peter, feel lost and confused when life does not go the way they had anticipated. We pray for all those who give up on their dreams and go back to basic survival techniques—addictions, complying with the demands of others, or getting lost in their work. We pray for all people who, like Peter, deny that they are in denial. We pray for fresh dreams and the courage to live them out.

Narrator 1: The men guarding Jesus began mocking and beating him. They blindfolded him and demanded, "Prophesy! Who hit you?" And they said many other insulting things to him. (Luke 22:63-71)

Religious Leader: (accusingly)  All these people who challenge the traditional way we’ve always done things;  -they are just trouble makers.  This Jesus character is a dangerous man  -filled with dangerous new Ideas.  We’ve have to get rid of him!

Narrator 1: "That was the story then."

All: “And it still happens now."

Jong Bok: Prayers for Caiaphas* – Holy One, we pray for religious leaders around the world and within our own faith tradition. We pray for those who have the burden of caring for the whole flock amidst the call to be prophetic, upsetting and open to the direction of the Holy Spirit. Help us to be aware when our own need for security and control subverts your holy calling. We pray for the strength to put our faith in you as you call us into a new way of being.

Narrator 2: They took Jesus to Pilate, and accused him, saying, "This man is subverting our nation. He’s against paying taxes to Caesar and claims to be Christ, a king."   Pilate asked him, "Are you the king of the Jews?"
"You say so," Jesus replied.  Pilate said to the people, "I find no basis for a charge against this man."   They insisted, "He stirs up the people all over Judea by his teaching. When Pilate found out he was a Galilean, he sent him to Herod.  Herod had been hoping to see Jesus perform a miracle. He asked him with many questions, but Jesus gave him no answer. (Luke 23:1-12)

Herod (mockingly): I was really looking forward to see this famous Jesus. I wanted to hear what he’d say for himself. But the fool just stood there and said nothing, even when we made big time fun out of him! He thinks he can change the world.  Ha!  He’ll amount to nothing

Narrator 2: "That was the story then."

All: “And it still happens now."

Hymn VU 145 – O sacred Head (verse 1 only)

Narrator 1: Pilate said to the chief priests, the rulers and the people: " I have examined this man in your presence and have found no basis for your charges against him. Neither has Herod; he has done nothing to deserve death. Therefore, I will punish him and then release him." They all cried out, "Away with this man! Release Barabbas to us instead!" Their shouts prevailed; Pilate granted their demand, released Barabbas, and handed over Jesus. (Luke 23:13-25)

Pilate (defensively): I gave Jesus every chance I could. But what was I to do? I’ve got to keep the peace.  The people were on my case; they were going to riot if I didn’t have him crucified. Last week they cheered for him, and now want him crucified. It can’t be any big deal.

Narrator 1: "That was the story then."

All: And it still happens now."

Jong Bok: Prayers for Pilate*We pray today for political leaders, those who must balance the demands of opposing views of their constituents at the municipal, provincial, or national level. Give them a heart of compassion and a head for common sense when making decisions that affect the lives of the people they govern or represent. We pray for wisdom and insight, and we pray for foresight, that we may be aware that whatever decisions we make today will affect the future of this planet and our children's children.

Narrator 2: As they led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus. (Luke 23:26)

Simon from Cyrene (with astonishment):  I had no idea what was going on. Some soldiers grabbed me and made me carry some criminal’s cross. The way that poor man looked at me, he wasn’t just thanking me; he was, well I just can’t put it into words how loved I felt.

Narrator 2: "That was the story then."

All: And it still happens now."

Narrator 1:  Two criminals were executed with him. The soldiers divided up his clothes by casting lots. Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing."
The people watched; the rulers sneered, saying, "He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Christ. They offered him wine vinegar.  The soldiers mocked him: "If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself." (Luke 23:32-38)

Soldier: (flippantly): Hey you, hot-shot King of the Jews, come on down!  Show us a miracle! What a loser. Hey Joe, its my turn to roll. Maybe I can win his cloak. Gimme the dice.

Narrator 1: "That was the story then."

All: And it still happens now."

Jong Bok: Prayers for the Soldiers*O God, there seems to be no respite from war. In a world perpetually enmeshed in battle we pray for the strength to stop destroying our brothers and sisters in the human family. As we think of the soldiers who took part in the torture and crucifixion of Jesus, we think of soldiers in our world today. We pray for those who enlist with the highest ideals to serve their country, to defend the innocent, to free the persecuted, to say "no" to demonic dictatorship. We pray for those who enlist because it seems like the only option to avoid economic poverty, or because they are conscripted and have no choice but to go. We pray for their safety and for their souls. For the peace-keeping roles they play, we are grateful. The life and death choices they must face to kill or be killed, many of us can only imagine, or do not wish to contemplate. May the wounds and scars they must forever bear on body and soul stir us to steadfastly seek your ways of peace in our families, in our communities, in our world.

Narrator 2: One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: "Aren't you the Christ? Save yourself and us!" The other criminal rebuked him. "Don't you fear God?  We are getting what we deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong; Remember me Jesus, when you come into your kingdom."
"I tell you the truth, said Jesus,  today you will be with me in paradise." (Luke 23:39-43)

 Second Criminal: Here is an innocent man in pain and dying, and he forgives the ones killing him, and comforts me at the same time. This is beyond belief. Thank-you Jesus in my darkest hour.

Narrator 2: "That was the story then."

All: “And it still happens now."

Jong Bok: Let us continue our prayer of intersession and thanksgiving.

 Prayers for Mary Magdalene* – We pray for those who have loved and lost. Holy One, be with all who grieve the loss of loved ones. Comfort them with your abiding love and sustain them with precious memories. We give thanks for those who have brought love into our lives, those who have brought out the best in us. Help us to continue to offer our best in recognition of the love we have received and continue to receive from you.

Prayers for Mary and Other Parents* – Dear God, (Holy Mary), only one who has lived through the death of their own child can know this kind of grief. Bless with your parental love all who grieve for the sake of their children. We pray for those whose children have died by accident, illness, murder, or at their own hand. We pray for all parents, grandparents, and family who live in fear for their children's lives. We pray for those whose children suffer from illness, addictions, or destructive lifestyles. We pray for those who are estranged from their children, that there may be healing of relationships and hope in our hearts once again.

Prayers for Ourselves; Concerns and Thanksgivings TodayWe give you thanks for your gifts of wisdom on our journey of searching for a new minister here at Glen Rhodes.  We are deeply grateful for the commitment and dedication of our Joint Search Committee.  As the search process comes to an end, we trust in your guidance so that they make a wise recommendation to the congregation.  May we be strengthened by our learning from the past and ready to grow into our future ministry together.

Now, in silence and aloud, we name those in our hearts who are in need of your loving presence and healing touch…

May those we name in silence and aloud find strength and courage through our prayers to continue their journey of healing.

With Jesus, we pray together, saying,

Our Mother-Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come, your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins,
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial, and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours,
now and forever. Amen.

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