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Edward F. Markquart

Amos, the Shepherd Boy

This is a drama with three parts:

The Narrator

The Voice of God (off stage)

Amos, The Shepherd Boy (Amos pantomimes several actions during the narration)

I would like to tell you a story about Amos, the shepherd boy. You need to use your imagination as you listen to this story.

You can see Amos standing over there in the pasture, in the field near Bethlehem, watching his father’s flock. You can see that Amos is about ten years old. You can see that Amos has a very tall brown stick in his hand. (Amos pantomimes and shows the shepherd staff to all as the narrator talks.) It is called a shepherd’s staff. During the time of Jesus, shepherds often used a staff such as this one. They used a shepherd’s staff for two reasons. First, they would use it as a weapon (Amos starts to use the staff as a weapon, with a jabbing motion at the congregation as if fending off attacking animals.) When wild wolves or wild dogs would attack, the shepherds would stab at them with their staff and use it as a spear. Or the shepherds would use the other end of the staff, the hook end (Amos pantomimes and points to the hook and touches the hook end) and the shepherds would reach way down down down deep into a hole (Amos pantomimes stretching and reaching way down into a hole with the staff), into a crevasse and they would pull the sheep out by the neck. The shepherd staff was the most valuable tool of every shepherd.

Now, this young boy by the name of Amos was about ten years old. (Amos pantomimes and stands straight and tall, looking out into the night sky of the congregation, trying to appear older than ten years.) Amos lived near a town called Bethlehem. His father had to go to the city to register for taxes and he called out to his son, (Amos quickly looks stage left to hear the voice of his father) “Amos.”

“Yes, father.

“Amos, I am going to be gone for two days and two nights. (Amos still looks stage left, nodding positively, assimilating what his father is saying.) You are the oldest boy in the family. You are to be the man of the family when I am gone. You stay with the sheep and take good care of them. Don’t leave our flock or field, no matter what happens. Do you understand what I mean, Amos?”

“Yes, father. I will take good care of the sheep while you are gone. I will stay with them.”

The father left for Jerusalem and that night, and Amos was all alone with the sheep and the sounds of the night. Then, something very unusual happened. Suddenly, there was a great bright light in the sky (Amos pantomimes and lifts his hand up over his eye to shield his eyes from the bright light above). It was a huge, beautiful star. Suddenly, there were thousands of angels singing (Amos exudes excitement as he looks back and forth across the night sky), “Gloria in excelsis Deo.” (Amos touches his ears.) Suddenly, the night was as bright as the day. (Amos has a look of great wonderment and surprise.) The light was bright; the night was bright; so much so that Amos could see the other shepherds and flocks of sheep on the hillsides around him. (Amos looks into the far distance.) And then, a voice, the Voice of God, or a Voice of an Angel, spoke from the starry night:

Voice of God/Angel  (a microphone voice off stage)
“Do not be afraid. (Amos is calm and listens intently to the Voice.) I bring you great news of great joy for all people. (Amos smiles broadly.) For to you is born this night, (Amos points to himself almost quizzically) in the City of David, a Savior who is Christ the Lord. Go to Bethlehem, to see my child. (Amos nods in agreement.) My child will be wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.”

All the shepherds on the hillsides heard the Voice of God or the Voice of an Angel. You could hear the shepherds calling out each other’s names in excitement, “Did you hear that? Did you hear that voice?” (Amos looks to the left and right, to the imaginary shepherds on the neighboring hillsides). You could hear the exhilaration in their voices as they said to each other, “Let’s go. Let’s go to Bethlehem and see what is happening. Let’s go and see this Holy Child.” The shepherds ran to Amos and excitedly asked him, “Come with us Amos.”

“I can’t go. I wouldn’t dare go. I promised my father that I would stay right here and take care of the flock.”

“Sorry,” the other shepherds said as they rushed away to the village of Bethlehem. (Amos waves goodbye to the other young shepherds) They left young Amos all alone that night, all alone out there in the fields, alone taking care of his flock.  Amos went and knelt down by a small fire (Amos kneels by a small fire) to keep warm (Amos warms his hands by the fire.) It was calm. It was quiet. A silent night. A holy night.

Suddenly, Amos heard this cry “Oooooooooooooooh. Oooooooooooh.” like the cry of a wild wolf. (Amos looks up and his body nervously shakes in fear.) Amos listened. And listened again carefully. (Amos cocks his ear.) Amos knew that those were the sounds of wolves and Amos became very afraid (Amos pantomimes fear.) But… a voice, a voice inside of him or a voice outside of him murmured quietly.

Voice of God/Angel 
“Amos, do not be afraid. I am with you.” (Amos pantomimes, looks around himself and within.)

“Oooooooooooh. Ooooooooooooh.” (Amos jumps to his feet in fear.) Amos’ eyes popped wide open and still wider (Amos reaches down and grabs his staff to fight). Amos knew the wolves were coming closer and closer and Amos was afraid. Amos was really afraid. (Amos front and center and ready to fight.) The Voice spoke more clearly:

Voice of God/Angel 
“Amos, do not be afraid. I am with you. I will make you strong. Trust me.”

Suddenly, the wolves leaped forward. Amos started spearing them (Amos pantomimes, spearing and fighting the wolves.), stabbing them, jabbing them, piercing them. There was growling and snarling and howling.  Finally, the wolves retreated (Amos stops, pauses, in relief) and Amos returned and sat down by the fire, quite exhausted but still afraid of the dangers lurking in the darkness. The wolves were gone. The flock was now safe. Amos sat in a prolonged silence.

As Amos sat by the fire, he heard another sound softly off in the distance. “Baaaaaah. Baaaaaah.” Amos knew that it was the sound of a lamb who had been hurt. Amos know that he had to go to help and so he took his shepherd’s staff (Amos takes his shepherd staff and walks a few paces away from the fire) and walked away from the warmth and safety of the fire.  Amos approached this huge ravine and peered (Amos peers into a deep imaginary hole) way down down down deep in the ravine. Caught, in the bramble bushes, was a little injured lamb (Amos has been looking down into the deep ravine for the injured lamb.) The lamb was so far down in that crevasse. The banks were so steep. (Amos pantomimes and spots lamb.) Amos became afraid. How was he going to reach down and get that injured little lamb out? Amos was afraid that he himself was going to fall in (Amos on his knees, stretching down into the crevasse, almost falls, and comes back, afraid, worried.) Amos was afraid. He couldn’t see the bottom but only darkened rocks. He could fall, get hurt, be killed himself. Suddenly, but softly, the Voice spoke again:

Voice of God/Angel 
“Amos. Do not be afraid. I am with you. I will help you. Trust me.

And Amos, with newfound courage, took his shepherd’ staff (Amos picks up the staff) and stretched way way way down down down into the hole and (Amos pantomimes the stretching) he got a hold of the little lamb by the neck and slowly pulled that little lamb up carefully, ever so carefully. Whew. They was close. (Amos breathes a sigh of relief.) Amos carried the little lamb back to the campfire (Amos simulates walking back to the campfire, carrying both the lamb and the staff) and bound up its broken leg. Amos was happy as he bandaged the lamb. That night, Amos finally fell asleep (Amos stretches out on the floor to sleep), not quite so afraid of the dangers in the darkness. He slept.

The next morning, all the shepherds came back from Bethlehem and they were all excited and they shouted at Amos, “Amos, Amos. Walk up. (Amos wakes up, startled.) You should have been with us last night. (Amos stands up). We saw the baby Jesus in the stable lying in the manger. We were able to touch the baby Jesus and when we touched him, we heard a Voice from heaven. Yes, we heard a voice from heaven say,  “I am with you.” (Amos nods knowingly). Amos, it is too bad that you weren’t with us last night because you would have heard God’s voice too.” Amos smiled and nodded. … And then,  and then he heard that Voice again whisper to him.

Voice of God/Angel (strong whisper) 
“Amos, I am with you …. always.” 

Amos smiled because he knew that God had been with him last night and he knew that God would be with him every night …and especially when he was afraid of dangers lurking in the darkness.

(Exit, Narrator and Amos)

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