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Pastors, Bible Study Leaders, Educators:
 
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Briefly explore a sample lesson of a new Christ-centered, Bible study, The Life of Christ. This 54 week study will enrich the spiritual life of your congregation. It offers a wide variety of great resources and visual aids from the Internet.  Thank you for your time and thoughtful consideration.
 
Blessings to you this day.
Ed Markquart, Author of this website.
 
View sample lessons

Lenten Series
The Seven Deadly Sins 



The Problem of Evil


A Contemporary Adaptation of C.S. Lewis' Screwtape Letters
By Members of Grace Lutheran Church, Des Moines, WA
David E. Cox, David Head, Darlene Malmo, Edward F. Markquart, Jauanita Minton




Chancel Dramas for Lent
The Problem of Evil
The First Deadly Sin:  SLOTH
The Second Deadly Sin:  ENVY
The Third Deadly Sin:  ANGER
The Fourth Deadly Sin:  LUST
The Fifth Deadly Sin:  GLUTTONY
The Sixth Deadly Sin:  PRIDE
The Seventh Deadly Sin:  AVARICE

PREFACE
For several years, we at Grace Lutheran Church have experimented with and used a variety of preaching-teaching forms that differ from conventional pulpit sermons.  Perhaps the most enjoyable and effective of these has been the chancel drama in which members of the congregation have joined in the creation and presentation of mini-dramas.  The Lenten season has been a particularly workable setting in which to undertake these efforts.

We have used puppet shows, monologues, dialogues, news conferences and dramas. We have found that these different forms have had overwhelmingly positive responses.  That is, the dramatization and characterization of well-known Biblical stories, themes and personalities have brought new life into old ďfriends.Ē This has been particularly effective with young people, new members and those who have become a bit stale in their faith.  Second, the involvement of congregational members in research, creation and presentation has been significant for them personally and also has been an extraordinary witness to other members of the congregation.  Third, there has been a sense of excitement and anticipation in the congregation that has shown itself in standing-room-only attendance at the Lenten worship services. Finally, for me as pastor, I have discovered that the laymanís theological thought and reflection can be both challenging and enlarging.  I cannot get by with ďpat answersĒ for I am then beaten about the head and shoulders by those who are involved with the production of the plays.

Pastor Edward F. Markquart
Grace Lutheran Church
Des Moines, WA

PRODUCTION NOTES

Characters
It is essential that each character is played by the same person throughout the series, thereby personality-identities develop.  The following are notes on the individual characters:

Good Angel:  The Good Angel should have dignity, bearing, compassion and strength. In the original cast, the role of the Good Angel was played by a woman, and the Bad Angel by a man.  As a result, the dialogue between them occasionally reflects that sexual difference.  Should a male be chosen for the part of the Good Angel, some modifications of script would be necessary.  In the scripts, G.A. will stand for the parts of the good angel.

Bad Angel:  The Satanic figure needs to have a degree of menace.  As conceived in these scripts, he is haughty, sarcastic, calculating and without respect for humans or God.  Periodically he gives way to bursts of temper. In the scripts, B.A. will stand for the parts of the bad angel.

Fred: This is the good and decent person who for the most part looks for, finds and supports that which is good, godly and just.  Like all Christians, he is given to human weakness and occasionally falls short of both Godís and his own expectations.  But there is never any doubt about his roots and orientation.

Elmer:  This is a difficult role.  The person chosen for this role must be able to play the part with abandon.  He must be a caricature of all the seven elements of sin, since his part demands that he show the dark side of humanity, sometimes overtly, sometimes subtly.

Jane:  Versatility is a requirement for this part, because she plays a multiplicity of roles.  A more experienced actress is needed.  She needs to be able to win sympathy and identification from the audience.  She has an innate sense of justice, kindness and faith that is subjected to the daily challenges of life.

Stage Directions
During this series of plays, there were two planes of existence: the human and the divine.  The divine characters can see, hear, understand, observe and react to what is occurring on stage among the humans.  The humans, on the other hand, are totally oblivious to the divine conversations.  Any time that the Good Angel (Gabriel) and the Bad Angel (Satan) are in dialog with each other, the three human characters are not aware of the divine conversation.

During the action on stage between humans, the Bad Angel will make a sudden loud noise (clap his hands, strike the pulpit), and the humans will freeze in place.  Time and movement stop and then a separate dialogue will begin involving the Bad Angel.  At the end of their dialogue, Satan again makes a loud noise and action on stage continues between the humans.

In each play, there will be a ďdivine dustingĒ.  At a crucial moment, Fred will come near the ever-present Good Angel and she puts ďangel dustĒ (glitter) on him. The dusting effect is heightened by an accompanying bell sound from the organ.  This indicates that the power of God is working on him and Fredís next speech reflects the Wisdom of God (the Word of God) directed at the specific human situation.  This Wisdom is in the form of plain and ordinary human conversation.

These chancel dramas will be played out in a variety of physical settings.  Your imagination will be required in fitting the play to the environment, but with the exception of the ďGluttonyĒ script, the settings are sparse and uncomplicated.  At Grace Lutheran Church, we worked around a setting that included a communion rail, a large cross, a pulpit and a large table.  The play within a play Ė that involving Fred, Jane and Elmer Ė took place almost exclusively within the boundaries established by the communion rail.  The Good Angel was at all times positioned within the ďholy of holiesĒ, standing on a foot-high stool or on a ladder appropriately draped with white fabric, near but above the action of the humans.  She is constantly watching and reacting to them.  The Bad Angel was always restricted to prowling and posturing outside the communion rail.  He too, is watching and responding to the human dilemma.  In the ďGluttonyĒ script, there was a requirement for a restaurant/bar setting and the pulpit was removed to make way for one of the tables. Within your setting, you may be blessed with more open and flexible space and therefore be able to employ a more theatrical set.  Our space was limited but provided no production problems.

The Influence of C. S. Lewis
C. S. Lewisís SCREWTAPE LETTERS inspired this series of chancel dramas.  In the LETTERS, we listen in on Screw tapeís conversation with Wormwood, his agent.  Through the LETTERS, we are exposed to Screw tapeís thoughts and motivations.  Likewise, in this series of dramas, the audience hears the conversations between Satan and Gabriel and watches their influences on Fred, Elmer and Jane.

The thought and phrasing of C. S. Lewis are interlaced throughout the plays.  We utilized his humor, e.g., Satan ďgoing out for lunchĒ exuding, ďIíll be damned!Ē  We borrowed Lewisís concept of ďpatientĒ Jane on whom both Fred and Elmer are working.  We use his apologetics from SURPRISED BY JOY: a Design to the universe logically presupposes a designer; a moral design presupposes a moral designer.  But most importantly, we retained his concept of Satan being a lesser power than God.  In the preface to SCREWTAPE, Lewis indicates that if we place Satan in face-to-face combat with God, we imply Satan has power equal with Godís.  This is not true.  Satan is not equal to God; rather he is simply a fallen angel, equivalent in stature to Gabriel or any of the other archangels.  Consequently, in these chancel dramas, God is never in direct combat with Satan.  It is a battle between two lesser powers:  Satan and Gabriel.

In these chancel dramas, the most troublesome character was Elmer.  At some point Elmer works almost as a direct agent of Satan.  During a ďfreezeĒ Satan will call him over for further consultation.  At the end of the ďfreezeĒ Elmer then enters back into the action with Jane and Fred.  At such times, Elmer doesnít seem to be fully conscious that he is working as an agent of the devil, but he is. Elmer becomes the personification of temptation to draw another person (Jane, the patient in the middle) into doing evil. 



The First Play in the Cycle of The Seven Deadly Sins

The Problem of Evil

AN INTRODUCTION  

G.A.:
(Making a stately, flowing entrance) I am an angel. I am a messenger of God. You remember me.  Iíve been in all of your coloring books in Sunday school.  I have been present at the unfolding of Godís will throughout history.  I stood guard at the gates of the Garden of Eden.  I brought messages to Abraham and Moses, to the kings and prophets of the Old Testament.  And I appeared before Mary and Joseph and shepherds during the birth of Jesus.  In fact, when Jesus was in the wilderness, I ministered to him. I brought messages to the Apostles Paul and Philip. And sometimes we angels bring messages to you.  I was created in God, through God, and for God.  I am an angel.

B.A.:
(Making a purposeful, dramatic entrance) I am an angel.  I also appear throughout your history. I was in the Garden of Eden and I too was in the wilderness.  I am still present in peopleís lives, influencing their imaginations and affecting their actions.  I was also created by God, but we had a ďfalling outĒ and I am no longer the slave of Heaven.  I am the ruler of hell.  I am called Satan, Lucifer, Beelzebub, I am the Prince of Darkness.

G.A.:
I hear you over there, Satan, prowling around like a roaring lion waiting for someone to devour.

B.A.:
We all have our hungers, Madam, but you do not do justice to my style.  I do not need to roar much any more, for there are so many who so easily find that my little offerings, my little appetites, provide spice to their otherwise drab and dreary lives.  Indeed, there are many that doubt that I even exist.  A case in point is that classroom over there.  The learned professor is a current acquaintance of mine and he is planting seeds of doubt about my Ė our Ė existences in that lovely ladyís mind.  When he succeeds, as he surely will, my lunch will be prepared and I need not roar anymore.  Shall we watch?

G.A.:
Yes, let us watch for there is one of us with her.

Elmer:
(The Professor) Class, to summarize my lecture this evening, I have five specific points I would like to have you note.  The first point is this: It is illogical to assume that there are other forces such as Satan in the world.  On the other hand, it is logical to assume that there is nothing except that which can be seen.  The second point: God as a concept or figure within human consciousness is more a product of wishful thinking and a reflection of pagan escapism.  The third point: the concept of demons and angels is for the realm of fantasy, not reality.  Point four:  the concept of good -relating to light, and evil -relating to darkness, are not more than our irrational fears of childhood rather than an absolute cosmic force involved in our lives.  The fifth and last point: it would be better for us to be honest with ourselves and go through life as realists rather than dreamers  (Pauses and looks at watch) I do see that our time is up, so weíll continue this discussion at another time.  Class is dismissed.  (Begins to leave)

Jane:
(Raising hand wildly) Professor, could you wait just a minute?  I am really confused by this lecture today.  Could you tell me just a little more?  Could I have some of your time?

Elmer:
My dear, I really do have another appointment.  I think that you, being a college student should be able to use your mind and your intellect.  You struggle with these problems for a while.  Perhaps you can come up with some answers.  Good day.  (Professor exits and goes to stand near Satan)

Jane:
Oh boy!  (To self)  And I need this philosophy credit.  Why did I sign up for this turkey for a professor? (Turning to Fred)  Got a minute, Fred?

Fred:
I sure do, Jane.  What is it?

Jane:
I donít know.  Iíve never taken Philosophy before, so Iím really confused.  Iím not sure that I understood what he said.

Fred:
Well, what do you think you just heard him say?

Jane:
One thing especially bothered me.  I think he said there really is no God and no Satan either.  Iíve spent my whole life believing that God has been present with me, directing leading, comforting, and strengthening me and that there has been another power, an evil power, pulling me away from God.  Is that childish?

Fred:
Thatís what I heard him saying - the belief in God is childish, a fantasy, and so is a belief in the power of evil. I think that basically the Professor is a materialist. Philosophically, the only thing he believes in is that which he can see, touch and feel.

Jane:
I see.  But thereís something else.  If he believes that faith in God is childish, irrational, stupid, perhaps my friends have similar thoughts about Christianity.  So some of them think the same way?  How can I share my faith with them if that is what they are thinking?  Oh, boy?  What do I believe!

(Audible dialogue on center stage ceases.  The dialogue between the Professor and Satan takes place at stage left.)

B.A.:
Well done, Elmer. You have planted well Ė seeds of doubt, questions, uncertainty, and skepticism.  Your spices are excellent.  I so enjoy planting seed of doubt.  I want her to question everything, and besides, I donít like that guy with her.

(Good Angel dusts Fred who is standing near her.  A new insight slowly dawns on him.)

Fred:
You know, Jane.  I just got an idea.  Remember those stories in the Bible?  Especially the creation story?

Jane:
Yes?

Fred:
There was the devil, Satan.  Remember?  Satan was a serpent.  In the Bible, it said that the devil is a liar.  He is a deceiver.  His number one deception is to get us to believe that he doesnít exist, that there is no power of evil at work in this world.  Well, thatís what the Professor is trying to do.  Heís trying to get you to believe that the power of evil doesnít exist.  It is all a great deception by Satan.  Satan is once again trying to play his tricks on us, so it seems to me.

Jane:
What you say sounds convincing.  But, Fred, this lecture makes me see that a lot of what we believe seems like fantasy and fairy tale.  Whoís going to believe in a devil with a black cape and angels in white robes?  But, you know, I have believed in those two powers, the powers of good and evil.  Is it an illusion?

Fred:
An illusion? Jane, look around you.  Look at the wars and starvation.  Look at the barbaric things people do to each other.  Is that an illusion?  If anybody is living under an illusion, itís our fair professor who doesnít look around and see this cosmic evil force at work in the world.  Heís the one who is living under an illusion.  At least it seems so to me.

Jane:
Youíre right...there is evil in the world.  That fact cannot be denied.  And there is a power of good, too.  How could I let him encourage my doubts like that?  I feel so guilty for even having these doubts.

Fred:
Doubts, doubts.  Jane, we all have them.  God gave us minds to use.  Itís only animals that donít doubt.  God gave you an exceptionally fine brain and God wants you to use it.  Itís inevitable that we would have doubts.  Thatís what it is to be a human being.  Itís nothing to feel guilty about, thatís for sure.

Jane:
But I've been a follower of Jesus my whole life.  How could I be   so stupid to fall into this trap?

Fred:
Thatís not stupid?  Itís not a matter of intelligence or lack of it to believe in God.  There are very intelligent people who believe in God and very intelligent people who donít.  Itís a matter of faith.  Faith, Jane.  Itís a matter of our deepest intuitions of the heart toward God.

(Professor Elmer re-enters to center stage.  Bad Angel returns, remaining at left side.)

Jane:
Oh, there is the Professor now.  (Jumps up, going to Professor)  Professor, have you got a minute?

Elmer:
Yes, my dear.

Jane:
If I understand you correctly, you think that the idea of good and evil is a fantasy.  Is that right?

Elmer:
Thatís correct.

Jane:
But, Professor, how do you explain that?  There really is evil in the world.  There is injustice.  There is awful violence, hatred, crime, abuse and starvation.

(Action is interrupted by loud sound.  Characters of Jane and Fred freeze.  Bad Angel, wearing a big, red dinner napkin tucked in at the neck, comes closer to center stage to talk to Elmer.)

B.A.
What are you doing in there?  Here I am ready to eat and youíre letting the chicken out of the pot.  Sheís coming right at you.  Sheís confronting you and you know that we do not do well when that happens.  Now get out of there!

(Sudden loud sound to restart the action.  Bad Angel goes to side in a huff.  Elmer again turns to Jane.)

Elmer:
The only struggles that I really think youíre having are with your mind and your misguided emotions.  But I really feel you need...

(Fred comes between Professor and Jane)

Fred:
Professor.  Professor.

Elmer:
I have an appointment for lunchÖ

Fred:
Professor, please.  You said it was a matter of logic, but it seems your unwillingness to recognize the existence of evil is a result of your own blindness and therefore, is illogical.

Elmer:
Illogical?

Fred:
I submit that there is a design to the universe.  If there is   a design, logic concludes there must be a designer.  A design logically presupposes a designer.

Elmer:
Blind Prejudice!

Fred: 
You were the one who lectured about the sociologist, Margaret Mead, and she said that was a moral design found in all the cultures of the world.  If there is a moral design, there must be a moral designer!

(Sudden noise again freezing Fred and Jane.  Satan returns in a rage)

B.A.
Now youíve done it. (Pause)  Weíre going to have to go out to eat!  (Jerks napkin from neck)  There are a lot of others out there for us.  And for her, for him (pointing) there will be another time.  For us, for now weíre going to have to get the ďhellĒ out of here!

(Loud noise restarts action.  Bad Angel storms toward the door, pausing for Elmerís remarks)

Elmer:
(To Fred) I think youíre wrong.  You MUST be wrong.  You have your own problems, and I donít have time to discuss this.  I donít have to justify my lecture to you.  I must leave.  (Exits)

Jane:
Strange, how come he got so uncomfortable when we brought these things up and then he seemed to run away?

Fred:
You know, Jane, it seems to me that a person canít prove God and we canít disprove God either.  We canít prove the power of evil. We canít disprove it.  We can discuss and argue all day but itís all a matter of faith.  God gets inside your heart. And when he does, you start to believe.  Maybe when we draw near to God and God to us, doubt and disbelief run away.  Thatís what happens. Got time for a cup of coffee?

Jane:
Yes I do.  Iíd like to talk about this some more.  (Both exit)

G.A.:
(From her lofty stand) Satan, did you enjoy your lunch?  (Laughs at Satan)

B.A.:
(Throws red napkin toward Good Angel and exits) 


Back to Dramas




The First Deadly Sin: Sloth 

Jane:
(Working at an office-like setting) Letís see where was I now?  Ah, yes, the invoices.  (Sneezes, coughs) So much to get done here.  (Works inconspicuously during Angelís dialogue)

G.A.:
(Enters and takes her place on the stool) I am the angel of the Lord. I was created for Godís work and Godís use.  I am Godís messenger. Often, the message I carry is a call to action,   ďArise, go, do!Ē  Godís words are very plain.  God wants you believers to be doers of the Word and not hearers only.  (Pause) Oh look, here comes Elmer Ė late from lunch again.  And look behind him.  Satan again.  He doesnít know love or truth, justice or beauty, caring or compassion.  He corrupts and destroys all that he touches.  Unfortunately and sadly, he is influencing Elmer.  Letís listen to the thoughts.

(Elmer enters, Bad Angel just behind.  They pause near the rail, Elmer studies office setting and thinks out loud)

Elmer:
Oh-oh.  Two oíclock.  Lunch got a little long today.  Jane will be back there working away, being noble. She bothers me.  What a goody-two shoes.  She gives the rest of us a bad name.  Iíd sure like to catch her taking the petty cash or snuggling up to the boss or something.  Iíd like to bring her down a few pegs

B.A.:
And you can, Elmer.  Donít worry about the big obvious sins.  As difficult as it may be for you, try something more subtle.  Promote sloth Ė itís something you know a lot about

Elmer:
She wears you out at work Ė maybe I can distract her a little bit Ė get her productivity in line with good old Elmer standards.

B.A.:
Good thinking, Elmer.  But donít you have another problem?

Elmer:
She comes off like some saint.  Sheís always involved in some causes like the hungry and the homeless or teaching Sunday school or just being a help to somebody.  Sheís one of those Christian do-gooders.  She makes me want to lie down and have a nap.

B.A.:
So she acts on what she believes?   So destroy the will to do and act.  Show her that her efforts are pitiful and puny, that the problems she faces are insurmountable.  Blind her to the obvious needs close at hand an all around her.  Make hers a faith without works and she will become no better than you and you wonít have to fret.  Now go.

Jane:
(Counting and writing) Six of these...

Elmer:
Hi there. Howíre you doing?

Jane:
Well, welcome back from lunch.  (Checks watch)   I was beginning to think you had disappeared from the face of the earth.

Elmer:
Yes, well, I was slightly detained.  I had a devil of a time getting away.  (Back to work.)

Jane:
I see.  Letís get with it here.

Elmer:
I think youíd be quite interested in what I was thinking about during lunch.

Jane:
Actually, what Iím quite interested in is getting this work done.  You know?  The stuff we were hired by this company to do?  What weíre here for, eight hours a day.  Here, check these invoices, will you?  (Gives him a stack)

Elmer:
You know, I really think what we talked about at lunch would interest you a great deal with all your church and social activities and community involvement and these things.  (He thumbs through the stack and while Jane is pre-occupied with her files, he slips most of them back in her stack during the next few lines)

Jane:
(Continuing to work) What are you talking about?

Elmer:
My conversation during lunch.

Jane:
Canít it wait?  (Sneeze, cough)  You know we have to get this report out before the end of the day.  Letís talk bout it tomorrow.  Okay?

Elmer:
That fine with me, but I thought someone with your, ah, (sarcastically) Ďsocial consciousnessí would be more interested in the worldís problems than you seem to be.

Jane:
Well, of course I am interested.  (Puts down pen and papers) Elmer, would you just say it and get it over with.  What is it?

Elmer:
I was thinking at lunch that humans waste a lot of time, hustling around, so busily scurrying about.  They fret about so many problems in this world about which they really canít do anything.  (Through the next few lines, Elmer is playing with a video game, eating candy, tossing a coin, drinking water, pacing around, etc.)

Jane:
(Thoughtfully) I donít know.  I never thought of it as a waste of time.

Elmer:
Oh, it is Jane. Come on. You, me, our presence in this world is really nothing.  Weíre insignificant.  Think about it!  Youíve read the papers.  Youíve seen the newscasts.  War, hunger, pestilence.  Millions of people in this world seem to suffer from those calamities.  The statistics...

Jane:
True, true.

Elmer:
The statistics make me sick. Itís terrible.  I think the problem is that nobody in all the history of the world has been able to solve these massive problems. Youíre a Christian.  What do your Scriptures say?  ďThereís nothing new under the sun,Ē including starvation.

Jane:
Well, yes, in a way.  Thatís true.

Elmer:
Think about it.  None of us, even you Christians, can solve the problems of the world. And why should we? In the long run, it really doesnít matter.

Jane:
(Working) Sounds pretty pessimistic.

Elmer:
No, wait a second.  Iíve got an example for you.  Youíre involved in the world hunger program at your church, arenít you?  (Still playing)

Jane:
Yes, I am.

Elmer:
That makes you feel good, doesnít it?

Jane:
At least Iím doing something!

Elmer:
I imagined it would make you feel good.  How much do you give?  A couple of dollars a week probably?

Jane:
It doesnít matter.

Elmer:
Think about it.  Your money probably feeds two or three meals to some little starving urchin.

Jane:
Urchin?

Elmer:
Thatís really fine.  You keep that little one alive for about an extra week.  Then there are millions of others who starve.  That poor fellow youíve kept alive is probably retarded from lack of nutrition.  Itís a waste of your time and money.  Why should he be kept alive?  Itís a waste to society.  It just adds to the problem.  Admit it.  Everything you do amounts to nothing.  What do you think about that?

Jane:
Elmer, that is sick!  Iíve always felt it was worth something.  So would it be better to do nothing?

(Fred enters, looking for Jane)

Fred:
Jane?  Jane?

Jane:
Hi Fred, over here.

Fred:
Iíve been looking all over for you.

Jane: 
Come into our office.  (She looks down to continue work.  Fred walks past G.A. and gets dusted with her sprinkles).

Fred:
Your office is hard to find.

Jane:
How are you doing, Fred?

Fred:
Well.  Really well.

Jane:
Elmer, have you met Fred?  Fred works upstairs.

Elmer:
(Comes around from playing and grabs some invoices) Iím sorry.  I would like to chat a minute but Iím really quite busy.  (Acts really busy for a moment)

Jane:
Whatís up Fred?

Fred:
I hate to bother you during work, but our friend, Sarah, is sick.  Sheís at the hospital.  I was there last night when her laboratory tests came back and itís bad news.  Sheís afraid.  I was hoping that you would go to see her.  She mentioned you.  She said,  ďI appreciate Janeís friendship.Ē  Do you have time to go to see her?

Jane:
Well.  (Delaying)  Iím sorry to hear that.  I really am a little short of time.  You know I work here for a long shift and Iíve got my family at home.  Time is a problem.

Fred:
Yes, I know.  Weíre all busy.  Perhaps if you could call her every day and see her every other day, you could help her with some of her fears.  I know she would appreciate it.

Jane:
Every day?  Thatís quite a commitment and I donít know if I have that much time.  (Elmer starts playing around again)

Fred:
I know that weíre all short of time, but right now she is so discouraged.  She is so depressed.

Jane:
Sarah discouraged and depressed?  She is always in a crisis.  For her those are chronic conditions.

Fred:
Yes. Thatís true. If anybody is a complainer, itís Sarah.  She complains to you.  She complains to me.  If anybody has problems, itís Sarah.  But even so, she wants us to see her, to visit her.

Jane:
But, Fred?  You say sheís really sick this time.  If thatís so, I feel inadequate to visit her.  I canít do anything to make her feel better or to get her well.  I canít change her attitude or her condition.  Listen, Iím just not the person.  If I canít do it right, I donít want to do it at all.

Fred:
Then none of us can visit or call because none of us do it perfectly.  But we can all give the gift of listening.  Thatís one of the kindest deeds we can do for someone in trouble.  Sarah does need us, I guarantee...

Jane:
Okay... Iíll squeeze the time in to see her.

B.A.:
(Freezes action with loud sound) Elmer!  Youíre supposed to be pushing sloth, not practicing it!  This fellow is getting to her.  She is beginning to listen, and youíre just sitting there twiddling your thumbs.  You get back in there and start cooking.  Throw some names at her.  Call her a do-gooder, a bleeding heart liberal.

Elmer:
This isnít working.

B.A.
Then tell her that itís a dog-eat-dog world and she had better take care of number one.  Let the others take care of themselves.  You persuade her that in this world, she is flying solo and nobody else cares.

Elmer:
Got to do something.

B.A.
One other thing.  Faith without works is dead, dry.  And remember, dead faith, thinly sliced, smothered in a sauce of sloth is one fine dish!

(Loud noise.  Action commences.  B.A. leaves)

Elmer:
Fred, Jane.  Iím sorry.  I didnít mean to eavesdrop but I have been listening to your conversation.  I understand your concern for your friend, Jane, but you shouldnít be visiting in any hospital right now.

Jane:
(Coughs) Oh?  Why not?

Elmer:
You have a cold.

Jane:
Oh, well, you...

Elmer:
It has affected your performance here at work.  Our paper work has really gone down with you being sick.

Fred:
Jane, I think heís right.  If you have a cold, itís not a time to visit someone in the hospital.  Iíll go and visit her today.  You go home, take some Vitamin C, drink some orange juice, and maybe in a couple of days you could go and see her.

Jane:
I could still call her, even with a cold.

Fred;
Yes, thatís a good idea.

Elmer:
But Iíve noticed something else, Jane.  Youíve really been tired lately.  Youíve been depressed.  (Jane looks up, puzzled)  You go around and help everybody else in the world, but Iíve never seen you take care of yourself.  Really.  I think that you need to start looking out for your own interests.  You donít do that enough.

Fred:
I would agree that Jane should be tired after all the work she does in this office.  It seems that someone else isnít doing their part!  Even so, when you go and visit someone, help someone like Sarah, it makes you feel better.  It invigorates you!  It builds you up.

Jane:
Thatís true in my experience, I must admit.  When Iíve helped someone, it gives me new energy.

Fred:
No doubt about it.  A person can feel so much better.

Elmer:
(Sarcastically) Oh, you feel so much better.  What a line!  You have a bleeding heart dripping all over your sleeve.  ďYou feel so much better.Ē  Thatís nice for your emotions but does it help her at all?  I think not.  (To Jane)  You have to look out for yourself and forget the rest of the world.  Why donít you leave this Freddie friend of yours alone?  Heís really a pain.

Fred:
Elmer?

Elmer:
Yes, Fred?

Fred:
(Pause)  Do you ever help anyone?

Elmer:
(Pause)  I donít have time to.  Iím a very busy man.  (Exits in a huff)

Fred:
Boy, some work associate you have here.

Jane:
Yes.

Fred:
Well, listen, Iíve got to get back to work.  Just remember that Sarah needs us.

Jane:
Iíll see what I can do.  Nice to see you, Fred.

Fred:
Good to see you too.  Bye.  (Fred exits)

Jane:
(to herself) Oh boy!  I donít know what to do.  (Elmer enters)

Elmer:
The nerve of that guy!  Coming in here and telling you what to do, and then he insults the integrity of my work.  Who does he think is?  Why should you have to go visit this hypochondriac anyway?

Jane:
She may really be sick this time.  It sounds as though she is.  Even if she isnít, one way or the other, I know sheís alone and afraid.  She just may need some comfort from somebody who cares about her.

Elmer:
Truly my heart is touched.  But why do you have to be Fredís angel of mercy?

Jane: 
I wouldnít do it for Fred, Iíd do it for Sarah. And maybe, hmmm, Maybe (looking away) Iíd be doing it because Jesus said so.

Elmer:
Oh, the bells of heaven!  I just heard them!  You and your Christian holiness.  Itís just a crock!  I tell you, I donít see why she is your responsibility.  You never take care of yourself and if you keep on going like this, youíre going to do yourself in soon.

Jane:
Weíre all going to die, Elmer.  And you can either give your life some meaning or not.  Itís up to you.  (Pause)  I guess you just donít understand, do you?

Elmer:
I never understand frivolousness on anybodyís part.  (checks watch)  Oh, excuse me, I just noticed its five minutes to quitting time.  I want to beat the traffic going home.  See you tomorrow.  Bye. (exits)

Jane:
He just doesnít get it.  (Thoughtfully)  Of course, there is some truth to what he says.  Sarah is a pain at times.  Visiting or calling her every day could be a real drag.  (Pause)  Still, she does need someone - someone who cares.  And I do care.  (Stuffs papers into a mailer and exits)

G.A.:   
Lord, the sin of sloth is so pervasive in this world.  Itís a sin that thinks one person canít make a difference; says, ďitís hopeless, what can I do?Ē  It quits too soon, cares too little, gives up too easily and sometimes doesnít even get involved.  Lord, what message would you have me bring?  (Pause) I hear you, Lord.  Arise!  Go!  Do!  (G.A. exits)

Back to Dramas



The Second Deadly Sin: Envy

Scene:
Modern living room:  sofa, chair, end table and lamp.
 

Costumes:
Fred, tie loosened, no jacket, sleeves rolled up.
Elmer, suit and tie.
Jane, dressed as a teen-ager

Props:
Books and hair brush for Jane. Newspaper for Fred, on table.

Special Notes:
Bad Angel appears only at the beginning

Jane needs the gestures and nuances that are popular with the young people. Her voice, when she is emotional, needs to reflect the typical teen-age attitude.


As the scene opens, Fred takes his place at center stage, reading the newspaper.

G.A.:
(Enters down center aisle)

I am an angel, a messenger of God and an observer of the world.  God created a paradise for those He loved, a Garden of Eden in which all that people needed was available to them.  But Satan, that fallen angel, came into the Garden and tempted them with that which was not theirs to have.  The seeds of envy were sown.  Godís creatures disobeyed, coveting that which could not be given or guaranteed to them.

B.A.:
(Entering from the back.  Begins his talk as he nears the front)

My, my!  You sound frustrated tonight.

G.A.:
Lucifer, itís you again.

B.A.:
Things arenít going well for you, apparently.  Donít despair.  Itís not your fault that your God created humans who are defective--so gullible, short-sighted, and selfish.  I am trying to correct the situation.  I think it only proper to offer men and women a menu of things that they might like to have, indeed, what should be theirs ó if only the world that your God created were a fairer place.

G.A.:
You distort and pervert everything.  You offer nothing of value and nothing that lasts.  You create false wants and false appetites.  Your so-called menu is built on envy that is poisonous to the soul.

B.A.:
You might recall that the name of the game is the soul!  Frankly, your God appears to have made another mistake.  If God were so concerned about Envy, God should have created everyone as equals, dividing among the people all the looks, wit, intelligence, success and wealth in the world.  But, no, not in Godís world!  There are all sorts of losers out there and you canít blame them for wanting their fair share.

G.A.:
You suggest a world of sameness.  How utterly boring!  Equality is important only in the permanent gifts of God, love and grace.  There are no losers on that score in Godís creation.

B.A.:
There you go up on your pedestal again, talking about the Ďforeverísí, while people are buried in their Ďtodayísí.  With mortals, envy is here to stay.  I find it a very useful and efficient temptation.  I just plant it and it grows by itself.  (Gestures to the stage)  Here, look at this family.  I have created a poem for the occasion.

I have planted seeds of envy here,
And so Iím free to go.
You may want to wait awhile,
And watch my garden grow.

(B.A. exits with loud laughter)

Jane:
(Entering from side with schoolbooks.  She shows great anger in her stride and attitude)  Aaaaaargh! (Plops books down on table.)

Fred:
Jane!  Jane, what is wrong with you?

Jane:
(Sarcastically)  Whatís wrong?  Ha!  Whatís right?  Everythingís wrong.  The school is just grody!  The students make me gag!  Barf! (Finger mockingly put down throat)

Fred:
Jane!

Jane:
And the faculty!  The faculty sucks rotten eggs.

Fred:
Sucks rotten eggs? That sounds terrible.  My daughter doesnít talk that way.  Youíre just too nice a young lady to use that language!

Jane:
Oh?  If Iím such a nice young lady, why didnít I get the Outstanding Student Award that Gail Jones got?  (Turns her back, crossing her arms and disgusted)

Fred:
Who?  Gail Jones won?  Well, you were at least nominated.  You were one of the finalists.  You should be pleased that you were a part of the competition.  Itís an honor even to be nominated.  What are you so sour about?

Jane:
Some honor  (Turns back to Fred)  Look, Dad, I never seem to win anything.  I donít do anything right!  Iím just not lucky.  Now, Gail Jones, sheís lucky!  Sheís got beautiful clothes (gesturing to her body) and she looks great in them.  She gets good grades, has a (smiling with a phony grin) nice personality.  She has everything I donít have!

Fred:
You know, Jane?  Iíve never heard you sound so jealous.

Jane:
(Ignoring him)  I canít stand to go to school tomorrow.  Everybody will be there to make a big fuss over Gail Jones.   La-de-da!  Hot stuff!  (Crosses stage as she starts fussing with her hair)  Iím not going to school.

Fred: 
You are too.  Iím ashamed of the way youíre talking.  Now pick up your book.  You sound like a little brat!

Jane:
Sure!  Why donít you get on my case too!  Everybody else is.  Join
the group.

Fred:
Oh, Jane, you know I love you.  (Moving toward her, dusted by angel Ė change of heart)

Jane:
(Starting to break down a bit) I feel put down and embarrassed and I just...

Fred:
Oh, Jane, Jane...(Hugs her)

Jane:
(Crying) I donít feel very good about it, Dad.  I thought I could be the best.

Fred:
You are the best!  Youíre the best daughter your Mom and I have.

Jane:
(Hand on hips) Iím your only daughter!

Fred: 
Youíre a wonderful gift to us from God.  We love you sooooo much.

Jane:
But why didnít I win the award?

Fred: 
Why did you need to win?  For some reason you need to be better than Gail.  You need to be better than all the other kids.  You need to be the best!  That's a miserable way to live, Jane, always having to be number one.  It's a bad disease.  I know.  My mother had it, I have it, and now youíve inherited it!  Itís a bad way to live.

Jane:
Oh, Dad.  Stop lecturing.

Fred:
I am not lecturing.  Iím just telling you the truth.  Youíll be miserable.  Youíll always be scrambling to get ahead of somebody, always comparing yourself, always sizing yourself up against others.

Jane:
I must admit that I havenít been very happy today.  Itís been terrible.

Fred:
AND ITíLL GET WORSE.  Youíll turn sour inside and you wonít have any peace.  Envy becomes a deadly disease, always seeking the top and always seeing someone else who has what you want.  It kills inner happiness kills contentedness within you.  It destroys genuine self-confidence.

Jane:
Oh, Dad.  Sometimes I just get jealous and I donít know what to do.  What can I do?  (Plunks down in the chair)

Fred:
Iím not sure if Iím the person to ask, since I used to get envious myself when I was younger.  But, I think the first step is to honestly recognize what you are feeling.  Then you can ask God to forgive you and help you with the problem.  And, be glad with what God has given you.  Look at all the good gifts you have.  Be glad for that.  You can be glad for what God has  given Gail Jones (Jane pretends to barf.)  No, Jane, if you live that way, always jealous of the Gail Jones of life, you are never going to be happy.

Jane:
I know.  It is just so hard.  Iíll have to think about it some more.  (Fred pats Janeís back)

Fred:
Okay, that sounds good.

Jane:
Iím going to do some homework and cry!  (exits with books)

Fred:
(Sits back down with paper)  Kids!  Oh, boy!  Being a parent is tough. (knock heard at door)  Yes, come on in.

Elmer:
(entering)  Hi there, Fred.

Fred:
Hi, Elmer.  How are you doing?

Elmer:
(gloating obviously)  Oh, reeeeeeeeaaaaally fine!

Fred:
Good to see you, neighbor.

Elmer:
Say, I thought Iíd better bring back your tennis racket.

Elmer:
Hey, this is the best day of my life.

Fred:
Best day of your life?  What happened?

Elmer:
You havenít heard?

Fred:
What?

Elmer:
You know that promotion theyíve been talking about down at the plant?

Fred:
Yes, of course.

Elmer:
I got the promotion!

Fred:
Youíve got to be kidding.  (shocked)

Elmer:
No, it is mine!  I found out about it this morning.

Fred:
You!  You!  (unbelieving)

Elmer:
Itís fantastic.

Fred:
I donít believe it.  Iím so surprised.  I just canít. . .

Elmer:
I know you were kind of counting on the promotion yourself.

Fred:
Yes, youíre right.

Elmer:
I was surprised too! (in a boastful manner) I canít imagine why they felt I was more qualified than you (buffing nails on his chest).

Fred:
More qualified!  More qualified?  I trained you!  I trained all the other young people in the corporation.  Why did they want me to train all you young rookies?  It was because I know the job better than anyone else.  You are more qualified?  Nonsense!

Elmer:
Fred, you know I donít doubt your work record.  You did train me and you trained me well.

Fred:
Yes, youíd better believe it.

Elmer:
But, after all, you came into the company without a college degree.  I didnít.

Fred:
So?

Elmer:
There are other facts to consider too.

Fred:
(musing to self) Why would they do this to me?

Elmer:
Your age...

Fred:
What about my age? (Defensively)

Elmer:
Youíre past fifty-something.

Fred:
Meaning!

Elmer:
Iím only forty.

Fred:
So!

Elmer:
Think about it.  Youíre older.  Iím younger.  Iíve got my degree.  I have more energy.  I can handle a lot of stress, the problems of the plant.

Fred:
Sure, sure.  More strength. More energy. More education.  What about my maturity and wisdom?  Donít they mean anything?  My experience in the business.  You may be younger, but Iím certainly more efficient.  I know all the short cuts.  I canít believe this!  I was counting on that promotion.

Elmer:
I was talking with Norm just the other day...

Fred:
I suppose you mean Norman Blakeley, the chairman of the board. 

Elmer:
Yes, Norm really likes my ideas.  Norm recognized by talents a long time ago when I married his daughter.

Fred:
Sure, sure he did.  Now I understand.

Elmer:
Come on, Fred.  Weíve been friends a long time.  You know Iíve contributed greatly to the plant. I didnít come over here to get you angry or make you my enemy.  Weíve been friends and neighbors too long for that.  In fact, Iím really going to need your support.  You have so much wisdom and insight to share with me so we can get the job done.  Can we do it together, Fred?  Iím counting on your help.

Fred:
Iíll do the job Iím paid to do!  (a slight bitter edge to his voice)

Elmer:
Whoa!  Canít talk about it.  Later.  I really have to run.  Brendaís planning a little celebration tonight.  This is such an exciting evening for us.  See you tomorrow.  (goes to door)

Fred:
Yeah, Ďbye.  (Elmer leaves)  (to himself)  I donít believe it.  Iíve worked for that company for thirty years.  I trained all of those people.  I deserve that job.  I need it with kids heading for college.  That young punk! (Shakes head) Jane was right.  This whole world sucks rotten eggs!

Jane:
(entering) Hey, Dad?

Fred:
(distracted) Oh, yes, Jane.

Jane:
Dad, sometimes youíre just totally awesome.  Iíve been thinking about some of the things you said and I realize that God does make each person special.  Everyone has his own gifts.  Even Gail Jones has some gifts.  And I have some gifts, too.  And you! You have some very special gifts.  You know what, Dad?  I love you.

Fred:
Those two conversations.  You donít know how much I needed to hear that!  You are a real blessing to me, to my whole life.

Jane:
Maybe Mom needs some help in the kitchen.

Fred:
Letís go see her.  (They start to exit)

Jane:
Youíre the best Dad I ever had.  (Both laugh)

Fred:
Iím glad!  (Exit) 

G.A.:
Satan, you planted those seeds of envy in this family.  But there was a stronger planting.  It is called love.

Back to Dramas



The Third Deadly Sin: Anger

Scene:  
Old house.  Living room setting.

Costumes:  
Jane, Fred and Elmer are all dressed as adults in casual clothing.

Props:
Old photo album
Two coffee mugs
Two-edged sword
 

Special Notes:  A phonograph could be used to play a little Christmas music while Elmer and Jane look at the photo album, then slowly turned down.

(Good Angel goes to the front, carrying a large two-edged sword held in front of her)

G.A.:
Fear not.  I am the angel of the Lord and I do Godís bidding.  (Places the sword upon the altar and turns again to face the audience)  I want to talk about anger.  The sights and sounds of anger are frightening and ugly.  Human history echoes with hatred, rage and revenge.  We hear the bombs in Ireland and Lebanon.** the howls of the mobs in Iran.**  We shudder at the ďHeil HitlerĒ of Nazi Germany (**Use current examples).  We look with horror at the mass murderer, the wife beater, the child abuser.  We know the malice of the liar and the gossip.  We grieve for those who hate themselves so much that they would do themselves harm. (Angel takes her place on the pedestal)  God gave us the capacity to feel and to experience anger.  But when that emotion becomes the tantrum of someone who can't get his own way, or forces out love and forgiveness, then it causes harm and even death.  It creates grief and separation.   Inevitably, even in good families, anger bubbles up and spills over.  Without care, anger can last a lifetime and cause permanent, almost irreparable damage.  Iím afraid that his family, brought together after a long time, carries the deep wounds of anger.

Elmer: 
(Seated with Jane on a settee, is looking at old photographs in an album) You know, Mom and Dad were a handsome couple when they were young.

Jane:
Yes, arenít they beautiful!

Elmer:
Tonight, though, they donít look good at all.  They look old, tired and ill.

Jane: 
I know.  They are not doing well.  But did you notice how happy they are to have us all home for Christmas?

Fred:
Merry Christmas to you, Jane.  (Entering with eggnog only for him and Jane.  Gives an eggnog to her and keeps the other for himself. Elmer starts to reach for one before realizing Fred didnít bring one for him)

Jane:
Merry Christmas.  Itís been five years since we have been together.  Thatís too long.

Fred:
Five years.  Itís incredible that weíve been separated so long.  Iíve missed us being together, Jane.

Elmer:
Some of us might say five years are not enough, Fred.

Fred:
What do you mean by that crack?

Jane:
Oh guys!  Come on.  Let it go for awhile.  (Standing)  Itís Christmas Eve, the folks arenít well and Dad may mot have another Christmas.  How about a little peace on earth?

Fred:
There is peace as far as Iím concerned.  Iíll just keep my mouth shut and there will be peace.

Elmer:
Thatís good?

Fred:
Now what do you mean by that?

Elmer:
Just what I said.  Itís good that you keep quiet.  I didnít mean anything.  Iím not trying to start a fight tonight.  Itís Christmas Eve.

Jane:
Now thatís enough.  Do you know something thatís always irritated me about this family?  The way YOU TWO bicker.

Elmer:
Oh, come on, Jane.

Jane:
I get angry with both of you from time to time, but the anger passes.  This thing thatís going on between the two of you seems to have no end.  Itís ridiculous.  Donít you see what it does to you?  To carry this kind of anger?  Fred, Iím, sure it contributes to that miserable ulcer of yours.

Fred:
Stop lecturing, Sister.

Jane:
And Elmer, your business is suffering because of the anger in your life.  This anger is a poison.  It not only hurts everyone around you, it poisons you too.  Is it so enjoyable that you just canít let it go?

Elmer:
Enjoyable?  Yes, sometimes it is enjoyable to watch the number one son squirm.

Fred:
What do you mean by that?

Elmer:
Come on, Fred.  You know, Iíve been just an addendum to this family for years.  Youíve resented me since my birth.  Every time you think about me, you resent me.  Youíre ten years older.  Youíre the number one son.  You get all the birthrights.

Jane:
(Hopelessly)  Oh, Elmer...

Elmer:
Well, itís true.  Mom didnít resent me when I was born.  She didnít think I was some sort of mistake.  Jane never has either.  (To Fred)  But you have!  Youíve always resented me and Dad has too. You two are in league.  Think about it.  When you were born, what did he name you?  Fred, Jr.?  Ten years later when I was born, what did he name me?  Elmer!  Elmer!  The first, the one, the only.  Do you know  what itís like to go through life being named Elmer?

Fred:
Elmer Fudd, as I recall.  I remember all the little kids on the block called you ďElmer FuddĒ.

Jane: 
Fred cut it out!

Elmer:
It wasnít the kids, it was you.  Only you.  ďFat Little Elmer FuddĒ.  I remember

Fred:
You were kind of a fat little kid.

Jane:
Fred!  (Throws up her hands and sits down)

Elmer:
Fred, its no news to me that Iím the number two son in this family.  Mom used to give me hand-me-down clothes all the time.  Do you know what itís like to wear ten-year-old hand-me-downs?  I mean, penny loafers were out!  And you old pants used to bag in the rear end.

Jane:
Why do you dredge up all of this?

Fred:
Elmer, you always complain too much.  You had it so soft.  Why, Mother used to hang me up on the wall and throw darts at me.  You had life utterly soft by comparison!

Elmer:
And you had it so tough, I suppose.  Letís talk about college.

Fred:
Yes, letís talk about college.

Elmer:
Your four years, for example.  All expenses paid.

Fred:
So?

Elmer:
And then it was my turn.  Mom and Dad didnít have anything left for my college education.

Jane:
You donít have any reason to resent Fred.

Fred:
You could have called me and I would have loaned you some money.

Elmer:
Ha!  I could have called you?  I went to see you and you know what you said to me?  Remember?  ďKid brother, youíre on you own.Ē  I remember that real well.  Thanks for the big bucks.  Cheap!

Fred:
You accuse me of being cheap when the real issue was that you were spoiled rotten.  Spoiled!  You didnít take the opportunity.  You have a selective memory.  Youíre an irresponsible pain in the neck.

Jane:
I canít believe it.  It breaks Mom and Dadís hearts.

Elmer:
(Beginning to sound less angry and more pained)  Fred, I donít know what I have to do to tell you what I felt all my life.  All these years Iíve been trying to make something of myself, to prove to myself that I was a worthwhile human being.   And I have...for myself.  You've never thought that about me.  You are my big brother, for heavenís sake!  I worshipped the ground you walked on.  I looked to you for advice.  You were my hero. All I wanted was some time with you.  You wouldnít give me the time of day.  I just wasnít worth your time.  (Starts walking away to stage left)  Thatís what I remember.  (Back turned)  Thatís what Iím angry about!

Fred:
(Silent pause)  Are you finished?

Elmer:
(Pause)  Yeah, I guess I am.

Fred:
Would you be willing to hear what I have to say?

Elmer:
What for?  The record is clear.  Nothing is going to change.

Jane:
(Going to Elmer and placing her arm around him)  Elmer, Iíve never heard you say these things before.

Elmer:
Jane, Iíve said them all my life.  No one every listened.  Iíve always been alone in this family.  (He keeps his back turned while G.A. sprinkles Fred, and he experiences as ďheart changeĒ)

Fred:
Elmer, some of those things you said are true.  When I was growing up, I thought you were a pest.  I thought you were impossible.  In fact, being honest, they were probably just a part of growing pains that all normal kids go through.

Elmer:
That doesnít do much good now.

Fred:
You know, Elmer, the worst thing I did was to plain ignore you, to not love you the way you wanted to be loved.  I didnít love you like a brother.  I was the older one.  I knew your deepest need.  I should have known better, but I didnít...I was wrong.  I donít know what got in the way but I am sorry.

Elmer:
You are apologizing?  To me?  Youíre sorry?  I donít believe it.  (Pause)  Fred, I donít believe you.  Itís too late.

Fred:
Itís not too late.  We still have time.

Elmer:
No, no, I donít agree.

Jane:
Elmer, listen to what he is saying.  Youíve been waiting for this moment your whole life.  Donít let your bitterness keep you from hearing what he is saying to you.

Elmer:
No.  Iím sorry but I just donít believe him.  Fred, your apology is too easy.  You couldnít even look me in the face.  No, itís just been too long in coming.  Iím going out to get some air.  (Elmer exits)

Jane:
Elmer...

Fred:
I did mean it, Jane.  I do mean it.  I meant what I said.

Jane:
I believe you really are sorry for what has happened in the past.  And heíll probably believe it eventually.

Fred:
He gets to me so fast.

Jane:
Donít let his bitterness get to you, not now when things could be different.

Fred:
Youíre right.  We should have made up long ago.  Jane, what can you do when someone is so deeply hurt and angry.  What can I do?

Jane:
You want the relationship to be right, donít you?

Fred:
Yes.

Jane:
And it sounds like you want to start talking about some of the past hurts - get rid of them.

Fred:
Yes, we need to.

Jane:
So?  Talk about them together.  Do it.  Listen.  We carry a lot of stuff.

Fred:
Yes, we need to...for Mom and Dadís sake.

Jane:
No, not for their sake, but for your sake.  For your peace of mind.  For both of you.  It may take a while, but youíve got to be patient.  Give Elmer time.  But never stop offering the forgiveness to each other.

Fred:
I hope that a miracle can happen.  Itís going to take a miracle.  I pray that it can.  I do love Elmer.  I know that deep down Elmer loves me.  Letís go find my brother.  Iíll bring him an eggnog.

Jane:
Letís really celebrate.  I think heís outside somewhere.  (Jane and Fred begin to exit)

B.A.
(Coming center stage from the side)  I really enjoyed seeing those two brothers hate each other for all these years.  Anger is so delicious.  How satisfying it is to see people who love to hate.

G.A. 
That is your work, Satan.  You take an emotion and twist it out of control.  Your kind of anger is destructive.  Itís self-serving, not God-serving.  You kind of anger hurts the person who is angry and the people it touches.  It has neither mercy nor forgiveness.  You anger is not just, not true.

B.A.
Why tell me?   You stood up there and watched.  You could have at least thrown a few ten-cent proverbs their way.  Or are you even weaker than I thought?

G.A.:
They already know Godís words:  ďLet not the sun go down on your anger.Ē  (Pause)  ďBe angry, but donít sin.Ē  Jane knew, Fred was finally remembering and Elmer was still shouting so loudly that he couldnít hear it yet.

B.A.:
Thatís the special quality of anger.  When out of control, it closes out everything else.  But youíre talking about anger and I donít want you to lay that on me. Anger is natural.  Anger is hereditary.  Anger comes from your God.  Let me point out a few examples.  Look at what God did to my lovely cities of Sodom and Gomorrah!

G.A.
Where not even ten righteous people could be found!

B.A.:
What about Egypt and the Pharaoh trying to keep order in that great land?

G.A.:
A pharaoh who would not let Godís people go.

B.A.:
Look what happened to ordinary people at the temple who were simply tying to make a buck.

G.A.:
Godís house is not to be a den of robbers!

B.A.:
So thatís it?  That is an opinion, a judgment.  Iím talking about anger.  (Crosses arms and turns back on angel of God.  Good Angel comes down)

G.A.:
Almighty God is great in love and mercy and God is very slow to anger.  (Pause, turns to sword)  Yet His righteous anger can be kindled...at injustice and evil.  (She picks up the two-edged sword, carrying it before her as she slowly nears the Bad Angel...not threatening, but deliberate.  She stands behind the Bad Angel but is unseen by him) I have carried out His judgments many times.  Sin, whether it is disbelief or disobedience, must be paid for...So what about you, Satan?  What do you think Godís judgment on you will be?

B.A.:
(Turns around to see the sword close at hand.  In panic, he bolts out, saying) Well, Iíll be damned!

G.A.:
I am an angel of the Lord.

Back to Dramas



The Fourth Deadly Sin: Lust

G.A.:
I am an angel.  I am Godís messenger and I do Godís work.

B.A.:
(Entering) Where is the sword?  Do you have the sword?

G.A.:
Not at this moment.

B.A.:
(Aside to the audience) She has to tell the truth. (To Good Angel) Now, about the last time that we met...

G.A.:
Yes?

B.A.:
I am sorry that I had to run so suddenly.

G.A.:
I noticed.

B.A.:
I was afraid that there was going to be a death in the family.  (pause) I didnít think that you looked well the last time we met.  I hope you feel better tonight because weíre going to talk about Ďpleasuresí and I wouldnít want you to have a headache.

G.A.:
That must mean you want to talk about lust.  Lust is a deadly sin with its roots in the flesh...in the needs and pleasures of the flesh.

B.A.:
That is what Iíve been saying for all these ages, that your God is against pleasure, against having a good time, even against the natural and normal instincts of people.

G.A.:
You donít understand do you, Satan.  These instincts are gifts from God.  Like all of Godís gifts, they have a best use.  When theyíre used wisely and in a healthy fashion they become true pleasure.  When you talk about true pleasure, you are walking in Godís territory!

B.A.:
Wait just a minute!  Now you are saying that God is in favor of pleasure.

G.A.:
Yes, God is.

B.A.:
A moment ago you said Ďthe pleasing of the flesh is sinfulí.  Make up your mind.

G.A.:
Itís the difference between love and lust.  Lust is impatient, selfish and shortsighted.  It almost always hurts someone, if not immediately, then in the long run.  Lust leaves you empty.  But you should know that, Satan, for you are always hungry.  But love on the other hand is kind, thoughtful, and patient.  It is an act of giving, not taking.  Love builds and grows and satisfies.

B.A:
Platitudes, platitudes, platitudes!  Humans are simply animals.  When they are in heat, they donít think.  There is a classic case right here.  (Points to scene and moves off to the side.  Jane and Elmer enter, hugging and enraptured)

Elmer:
Jane, Jane, let met tell you, thereís nobody in the whole world like you.

Jane:
Weíve only been going together six months.  You canít feel that strongly about me.

Elmer:
Oh, I do.  I mean, youíre the most special girl Iíve ever met in my whole life.

Jane:
Oh, Elmer. Iím not sure how I feel yet.

Elmer:
Well, I know how I feel.  Iíve never met a girl like you before in my life.  Youíre it!  We can communicate.  Weíre able to talk about the neatest things.  This relationship is so special, I wouldnít want to ever lose it

Jane:
Itís just a little too fast.  (Backing away)  Itís too much too soon.  Really, Elmer, sometimes on our dates we get too carried away and become too physical and itís...itís not  right!

Elmer:
Oh, come on now, Jane  (coming closer and hugging again) God gave us emotions and passions and feeling of pleasure and they are good.  I think that itís something for us to use and enjoy.  Get with it!

Jane:
I just feel uncomfortable about it.  You know that I was brought up being taught what was right.  (Turning from him)

Elmer:
Hey, so was I.  And Iíd like to teach you whatís right, too.  Come on, Jane.  Tonight Mom and Dad are out of the house.  We can listen to some records and maybe make some pizza, study a little bit, get a little more comfortable with each other.  What do you say?  Huh?  (reaching out to Jane)

Jane:
No, no, no.  (Throws Elmerís arm down)  No, Iím not going to.   It might get out of hand.  Iím afraid of what would happen.

Elmer:
(edge of irritation In his voice) Come on, Jane.  Everybodyís doing it!

Jane:
No! Everybodyís not doing ďitĒ.  Iím not!  Iím not ready for this.  Are you, Elmer?  Are you ready for a lifetime commitment?

Elmer:
Come on, Jane.  We just want to have a little fun!

Jane:
No! Forget it!  (starts to leave)  I have studying to do.(Exits)

Elmer:
Not just for a few hours?  Oh, Rats!  (Fred enters from other side)

Fred:
Elmer, what are you doing standing all alone here in the classroom!

Elmer:
Buzz off!

Fred:
Was that Jane I saw leaving just now?

Elmer:
Yeah that was Jane.

Fred:
You are some Casanova, Elmer.  You have a way of getting gals like no one Iíve ever seen before.  Electric Elmer!  First it was Jennifer, then Mary and now itís Jane.  You get around, Elmer.  I canít understand how you it.

Elmer:
Talent, Fred.  You got to know how to use the charms.  Thatís the whole thing.

Fred:
Man to man and friend to friend, I really kind of like Jane.  Is she...?  Ah, that is, does she...?  You know!  Actually she seems nice...not your type!

Elmer:
Ah, lay off, Fred!  She is ďreally goodĒ...if you know what I mean.  (Elmer combs hair and preens)

Fred:
Really good?  What do you mean?  (Jane starts to re-enter, seen by the audience but not obvious to Fred and Elmer.  When she sees the two she stops to listen)

Elmer:
Every girl has her principles, especially those church types.  Every girl has a game she plays before she will give in.  You just have to know how to deal with them.  Learn what rules they go by and then just bend them.  (Gives appropriate Ďbendingí gestures)  The church types are an interesting challenge, but they all cooperate eventually.  (Gloating)  I bet you could even learn to do that.  Even you, Fred.

Fred:
Really, do you think I could?  Thatís manipulating people, Elmer.  But you know, what you say about Jane really disappoints me. I thought more of her than that.

Elmer:
Just have to use a little more charm, Old Boy.  Janeís like all the rest.  I think youíre afraid of girls, Fred.  I think you have a problem.  Youíre probably afraid of herpes or getting some girl pregnant or something.

Fred:
You wouldnít be afraid of that?  Bur more than that, it doesnít seem right.  It seems that you are using those other girls and that youíre using Jane.  Donít you think...

(Jane bursts into the room and hurries to Elmer)

Elmer:
Oh, youíre back.

Jane:
You creep!  You jerk!  (Slaps Elmerís face)

Elmer:
Honey, I think you misunderstood something here.

Jane:
Oh, no!  I understood!  You donít love me!  You were telling all those lies.  Lies!

Elmer:
Lies?  Oh, honey, youíre wrong.  You know how much I care for you.

Jane:
Ah, yes.  The great big 18-year-old stud!  I heard you bragging about your conquests.  Itís all a pack of lies!  You think youíre such hot stuff.

Elmer:
Jane, I do care about you.  I really am certain that you...

Jane:
I donít believe any of it.  I want you to tell Fred the truth.  Tell him...

(Bad Angel makes a loud sound, freezing action)

B.A.:
See what I mean?  Rack one up for me.

G.A.:
That wasnít for you.  Elmer got caught up in his lies and was shown for what he is.

B.A.:
Letís ignore Elmer.  Elmer is a one-dimensional klutz!  Heís got a big mouth and a terrible line.

G.A.:
What about Jane?  She held true to her values and now sheís found someone who thinks of her as a person, not just an object.

B.A.:
Do you mean Fred?  Heís as exciting as three-day-old bread.  He has no idea about the world, women or wants.  Heís boring.

G.A.:
Thereís nothing boring about decency.

B.A.:
And Jane.  Jane.  Sweet, innocent, young and restless Jane.  I wonder what the television soaps would say about her.  (B.A. snaps fingers and organ plays ďNadiaís ThemeĒ from the Young and Restless soap opera)  Jane, tugged by feelings she doesnít understand, torn between desire and fear.  (snaps fingers, organ stops)  She needs to read Cosmopolitan.  That will tell her whatís expected of her.

G.A.:
Satan, you twist and distort everything.  You take that which is of value and you cheapen it.  You canít stand to see a good relationship between two people who love each other.  So youíre always attacking them, even in marriage.

B.A.:
Marriage?  Man and women are animals.  So whatís the big deal? Inside of marriage or outside of marriage, people are animals!

G.A.:
No, they are sons and daughters of God.  Theyíre next to angels.  They have a moral design to live by.

B.A.:
Ridiculous!  I wouldnít know anything about moral designs. This world is driven by lust. Itís a big business Ė everywhere you look. Itís on everyoneís mind, teenagers through adults. Maybe we should let this trio (indicates the three on stage) age about thirty years and then see what happens. Elmer will be out of the picture and Jane and Fred are together. Perhaps it will be one of those marriages made in heaven. (diabolical laugh.)

(Three characters unfreeze and change their outer attire.  Jane switches from teenage sweater to a smock or apron; Fred takes off his letter jacket  and puts on a suit coat; Elmer takes off his school jacket and puts on a  suit coat and hat.  Elmer then exits, Bad Angel makes loud sound and the  drama continues)

Jane:
Fred, donít turn the TV on tonight, huh?  Letís talk.  We need to talk about some things that are troubling me.

Fred:
Oh, Jane, I had such a long day at work.  Iím, so tired.  I just need to sit here and collapse on the sofa and do nothing but vegetate in from of the TV tonight.

Jane:
You and your work!  You know, honestly, Fred, it seems that you use work as an excuse to avoid any kind of intimacy.

Fred:
Here we go again!  Round and round, always nagging, always complaining, always whining...when all I want to do is watch a little TV.

Jane:
But you donít understand.  Weíre not sharing our lives anymore.

Fred:
I get so tired of going over this speech every single night of our lives.  Itís the same story every night.

Jane:
Canít you see how miserable I am?  You donít understand how empty I feel inside.

Fred:
I understand what I need to understand.

Jane:
No, you donít.  Why, you havenít even touched me for days.  We havenít made love for weeks.

Fred:
Weeks?  Months, I would say.  You always have some excuse or other.  Itís been so long that Iím starting to think that maybe youíre having an affair with someone.

Jane:
Why would you think that?

Fred:
Well, something is wrong.  I canít quite figure out what it is, but Iíve watched enough TV shows to realize that people sometimes have affairs at times like this in their lives.

Jane:
You are impossible!  Canít you see whatís happening to a good marriage in a Christian home?

Fred:
Donít give me that religious garbage!

Jane:
Religious garbage?  Your faith has always been important to you.  Whatís wrong with you, Fred?  Is this the kind of a marriage God wants us to have?

Fred:
Iíve had enough of this conversation tonight.  I am going to the bedroom and watch television.  Good night.  (begins to exit)

Jane:
(half to herself) I should have married Elmer!  At least he talked!  

Fred:
(overhears) Elmer?  Youíve got to be kidding.  Heís a klutz if I ever saw one.  Elmer may have been a teenage dude, but as an adult, he is a dud.

Jane:
(paces, obviously distraught.  Then she stops to pray)  Oh, Lord Jesus, help us.  Our marriage has soured.  Help!  Help us Lord.  Fred has turned away from me and I donít know what has come between us.  I know Iím at fault too.  Help me to erase my bitterness and my emptiness.  (telephone rings Ė Jane answers)  Hello, this is Jane speaking.  Elmer?  I told you not to call here.  You and Annette?  No, no, donít leave her.  She needs you.  She needs your love and understanding.  I know how that is.  No, I canít see you.  I canít see you tomorrow either.  I canít.  No, itís not because I donít need someone.  I need someone more than you realize, someone who will listen and care.  No, Fred is okay!  Heís a good man.  Heís just so busy with his work, I guess.  I donít know.  I seem to need more than he can give me.  No, I canít leave him!  You just want to hold me?  I could certainly use that.  I need someone to love me!  Iím so confused.  No.  No.  I canít do that to Fred and I canít do it to myself.  Good-bye.  Donít call again.

(Jane hangs up.  Fred enters, unnoticed by her as she stands over the phone.  G.A. dusts Fred)

Fred:
Jane?  Iíve been thinking.  What you say is true.  I donít know how I got so far off the track.  I seem to have forgotten what is important in life.

Jane:
What is important in your life?

Fred:
You.  You are.  I love you, Jane.  I do love you.

Jane:
Then why do I feel so desperate sometimes about our relationship?

Fred:
The problem is that I just get so busy, so distracted, so preoccupied with myself and my work.  I guess the Ďloveí inside of me gets put on hold sometimes.  I feel as though I fail you emotionally so often.  I have not met your needs.

Jane:
Oh, Fred, youíre a good person.  Thereís no doubt about that.  I love you, Fred.  I canít tell you now important you are in my life.  But I do need to know that I am an important part of your life too.  I want to know about your feelings, your problems.  Then we can talk about them.

Fred:
Iím not good at talking about those things.  I am probably worse at listening.  I know you want me to, but Iím just not good at it.

Jane:
But itís so important.  Weíve got to learn to do it.  Weíve got to.

Fred:
I know.  I agree.

Jane:
Fred.  Hold me.  (Jane and Fred embrace)

Fred:
I love you so much.  Please be patient with me.  Please?

Jane:
I will.  I want to make it work.

Fred:
Letís go down to the kitchen and make a pot of coffee.

Jane:
And talk?

Fred: 
And talk.  (Fred and Jane exit)

G.A.:
Marriage based on love and forgiveness has no room for you, Satan.

B.A.:
But love, forgiveness, they take so much work.  Soon these two will tire and seek the e4asier road, my way.  (Exits)

G.A.:
Satan is partly right. Love and forgiveness take hard work, constant work. It take commitment to work through problems, remembering that you are not alone in this for God is there. God cares. The capacity to develop enduring love is one of Godís greatest gifts. Marriage may not be made in heaven but love is.  (Exit)

Back to Dramas



The Fifth Deadly Sin: Gluttony

Scene:  Restaurant with a bar off to one side.

Costumes: Bad Angel is dressed as a waiter: black pants, white shirt, cummerbund.  Each time he enters, he adds one more item of the Ďdevilísí apparel.  Fred, Jane and Elmer are dressed as working people would in a restaurant.

Props:  Card table to simulate a dining room table, complete with cloth, table settings.  Another high table for Jane to simulate a bar.  Wine carafes and glasses.  The white wine can be water and the red wine can be fruit juice. Tea will simulate scotch.  Food for a spaghetti dinner.

Special notes: While Jane is drinking alone, she can file her nails, check her watch over carefully, removing it and replacing it, read the menu, look in her compact and purse, etc.

B.A.: I am an angel of the Lord. (pause)  Have you seen Satan?
(pause)  Is he out there?  (pause)  Apparently not.  Tonight we are going to talk about the  deadly sin of gluttony and I thought he would come roaring in here shouting, ďEat, drink, be merry, for tomorrow we die.Ē  He is the ultimate glutton you know.  Because of this he would have us make food and drink our God and eat and drink until we harm others and ourselves.  Then he could feed on our misery.  Heís like that.  Gluttony is a sneaky sin.  It starts out so innocently, with fun and frolic, but it has a hook.  And when the bait is taken, itís hard to shake free.  (pause)  I wonder where he is.  (points to stage scene)  Do you know what we have here?  Would you believe the Royal Pitchfork Restaurant?  Iíll bet Satan is waiting around here somewhere.  Letís watch.

B.A.: (enters from side, dressed as a waiter.  He goes to Jane who has been seated throughout the Good Angelís speech at a bar-like setting) Oh, I hope I didnít neglect you.  I was doing some last minute duties in the kitchen.  What was it?  Chablis?  If my memory serves me right.  (Getting half a liter of wine from side)

Jane:
Iím glad you remembered.

B.A.:
Youíve been in couple of times this week.  If I donít know what somebody wants by the third time, my reputation would turn to ashes.

Jane:
I find this a nice place to stop after work.  (B.A. pours her a glassful)

B.A.:
Do you want it all?

Jane:
Yes, leave it please.  (B.A. set down carafe.  Jane drinks throughout the scene) (Fred and Elmer enter)

B.A.:
Good evening, gentlemen.  Ah, Mr. Elmer.

Elmer:
Hello there.  Good to see you.

B.A.:
Iíve got your table waiting for you.

B.A.:
Please, have a seat  (Elmer and Fred are seated at the restaurant table)

Elmer:
Bring on the food and drinks, a shovel and a straw.  Letís go, Iím hungry.

Fred:
Hmmmm-hmmmm.  Me, too.  Do you have a recommendation?

B.A.:
Would you like a menu?  (Starts to hand a menu)  I personally favor the sole.

Fred:
You know, one of these days I am going to order the halibut instead of the sole.

Elmer:
You are too witty.   No, donít bother.  Just bring us two of your specials.  (Handing menus back)

B.A.:
Two specials, coming up.  Your bread and wine are already at your table.  The salad will be in a minute.  (Leaves)

Elmer:
Well, Fred, itís good to come here for your birthday.

Fred:
I should say!  Itís not every year that I turn 49.

Elmer:
Iíve got new for you. You havenít seen 49 for years.

Fred:
Oh well, Iím forever young.  Say, Elmer, that Ďspecialí that you ordered Ė what is it?

Elmer:
Itís all you can eat.  Bread, salad, spaghetti, meatballs.  Then he usually throws in a surprise at the end.  (B.A. returns with a big salad and one item of the BAD Angel costume)  (Ad libs)

Fred:
Oh that looks good.

B.A.:
Here you are gentlemen.

Elmer:
Thanks, it looks delicious.

(Fred and Elmer banter about the food as they begin to eat voraciously, both making pigs of themselves with their shoveling food  in rapidly, spilling and smacking their lips and continue to do so  throughout the conversation)

Elmer:
By the way, Fred, I got a kick out of going to church with you last Sunday.  It was a real experience for me.

Fred:
I was glad you came.  You havenít been there for a long time.  Actually, I was surprised you showed up.

Elmer:
The truth is, I enjoyed church.  But you know what?

Fred:
What?

Elmer:
There was something that bugged me about the Parish Education class you took me to Ė the one about World Hunger.

Fred:
Yes?

Elmer:
Films like those annoy me.

Fred:
What was wrong with that film?  Iím on the World Hunger committee and I helped to select it because I thought it was educational.

Elmer:
Whatís educational about bloated bellies?

Fred:
Whatís important is that you learn the truth.  Elmer, you need to learn the truth about World Hunger.  Did you know that a billion people are starving to death on this planet?  Did you know that?  And did you realize that twelve million children starved to death last year?  Did you realize that?

Elmer:
No, but that all sounds like someoneís trying to lay a guilt trip on me.  I have worked hard to earn my standard of living.  I like my vacations and my nice home and a trip whenever I want to go.  I donít like guilt trips just because I have money to live the way I do.

Fred:
That film wasnít supposed to put you on a guilt trip.  The purpose of it was to make you more responsible.  People like you need to be more responsible in fighting world hunger.  (stuffing himself as he talks with bread stick)

Elmer:
Iím not responsible for world hunger.  Iím responsible for myself.  Let those poor slobs in those other countries be responsible for themselves.  Is it my fault? You only go around once in life and Buddy, itís my turn.

Fred:
Elmer, Iím so glad you have an older brother like me who is a little wiser in the ways of the world.  As usual, youíre wrong on several counts.  The first is that you donít go around just once.  When you die and meet God face to face, youíre going to find out itís a longer trip than you thought.

Elmer:
And the second thing?

Fred:
Just because youíre born in the breadbasket of the world doesnít mean you are to indulge yourself.  You are to share with starving people.

Elmer:
(both characters continue to load their mouths and talk with them full) Come on, Fred.  The worldís a banquet.  Letís enjoy the feast.

(Waiter, with another item of apparel added, enters with a huge bowl of spaghetti and meatballs and serves the men)

Fred:
Your problem is that youíre basically a Hedonist.  Yum, yum.  Look at this gorgeous food.

Elmer:
Oh boy, let me at it!  (they continue to banter about the food, the birthday or whatever come to mind, generally small talk as action moves toward Jane.  Elmer and Fred Ďmouthí the words silently so as not to detract from Janeís scene.  They slowly quiet down)

B.A.:
Enjoy!  (walks over to Jane at the bar)

B.A.
Howíre you doing?  A little more wine?

Jane:
I believe Iíll have some scotch.

B.A.:
Oh ho, weíre getting serious then, huh?  That must mean itís either a bad day or youíre planning a great night.

Jane:
Letís just say I have some problems.  But...theyíre not your problems so donít be concerned.  My fifteen-year-old daughter came home at three oíclock this morning.  Can you believe it?  Fifteen years old?  That frightens me!  And my husband!  What did he do?  Laugh!  He thought it was funny.  (Empty laugh)  Ha!  Ha!

B.A.:
Kids will be kids.

Jane:
They certainly will!  Then my husband and I had a few words about it.  Know what I mean?  Iím not eagerly looking forward to going home tonight.  I donít know what to do.  (Pause)  Bartender, can you help me?

B.A.:
No, I canít help solve your problems, Love, but the house can buy a drink.  That will help you forget them...at least for the night.

Jane:
Hmm, what about tomorrow?

B.A.:
Oh, excuse me, Iím needed in the kitchen. (exits)

(Attention drawn back to the men when they start raising their voices again, chatting about the food.  ďMore spaghetti?Ē  ďMore wine?Ē  ďGood meatballsĒ, etc.)

Elmer:
Say isnít that Jane?  From your church?

Fred:
(looking) Yes, thatís Jane alright.

Elmer:
I thought so.  Iíve been watching her.  Sheís been wolfing down booze over there.  Is she some kind of lush?

Fred:
Oh, donít be so hard on her.  Her personal life is difficult right now.  Leave them alone.

Elmer:
Sure, a typical Christian.  Go to church on Sunday, tell all the rest of us how to live, then on Monday, youíre just like the rest of us poor slobs.  Thatís why I donít like Christians...like that woman over there.

Fred:
Donít be so hard on her.  She and Tom, her husband, are friends of mine.  And like I said, sheís going through a rough time right now.  I feel sorry for people like that who donít realize theyíre addicted.  Would you believe it, Elmer?  That itís possible for people to be addicted and not even realize what theyíre addicted to?  (still gulping down food)

Elmer:
Suppose so.

Fred:
Yes, itís really tragic about people like her.

Elmer:
Say, Fred, youíre slowing down on that spaghetti.  Get some more.

Fred:
Sure, Iíd like some more.  Thanks.  Just donít tell my doctor.  He said to me, ďFred, youíve got to lose thirty pounds.Ē  ďFred, youíre going to have heart attack if you donít start taking care of yourself.Ē  ďFred, cut out the salt.Ē  ďFred, cut down on the boozeĒ.  What a bore life would be if I followed his advice.

Elmer:
Freddie, old brother, something most interesting is happening here.  Once again you are pointing out to me a familiar little quirk of yours, you and your Christian friend over there.

Fred:
What are you talking about?

Elmer:
Faithful Freddie, the hypocrite.

Fred:
Here we go again.  The hypocrite thing again.

Elmer:
Here you are, wolfing down every bit of spaghetti you can get; the wine, the bread and everything else.  And all the while you are telling me to simplify my life style.  ĎEast less, drink less, drive lessí.  Indeed!  You are a fraud!

Fred:
Well!  You certainly have a way of ruining a birthday meal, Brother.  (Angry silence)  (Good Angel scatters angel dust on Fred) But you know...in a way...(Puts down fork)...you are right.  (Hands to head) Whatís wrong with me?  Sitting here like a food junkie, stuffing in the food as fast as I can.  O Lord, whatís happened to me?

Elmer:
Say Iím not your confessor!  All I ask is that you donít preach at me anymore.  You and Jane over there arenít much different, are you?  Youíre both addicted.

(B.A. enters with an overly large banana split, devilís food cake or  other dessert.  He has added another piece of his Ďdevilishí attire)

B.A.:
The traditional dessert at the Royal Pitchfork is Devilís Food Delight, but after hearing and seeing you two eat, I was inspired to create Ďle pig troughí.

Elmer:
No Iím going over to talk to Jane.

Elmer:
That lush?  What for?

Fred:
I just realized something about myself and I need to talk to my friend Jane about it.

Elmer:
Huh!  The best thing you can do for her is buy her a drink.

(Fred walks to Jane as Elmer starts to eat the dessert.  Elmer eats more  quietly and does not distract from the scene between Fred and Jane)

Fred:
Hello there, Jane.

Jane:
Oh no!  I was hoping I wouldnít see anyone I knew in here

Fred:
I know what you mean, but after all, weíre friends.  Whatís going on with you?

Jane:
Do you really want to know?

Fred:
Yes. I do.  Whatís the problem?  How are things with you and Tom.

Jane:
Things havenít been going well between us.  It seems every event in our lives lately is a cause for another major argument.

Fred:
Oh?

Jane:
For one thing, he thinks I drink too much.  And the kids.  Oh my!  Theyíre getting so independent that they seem to have no regard for either of us anymore.  Itís pretty hard to accept that!  I donít know what to do?

Fred:
So?

Jane:
My boss at work has been on my case lately too.  That adds up to failure and failure makes me feel worthless and empty.  This stuff (gesturing with glass) helps to fill the void.

Fred:
Yes, but Iím a foodaholic.  I inhale food, shovel it in.  You see, I have this nervous knot in my stomach and I seem to think I can calm those nerves with food.  Then I get so disgusted with myself after I pig out.  I feel so rotten inside.  I eat compulsively, voraciously.  Itís like I canít stop.  I donít control myself.  I CANíT control myself.

Jane:
Ah thatís the way I feel the morning after this stuff.

Fred:
It seems that Iím a foodaholic and youíre an alcoholic.  Both of us are addicted.

Jane:
Weíre church people.  You teach Sunday School.  I have the Childrenís Choir.  We bear the name of Christian, Christ-followers.  He who came to save us from all these addictions.  (Pause) How can that be?  Can addicts really be Christians?  Donít Christians have it all together?

Fred:
If we gotta be perfect, you and I are in big trouble and so is everyone else.  One thing I know about God is that God loves all of us.  The whole life of Jesus centered on his loving and caring for sinners and addicts, people like us.

Jane:
I know.  Iím glad to be reminded of that again.  What can we do?

Fred:
I think we have to be honest.  Stop pretending you donít have a booze problem and I will stop pretending  that  I donít have a food problem.  Weíve got to get honest with ourselves and admit it to ourselves and to others.

Jane:
Others?   What will they say?  I suppose there are some friends, Christian friends, who have been there before and can help us.  Weíre not the only ones.

Fred:
Yes, there are people in church who are recovering addicts.  I know many of them could help us.

Jane:
And we do need to pray, ďGod, get me off this stuff.Ē

Fred:
Yes.

Jane:
Godís always been there before when Iíve needed help.  It seems the hardest part is admitting I canít do it on my own.  I need Godís help.

Fred:
You donít belong here, Jane.

Jane:
No, I donít.  This bartender is no help.  This stuff (glass) is no help.  This place is the pits!

Fred:
Listen, Iíll call you tomorrow.  How about if you and Tom and I get together and talk.  Letís take the first step.  What do you say?

Jane:
(Pause) Okay!  Iíll do it.  You call tomorrow. (Jane starts to exit) 

Fred:
I will.  Good-night.  (Jane leaves)

Jane:
(Returning to table) Well, Brother, thereís not much left here for me.  Guess Iíll go.

Elmer:
You kind of took your time over there.

Fred:
I started to come to my senses a bit.  Thanks for remembering my birthday and for opening my eyes.

Elmer:
Opening your eyes?  What are you talking about?  (Gulping down one more spoonful)  Sure you donít want some of this ice cream?

Fred:
Oh, (chuckling) no, no, thanks.  Goodnight now.

Elmer:
ĎNight!  (Fred exits)

B.A.:
(Returns, fully costumed) Whereís your friend?

Elmer:
He went off with that lush.

B.A.:
Wonderful!  Misery loves company.  They can feed on each otherís tales of woe.

Elmer:
I have to be going too.  Iíll probably see you tomorrow night with someone else.  ĎBye.

B.A.:
That would be delicious!  Good-bye.  (Elmer exits, B.A. pours a glass of wine, turns to the audience and raises his glass to them) What about you?  What do you want?  A good time?  Get away from it all?  Fill that ache in your belly?  My place never closes.  Come on down and see me sometime.  (Exits)

G.A.:
(Coming down from pedestal and looking about the restaurant)
 You canít find what you need here (gesturing right).  This is empty  (gesturing left).  Look up!  Look elsewhere!  Jesus said, ďIím the bread of life.  Anyone who comes to me shall never hunger.  Anyone who believes in me shall never thirst.Ē  Amen.

Back to Dramas



The Sixth Deadly Sin: Pride

G.A.:
I am an angel of the Lord.  I am His messenger.  Tonight weíre going to talk about pride, the most basic of sins.  Sinful pride causes us to think too highly of ourselves, to trust in ourselves too much and to neglect and disregard others.  Pride is one of Satanís favorite temptations.  Speak of the devil, here he comes.

B.A.:
What do I hear you saying up there?  My temptation?  Who are you to talk about pride?  Every week you come sashaying down this aisle, and what's the first thing you do?  Get up on a pedestal.  Now who or what gives you that right?  What special merit do you have?  What makes you superior to me?

G.A.:
I did not ask to be put here.  I only do what God asks of me.  I am His servant.  I use the gifts and the talents that He gave me in the way that He would have me use them.  I do not claim this pedestal as my right.

B.A.:
So now you claim humility!  Iíll tell you something.  You show me a truly humble soul and Iíll show you a loser.  Donít you understand?  It is pride that makes this world go around.

G.A.:
It is false pride that sets nations, people, and families against each other.

B.A.:
Itís all a power struggle and your God started it.  He is the one who demands that all knees shall bow to Him.  I refuse to do that and I have taken it as a personal responsibility to persuade people throughout the ages that they can be at least equal to God and therefore need not bow to Him.  I preached that in the garden and I preach it now.

G.A.:
You lie, Satan.  The only thing you taught Adam and Eve and humans since is disobedience, which brought death into the world.  Youíre prideful, boastful, corrupt.  Iím sure you had a hand in this little game over here.  (B.A. goes to side)

Jane:
(Entering with Fred and Elmer) Whatíll we do tonight?  Letís do something.

Fred:
How about playing some games?

Elmer:  
Thatís good.

Fred:
Iíd love to play Scrabble

Elmer:
Scrabble is too slow-moving.

Fred:
It takes brains.

Jane:
(to Fred) He doesnít want to play it.

Elmer:
Hereís this new game I bought yesterday.

Jane:
Oh, whatís the name of it

Elmer:
It looks interesting and I thought weíd like it.  Itís called ďLutes and Ladders.Ē

Fred:
Lutes and Ladders?  Does that ever sound childish!

Elmer:
Hold it a minute.  See, Fred?  ďLutes and Ladders Ė Adult VersionĒ.

Elmer:
(Looking inside the box) Thereís no board in here.  Ah, here are the  directions.  It says weíre supposed to get out some step ladders, one per person.

Fred:
Step ladders?   This is a dumb game.

Jane:
(Looking behind them to the ladders) Here they are, how about that!  (Others look)  Letís play.

Fred:
Aw, I donít know about this.

Elmer:
The directions say weíre supposed to stand on the floor, each in front of their step ladder and draw cards to choose a discussion topic.  The object of the game is to (reading) ďtop the story of the person before you.  If you can do that you climb up one step on the ladder.  The first person to the top of the ladder wins.Ē  Weíre supposed to roll dice to see who goes first.

Fred:
Oh, this is indeed a stupid game, ďtop the story of the person before youí.  Letís play cards.  How about Clue, Monopoly, something like that?

Jane:
Letís give it a try.  It might be interesting.  (Teasing) Who knows, you may even be lucky enough to win.

Elmer:
Thatís the spirit.  Here is the die.

Fred:
Alright, give me the die.  Six, I want a six. 

Jane:
Fred, you got a three.  I can beat that.  (He rolls Ė as the three roll to determine order of play, there is a great commotion among them to get the highest number so each can be first) (Shakes) Aha!  A four!  I beat you!

Fred:
Jane, you got a four?  You lucky bum.

Elmer:
My turn.  Come on, Baby!  Oh, I got a six!  I go first.

(The three each claim a ladder and stand next to it, bantering about how they will outdo each others.)

Fred:
What are the directions again?

Elmer:
Weíre supposed to chose a topic?  Iíll draw from this stack of cards.  (draws)  Our topic is pride.

Jane & Fred:
Pride?

Elmer:
The card says, ďSay something about yourself that gives you pride.  Remember you are supposed to answer truthfully.

Fred:
Remember that yourself, Elmer.  Try to be honest (under his breath) for once.

Elmer:
 The first one to top wins the game.  Hmm, pride.   Ah, I have one.

(All three characters are outrageously boastful in their parts Ė hamming it up with broad gestures as they give their examples.)

Elmer:
Where I work, people look to me as being very competent.  I can be counted on and I like that about myself.  Iím proud of that.  People look to me for help and that makes me feel good.  Iím competent, so Iím going up a step.  (takes a step up)

Jane:
Okay, Iíll give you that.  You are competent.  However, I have talent.  Itís been given to me.  Iím gifted.  I can sing, for example.  I sing in choirs and I sing solos, and (Taking step up) Iím very good at it.

Fred:
This is a foolish game.  I donít even want to play.  But if I have to, I guess I can think of something.  (Pause)  Okay, Iím a decent and honest human being.  And Iím sincere in my commitment to Christ, the values of the Christian community, and my life of discipleship.  This is a lot more important than your competence or your singing ability, so I will definitely take one big step.  (Steps up)

Jane:
That is BORING!

Fred:
Jane, you know my life isnít boring.

Elmer:
I havenít even gotten started.  Iím not only competent, I am industrious.  I can outwork anybody, anyplace, anytime.  Youíre a religious person, Fred, and thatís good.  And Jane, youíre talented and that has its place in the world, but real hard work is what makes the world keep going.  Thatís why I am important.  (Takes two steps up)

Jane:
Hey. . . didnít he . . .

Fred:
Cheater!  You took two steps.

Jane:
Youíre supposed to play fair.

Elmer:
Maybe Iím better than you are.  If you think youíre so good, come up higher.

Jane:
Well!  Itís my turn and I will come higher because I can write.  I write devotionals, stories, and plays.  (Up one)  And I write music too.  AND Iím something that neither of you can ever be.

Elmer:
Oh?  What?

Jane:
I am a warm . . . caring. . .WOMAN.  (Up one step)

Elmer:
Ugh!  Who would want to be a woman?

Fred:
Oh, my turn, my turn.  I know my commitment to God is good, and I donít look down my nose at other people like the two of you.  At least...I am humble. (Up one step) BESIDES, I give more money away to charity in terms of total dollars AND percentages than either of you do.  My generosity is something that God sees and... HE says my generosity is worth at least another step.  (Up another step)

Elmer:
Ugh!  Mr. Humble!  Well, neither of you can even hold a candle to me.  Iím not only competent and industrious but Iím a professional, a professional engineer.  (Up one step)  I have intelligence, wit, charm, and knowledge, and that makes me successful.  That makes me admired.

Fred:
Status seeker!

Elmer:
And because of that, folks, Iíve got something to tell you.  I win the Game!  (Sits on top of the ladder)

Fred:
Oh, No.  No you donít.

Jane:
Thatís not fair.  You started first!  I didnít get a chance to say I have beautiful children!  We have a wonderful relationship.  And thatís better than....(Cradling an imaginary child)

Fred:
Wait!  I didnít get a chance to say that I spend less money on pleasure - I visit the poor Ė go to the homes of the elderly.  I do all that, and I worship Jesus.   (Throws arms in the air)

(Then Fred, Jane and Elmer start shouting their accomplishments at the same time, with appropriate broad gestures; Elmer giving the victory sign as he claims to be number one; Fred praising the heavens with arms outstretched; Jane cradling a child.  It sounds like a babble of words.  The Bad Angel makes aloud noise and action freezes on stage, with all three characters caught in their gestures.)

B.A.:
(Pause and then quietly) I love it when a plan comes together!

G.A.:
Silence, Satan! Look at what youíve done.  What an ugly scene!  Itís like the Tower of Babel.  (She comes down from her pedestal, in front of ladders to look)

B.A.:
What would you have me do?  This is the way the world is.  When youíre best, when youíre on top, why not proclaim it?  Does your God think so little of humans that He does not wish them to take pride in their talent (gestures to Jane), or their work (to Elmer) or in their faith.  (to Fred)

G.A.:
Again you pervert the truth.  Humans have great value.  God made them in his image.  He wants them to use their talents to the fullest.

B.A.:
Thatís what these people are doing!  So whatís the big deal!

G.A.:
Whatís the big deal!  Theyíre supposed to love their neighbors as themselves.  These people have put themselves above their neighbors!  Thatís not what God wants.  (Angel prepares to sprinkle Fred with her magic dust)

B.A.:
What do you think youíre doing?  Stop that!

G.A.:
(throws the dust up, but since Fred is near the top of the ladder, it falls down upon G.A.  She tries again, but it falls short again.  Then she turns to the audience)  Do you suppose this is why God made people a little lower than angels?

B.A.:
(Laughing as he exits) Itís so hard for God to reach the proud.  (Makes loud sound while Angel is pulling Fred down)

G.A.:
(pulls Fred down from the ladder and sprinkles him)  There!  (moves back to pedestal)

Fred:
(unfreezes) Whatís going on?

(Elmer and Jane continue as before, shouting their successes as Fred watches)

Elmer:
Iím at the top, Iím Number One.

Jane:
I know how to communicate with my family and others.

Fred:
Hey, Elmer, Jane, stop it!  Stop shouting.  (They stop)  This is nonsense.  Look at the way weíre behaving.  This is a stupid game.  Weíre putting each other down.  That isnít Godís will for us.  Letís quit playing.

Elmer:
No!  No!

Jane:
It. . .mmmm. . .doesnít help our friendship, does it?  And this ladder goes nowhere.  Iím coming down  (Comes down)

Elmer:
Iím not!  I enjoy looking down on both of you for once.  Iím finally number one.  Iím in a category all by myself.

Fred:
Itís only a game, Elmer.

Elmer:
(Greatly agitated) No, itís not just a game.  Itís life.  Iíve always wanted to be up here.  Iím finally king of the mountain.  Iím master of my own fate and captain of my soul.  Why should I come down?  And now that Iím up here, I can get what I so richly deserrrrrrr. . . (Falls, crashing to the floor.  Jane and Fred rush to care for him)

Jane:
Elmer!   Are you all right?  Oh, my!

Fred:
This is a dangerous game.  People can get hurt.

Jane:
I donít think itís too much fun to put ourselves above others.  (Start helping Elmer up)

Fred:
Itís just not the way to do it.  Letís play something else.  (Helping Elmer, they all exit, leaving Good Angel alone)

G.A.:
The Bible says, ďWhen I was a child, I spoke like a child, thought like a child, and reasoned like a child.  But when I became a mature person, I gave up my childish, self-centered, prideful ways.Ē  (Exits)

Back to Dramas



The Seventh Deadly Sin: Avarice

Scene:
Plays in the open areas of the stage.  No special setting is required.  

Costumes:
Casual dress

Props:
Three large envelopes with the names of the three printed in large letters.  In each envelope, an invitation and a questionnaire.  Pencils or pens.

Special Notes:
Whenever one of the three central characters is not involved in the conversation, he or she needs to be working on the questionnaire and actually filling in answers.  

(Good Angel enters and places three large envelopes conspicuously on the stage.  Each has a boldly printed name on it of the three characters.  In each is an invitation and a questionnaire to be filled out)  

G.A.:
I am an angel of the Lord.  I am His messenger.  I have here an invitation that says, ďYou are invited to a party.  Everything you need will be provided.  The party begins when you arrive and ends whenever you want to leave.  It will be a divine experience.  To participate, you first must complete the enclosed form dealing with your possessions.  You must pay the price of admission.  The party will cost all that you have.Ē

B.A.:
What nonsense!  What absolute, utter nonsense.  Who is going to be interested in an invitation like that?  A party that costs all that you have?  Let me make a suggestion.  Donít order too many party favors.

G.A.:
Why not?

B.A.:
Even I can understand paying a fair price for something of value.  But, to give up everything?  Even the most important things in your life, to go to some speculative party?  No way!

G.A.:
Under the circumstances, itís a fair price.

B.A.
We shall see about that.  Here comes our magnificent trio now.  I see that Elmer is in the lead where he should be.  Heíll talk some sense into this group.

(The three enter singly, down the center aisle, spaced a little apart)

Elmer:
Hey, whatís this?  Itís got my name on the envelope.

Fred:
I wonder who put this here.  You have one too?

Elmer:
Yes, Nobody ever sends me mail.

Jane:
What are you doing?

Fred:
Oh, Jane.  There is one here for you as well.

Jane:
For me?

Fred:
I wonder whatís inside?  (All open the invitation)  Itís an invitation.

Jane:
To a party!

Elmer:
Looks suspicious.              

Jane:
Looks like fun.

Fred:
But look at the price!  It costs all you have.  Thatís too rich for my blood.

Jane:
Letís take a look at the form, or whatever it is weíre to fill out.  (Jane starts reading the form)

Elmer:
Dig this first question.  List your valuable possessions.  Ha!  Thatís going to be easy for me.  I donít have any.

Fred:
Elmer, donít give us your Ďpoor little meí routine.

Elmer:
Fred, next to you and your money, Iím practically penniless.

Fred:
Youíve got to be kidding.  Most of the world will never have the things we do, including you Elmer.

Elmer:
Fred, once again you are so predictable.  Come on, youíre dying to tell me what my many blessings are.

Fred:
Okay, I will.  Do you drive to work?

Elmer:
Yes.

Fred:
That means you have both a car and a job.  You are two ahead of most people in the world.

Jane:
Have you looked at number two?  How did you acquire these valuable possessions?  Boy, I hope the IRS isnít around.   This list may not coincide with my tax form.

Elmer:
Hey, Jane.  Everybody cheats on taxes. I did a couple of things on the shady side.

Fred:
Iím on the up and up.  I am honest in my reporting.  I worked hard for everything I have.  I earned it.

Jane:
Oh, look at number three.  Have you seen that?  ĎHow do you use your possessions?í  This is a weird questionnaire.  Why would anyone want to know that?  And what difference does it make how I use the things that I own?

Elmer:
I left that one blank.  All Iíve got of value is my coin collection.  My business is my business.

Jane:
Why do you collect coins if you canít use them and donít even enjoy them?

Elmer:
Everyone knows the true values in life are acquired by that great five-letter word Ė money.  My money.  I use my money to buy the best things in life.  Thatís M-O-N-E-Y.  (Spells it out)

Fred:
Elmer, you canít buy happiness with money.  Some of my rich friends have miserable marriages and miserable children and miserable ulcers.  You can buy some pleasures to make life easier, but you canít buy happiness.

Elmer:
Nonsense!  With money, I can buy a house.

Jane:
You can buy a house, but you canít buy a home with loving people inside of it.

Fred:
And you canít buy happy children.  You canít buy a wife who truly loves you.

Elmer:
How about the fine things of life, like art and jewelry?  How about those?

Jane:
You can buy those, but you canít buy an appreciation for beauty.

Elmer:
How about comfortable furnishing...a comfortable bed?

Fred:
You can buy a bed, but not a good nightís sleep.

Elmer:

Books!  (Getting aggravated)

Jane:
You canít buy wisdom.

Elmer:
IĎve got one for you.  Food and medicine, you canít deny that one.

Fred:
You can buy food and medicine, but not a healthy body.  You canít even buy a cure for arthritis.

Elmer:
I give up on you two.  If I had the chance, I could prove to you that youíre both wrong.  I mean, give me money, lots of money so I could bathe in it...walk through heaps of hundred dollar bills.  Iíd love to rollllll around...stuff it in my mattress...and lie in it.  Mmmmmm, Delicious!!  (Wild gestures to act out the above)  What a good nightís sleep Iíd have.

Fred:
You may think it would help you to sleep better, but for many, itís something they lose sleep over.  (Pause, looks at questionnaire)  Letís see here.  Question four.  How much time and money do you spend caring for and protecting your property? Hmmmm. These questions are strange.

Jane:
I donít spend any time or money on them.  Iím going to put down zero.

Elmer:
That sound good.  Me too.

Jane:
Oh, wait a minute.  We all have insurance, donít we?  So I think we need to put that down.

Fred:
Yes, and I suppose I could add the cleaning bill for my swimming pool.

Jane:
Of course.

Elmer:
Boat storage, for that scummy little boat of mine.

Fred:
Bank fees, brokerage fees, and wages for the hired help.

Jane:
Yes, and thereís updating and decorating and remodeling.

Fred:
Right.

Jane:
When you start to think about it, we spend a lot of time and money just taking care of all the things we have.  (All three start to mutter to themselves and talk at once, as they fill out their forms)  I wonder how many hours of polishing...

Fred:
I canít quite remember what I paid my accountants last year...

(Back to table to write)

Elmer:
Letís see, thereís insurance fees on the car.  Four times eight, carry the...

B.A.:
(Makes a loud noise and the three freeze on stage)  Elmer!

Elmer:
(Looks up from his paperwork)  Yes?

B.A.
What are you doing?  (He is perturbed, whispering over shoulder)

Elmer:
This is a special form I received.  It came with an invitation.  Iíve never asked myself questions like these, such as, list your possessions.  How did you get them?  Iíve never had to answer questions like these.  It makes a person think.

B.A.
Thatís what you have got to stop.  Thinking!  It only confuses you.  You are under my control, since you chose my way years ago.  Now do what you must do and do it quickly  (Makes a loud noise and the action continues)

Elmer:
Whose business is it anyway how much time or money we spend on our possession?  Right?  What I have is what Iíve earned and itís my right to do with it what I want.  Letís forget this questionnaire.  Okay?

Jane:
I know what you mean, but the form is rather interesting.  Besides, the party may be fun.

Elmer:
Yes, but did you remember the cost of getting in?  The bottom line?  Look at it again.  ĎI hereby transfer ownership of all the above to the party givers.í

Jane:
Transfer ownership.

Fred:
This is difficult to sign.  I have a lot of everything, a lot to lose.

Elmer:
I donít have much, but Iíve worked hard.  Iím not signing it all away.  Itís too much to ask.  Jane, you arenít signing, are you?

Jane:
It sounds so final doesnít it?  I donít know.

B.A.:
(Loudly from off stage)  Elmer?

Elmer:
I know Iím not going to sign it.  This form is a waste of time.  Letís go to the Mall.   Theyíre having a great sale this week.  Do you want to go?

Jane:
Consider this for a minute.  This may be the only time weíll ever receive this invitation, our last chance.

Elmer:
Ah, come on, we always can have a second chance.  (pause)  Donít you think?

Jane:
Maybe not.

Fred:
There!  Iím done!  Have you finished yet, Jane?

Jane:
Almost, but Iím reluctant to sign it.

Fred:
I was too, but I signed it because I want to go to that party and see what itís like.  I want to be there!

Jane:
What if itís all for nothing?

Fred:
So?  So what?  Everything we have came from God in the first place.  Weíve all been given far more than we ever deserved.  Why not give it back to God?  Besides, I like the big adventure.  Come on Jane, sign it.

Jane:
(Grabbing imaginary Ďtreasuresí in the air and clutching them to her)  But all my things?  (Looks down at her empty arms wrapped in front of her)  All my things.  (Nodding and beginning to smile)  Yes.  Theyíre all as empty as the air that I clutch to myself.  Yes, Iíll do it!  I want to sign.  I want to go to the party!
 

(Fred and Jane turn and sign the document, quietly chatting and comparing pages, their backs turned to Elmer and oblivious to his conversation)

Elmer:
(Looking out at the congregation)  Maybe it would be fun to go.  (Good Angel sprinkles Elmer)

B.A.
Wait now, you stop that.  That one belongs to me.  (G.A. defiantly sprinkles Elmer a second time)  You stop that!  Elmer, come here!  Elmer!

Elmer:
I know it sounds childish, but I want to go to the party.

B.A.:
Why?

Elmer:
I have this invitation.  Fred and Jane are going.

B.A.
Itís a trick, a trick, Elmer.  You wonít fit in.  They arenít your kind of people.

Elmer:
It canít be a mistake.  Look, my names on it.

B.A.
Elmer, Iím losing patience with you!  Iím going to spell it out for you very, very carefully.  (B.A. turns his back to Elmer, faces the audience and exits slowly so that his comments are aimed at all, not just Elmer)  You are a worthless human being because you are a sinner!  Youíve been slothful and envious.  Youíve been full of anger, lustful and gluttonous, greedy and proud.  (B.A. turns back to face Elmer)  Youíre not worth saving.

Jane:
Oh yes he is!

B.A.
Besides, who would invite you to a heavenly party?

Elmer:
(Pause) Someone has.  I know I am all these rotten things but I want to go to the party.

B.A.
Youíre making a mistake, Elmer.  Theyíre going to take everything that you have, everything you are.

Elmer:
I donít care.  I want to go!

B.A.
You canít get rid of me this easily, Elmer.  You canít!  I will be back!  (exits)

Elmer:
Jane.  Fred.  I really want to go to the party.

Both:
Good!  Wonderful!

Elmer:
But I canít.

Jane:
Why not?

Elmer:
Iím such a sinner.  I canít go.

Jane:
Elmer, Iím a sinner too.

Fred:
So am I, Elmer.  None of us are good enough to go to the party, but weíre invited anyway.

Elmer:
Well, if you think theyíll let me in, I want to go.

Jane:
Come on.

Elmer:
Okay.

Fred:
Good!  Good, Elmer!  (All three hug)

Jane:
(While Elmer signs) All of us are going.  What a miracle!

Elmer:
Yes, Iím so nervous.

(The three line up and give their form to the Good Angel, all-visible to the audience.  She takes them, one at a time an says their names as she looks at each separately and smiles)

G.A.
Jane.  Fred.  Elmer.  Iím so glad you came.  I see you have your forms and theyíre all filled out.  Now I give them back to you.  (She does)

Jane:
I donít understand.

Fred:
I thought this was the price of the party.

Elmer:
Itís free!

G.A.
Donít you realize your place at the party has already been bought and paid for?  Itís not free.  Jesus paid the price for you on the Cross.  On the Cross of Christ!  (She hugs each separately as the file by her on their way to the exit)

(Fred and Jane exit together, as do Elmer and the Good Angel.  The three are joyously skipping and chattering and trying to avoid tripping and falling.  ďItís free.  The Partyís free.Ē  ďAlready bought and paid forĒ  ďIím invited to the party,Ē etc.)

Elmer:
Youíre not going to let me in?

G.A.
Iím returning all of these things to you with the understanding that you will use all of these gifts from God wisely; that you will gratefully share them with those in need.

(P.S. The bad angel was feeling quite neglected and left out of the party and so he penned these words: (B.A. sits in the church parking lot with much wailing and gnashing of teeth.  Patrons drive over him. B.A. is not available for the next Lenten series!)


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