Higher Stakes Than The Olympics

Pilate's Wife

Pilate’s wife agonizes over the charges against Jesus.

Stakes soared at the Olympics. Topnotch skaters, skiers, snowboarders, bobsledders, and hockey players from around the world risked everything to win Olympic gold. Some exalted in stellar performances. Others were crushed by an unexpected fall, a missed landing, or being a nanosecond behind. Once-in-a-lifetime experiences imprint themselves deeply in our memories.

Lent invites us to look back to a time when the stakes loomed far higher than those at the Olympics. The crowds finally realized who Jesus was and shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” Less than one week later, they reversed themselves and cried, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!”

We know the end of the story, so it’s easy to ask how they could be so fickle. But is that fair if we don’t make an effort to slip into their skins and experience the pressures and presuppositions as they did?

I’ve been humbled and enriched as I’ve spent time with Martha, Lazarus, Mary the mother of Jesus, Mary Magdalene, Peter, Pilate, Pilate’s wife, and Barabbas. Somehow, as I struggle with what they might have felt, I get a clearer picture of how incredible Jesus really was. And is. For them. For me. For you. For everyone.

Peter, so quick to speak up or act out, says, “When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls” (1 Peter 2:23-25 NIV).

I’m inviting you to bring some of the key Bible characters to life this year through monologues or drama sketches for your small group or your congregation so that people engage in getting to know Jesus Christ, the One who  revolutionizes our lives. Then. Now. For eternity. Do you know of any higher stakes?

CHRISTMAS EUCHARISTEO

Eucharisteo? Does that sound like Greek to you? Well, no wonder. It is Greek! And it’s my favorite new word for the year, first encountered in Ann Voscamp’s One Thousand Gifts, an engaging and energetic invitation to find joy by embracing everyday life with gratitude for God’s gifts of grace.

I’m fascinated by the beauty of the word as well as its meaning. Eucharisteo is used 37 times in the New Testament and is translated “thank” or “giving thanks” in English. That alone makes it appropriate to connect with Christmas in a year when Thanksgiving and Christmas nearly bump into each other.

But eucharisteo encompasses so much more. It grows out of the root word, charis, which means grace, and leads to chara, a spinoff from charis which means joy. Gratitude, grace and joy? What rich gifts!

I adopted Ann’s challenge to watch for and write down God’s simple gifts of grace. I’m up to 727 journal entries of simple blessings like morning dewdrops, Nathaniel’s two-year-old sparkle, and a serendipitous rendezvous with a friend whose photography-loving niece moved to town just when I was looking for a photographer for my parents’ 70th anniversary party. What priceless gifts that require neither ribbons nor dusting!

Our increasingly materialist society, however, substitutes consumer spending as the bottom line by which to measure the success of Thanksgiving and Christmas. Work and family demands in our fast-paced, instant internet world also rush and stress us, leaving us devoid of eucharisteo.

Those who lived in Bethlehem two thousand years ago had none of the modern conveniences that both simplify and complicate our lives. We may think that eucharisteo was easier for them, but they also faced frustrations and complications. Especially during the census that required them to return to the town of their birth. No airplanes. No trains. No cars. No way to call ahead for reservations. No room for Mary and Joseph after their long journey even though Mary was about to give birth to the Son of God.

It’s easy to look back at that incredible night and Tsk! Tsk! the people who failed to recognize the miracle taking place in their midst. But what if we had been there? Would we have realized what was happening?

1 Corinthians 10:11 tells us that the events in Scripture serve as examples to help us live wisely. AlphaStar Drama offers drama sketches that invite you to get to know the characters of Christmas. To slip into their skins and see life as they did. To experience their fears and perplexities and to wake up to the ways God worked in their lives and wants to work in ours.

Awareness. Fresh insights. A new alertness to God. Are they not steps toward experiencing eucharisteo?

Enjoy the scripts. Share them with others. And let me know if they add eucharisteo–gratitude, grace, and joy– to your Christmas celebration. That would be an eucharisteo entry for me!

GET READY FOR CHRISTMAS!

GET READY FOR CHRISTMAS!

Have you heard news reports that equate Christmas spending with making or breaking the year’s economy? The implication is that spending money is the essence of Christmas.

What a tragic trivialization of Christmas!

  • Christmas is Incarnation: God became man.
  • Christmas is Emmanuel: God with us.
  • Christmas is Redemption: God comes to make us His. Forever!

AlphaStarDrama’s sketches and monologues allow you to tell the incredible story of Christmas in engaging ways:

  • Conversations with Gabriella invites you to experience the impact of the incarnation in a fresh way as Gabriella, a clueless young angel, tries to figure out why Gabriel is being sent to earth so many times.
  • Missing the Messiah challenges us to rethink our presuppositions so we don’t miss the most important Person who’s ever come to our world.
  • Wise Men in Herod’s Court employs humor to highlight truth as Herod and his Court Attendant exchange dialogue about the arrival of the Magi.
  • Glory Night gives a fresh perspective on Christ’s coming as seen through the eyes of Bethanna, a shepherd’s wife.
  • You Ever Met a Man Like Joseph? is a touching monologue by Elias, Joseph’s fictional neighbor who not only asks whether we’ve met a man like Joseph but also whether we’ve met Joseph’s God.

October’s Christmas special allows you to download Christmas scripts at bargain prices so you can get ready for Christmas by preparing to share God’s extravagant and much-needed gift of love through insightful Bible-based drama scripts.

Enjoy!

The Greatest Drama Ever Lived

Drama. It entertains and energizes, informs and inspires, challenges and changes us.

So how do we feel about drama in real life? Do we welcome it or run from it?

Shakespeare wrote:

“All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players . . .” (As You Like It, Jacques, Act II, Scene VII).

Shakespeare plunks us all on the stage of life. No choice. Just seven stages of life that begin and end with dependency. Although artistic, his depiction leaves us with a sense of futility.

To be sure, life hands us many surprises. But is this all there is to life? Or is there a meta-drama that transcends and orchestrates the drama of life in which we’re involved? And if there’s a meta-drama, who’s writing the script and directing the production?

Think creation. Insubordination. Incarnation. Crucifixion. Resurrection. Redemption. Eternity.

Then think God.

Who but God would not only craft a master script but also direct, produce, and play the lead role in the incredible drama of redemption?

Drama is often used to portray the events leading up to Easter. And no wonder: The week between Palm Sunday and Easter is filled with drama. Characters with diverse motives and agendas enter and exit, spinning plot reversals that nail Jesus, an innocent man, to the cross. All seems lost.

To be sure, all would be lost except for the meta-drama of redemption that’s going on behind the scenes. It’s the greatest drama ever lived! And it’s the marvelous meta-drama that’s so needed in our world today.

Christ-centered drama can be a vital tool for outreach or discipleship in your church during the Lenten and Easter season. Check out our special offers at www.AlphaStarDrama.com.

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