Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Perfect Plan

Happy Easter everyone. I know I have not posted frequently lately, but the good news is that I have been writing. In fact I wrote the script to the Easter program that was performed today at my church Central Community Church here in Fresno. It went well and I was very humbled to have contributed to it. I decided to post it here for you all to read as well. It was challenging to write a script. It was my first attempt and I found it quite different from writing fiction or essays. Anyways, I think it was a good first effort. It is called "the Perfect Plan."

The Perfect Plan

God the ultimate creative being chose to create the world we know. Though it did not appear then as it does not, he in his wisdom planned everything to sustain his creation physically, but also spiritually. The Bible which means “the Word” is the story of God and his creation. The amazing part of it is that God’s plan is perfect and therefore his is the greatest story ever told. This is an attempt to share the story in a visual way and to also understand the story better from God’s perspective. It is my hope that by viewing these events from God’s perspective, we will see God’s unending love for his creation, rebellious people included.

God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit are seated together. Lights are on them alone, the rest of the stage is dark. God the Father begins:

G: I have decided to create something wonderful. There has been nothing like it before and there will be nothing like it again. It will be completely unique.

S: That is wonderful. What will this creation look like?

God gets up and moves to the edge of the stage between the two screens

F: We will begin by creating by creating light and dark. Light and dark visuals appear on the screen as he explains. We will call the light day and the dark night. Then we will create water and sky, then separate the waters with land. Images show the creation process. Then we will make plants and trees to fill the world with. We will make them of all types.

Jesus moves next to the Father and explains, moving his hands across as though he is imagining all the animals. The Spirit too moves next to God listening intently.

J: I like it Father. I will help you. We should make animals of all sorts then. Animals for the air and different ones for the land and even different ones for the waters. They will all be different and amazing in their own way. This will be our greatest creation yet. There will be nothing else like it. When do we get started?

Jesus and the Spirit begin to walk back as though going off to work.

F: We won’t stop there. We can do even better. We are going to create something to rule over all the beasts and all the land.

Jesus and the Spirit return to God’s sides. Light begins to shine on the garden in the back ground.

S: Good idea, a caretaker creation. Like the angles to manage things in heaven, these creations can manage things on earth. What did you have in mind Father?

F: I have a very special being in mind. We will take dust and make a man. We will make him in our image, and we will place him in the garden we will create to manage it. We will even make him a companion, a woman to help him.

Adam and Eve rise from the garden and appear to tend to the trees.

J: In our image? This is a special creature.

F: Yes but that is not the best part. The best part is he will have free will.

Jesus and the Spirit light up in surprise

S: Free will!?! How are we going to give this creature free will?

F: I will allow him to eat from every tree in the beautiful garden we will make, all except for the tree of knowledge of good and evil. If the man eats from that tree he will die.

S: This man will surely eat from the tree eventually, and then he will die, and what then?

F: He will. Both he and his companion will be deceived. They will eat from the tree and then be expelled from the garden. Sin will enter into their hearts and one day they will die.

Adam and Eve mime the eating of the fruit. God walks towards the two and gestures to them. They appear afraid, then when God points away they flee.

J: Well won’t that ruin everything Father? Won’t that destroy the creation?

The three all turn back to the audience

F: It will certainly change it, but all will work out in the end. I have a plan to help man and bring him back.

S: But Father, once man knows of good and evil, he will do evil, and then we cannot bring him here. He cannot do evil and live among us. What will become of this creation?

F: No he cannot dwell among us while there is sin in his heart, but we will find one who will be faithful. One who will follow my commands. His name will be Abraham because he will be the father of our people. I will establish my covenant with him and through him a great nation will be born, a nation that will follow us.

Abraham appears from the side walking and God stops him while continuing to explain. Abraham drops in worship but God raises him up and shakes his hand to signify the covenant.

J: Even then father, how will we know which of these people belongs to us and which do not? How will they set themselves apart from all the other people?

F: We will establish a covenant of circumcision with Abraham. He and all his children will set themselves apart through this act. It will be their defining characteristic in the flesh, though I much more desire their hearts to be pure.

Abraham continues to kneel near God as he explains to Jesus and the Spirit.

S: How do we know that this Abraham will be faithful? After all he will have free will. How can we trust him?

F: I will test his faith. He will have a son, one he thought he never would have. I will instruct him to sacrifice his son to me. If he, a loving father, can sacrifice his son to me, then he will have proved his devotion. He will pass this test.

Abraham mimes, taking a boy and preparing to sacrifice him

J: Surely father you do not desire for him to actually kill his son.

G: Of course son. I will stay his hand, and provide him with a proper sacrifice, one that will take the place of his son.

As God is speaking he stares at Jesus thinking about his eventual sacrifice

S: That is good Father. This way our people will be set apart. Specially marked as belonging to Abraham’s family. But still, they will have trouble. This fallen world will always entice them. We need something else to help mankind, perhaps I could dwell among them.

F: There will be a time for that my Spirit, but they will not be ready then. No, first they must know the law. We will find a leader from among our people, one called Moses. He will guide our people through hardships with our help. They will be a stubborn people and will require many lessons before they submit themselves to us. I will give this Moses our law, and he will teach it to our people. He will teach them how we desire them to live, holy and righteous.

Moses appears during this scene. God meets him and puts his hand on Moses’ shoulder. Moses walks to the edge of the stage and then leads others onto it (3-4). God stops Moses and hands him the Ten Commandments. Moses receives them bowing and then turns to teach them to the people. We show an image of the Ten Commandments on the screen.

J: Even then Father, the law will only show them what they are doing wrong. It cannot redeem them. They may learn that they are a fallen people, but the law alone will not end their sinning, nor excuse the sins they have already committed. Furthermore, they will not be able to keep the law. It will only condemn them.

F: I know my son, but until they know that they fall short, they will not submit. Man’s greatest stumbling block will be himself. The law will help him to evaluate himself and know that he is lacking. Until they are aware of their sin, they cannot be cleansed.

J: I understand but how do you intend to cleanse them then? They will always want to be like the rest of the people, even our chosen ones. They will want to be like every other nation.

F: I know my son. It is true that they will try to be like the pagans. Our people will enter a land that we will choose for them and they will establish their kingdom there. We will be their king, but that will not please them. We will have to select a king for them so that they can be like the other nations of the world.

S: If we must do this, then we must select one that will be true. It will not be easy. Out people will want the strongest and bravest man. We will need to look at the man’s heart.

A few men line up near the edge of the stage and the Spirit begins to look them over as he speaks. He rejects the first ones.

F: We will find one. His name will be David and he will be a man after our own heart. He will win many battles for our people because he will be humble and true. He will lead our people justly. We will even commission him to draw up plans for a temple do that our people will have a place to worship. It is there that we will dwell on earth. It is there that they can meet us.

The Spirit selects “David” and David steps out from the group. He then leads the men in a “charge” off the stage. He alone remains and bows before God as God hands him “blueprints” for the temple. The other men return. David mimes directing them and then passing them the blueprints. We show an image of the temple on the screen.

J: Father, that too will not do. A temple? They will come to idolize the temple. It will become all about the physical building and less about communing with us. I fear that this too will lead the people away from us. It simply will not do.

F: It is true. The temple is not my ultimate goal for our people. It is nor what I want, but they will not be ready for what I desire from them. The temple is not ideal, but it will prepare them for future plans.

S: It won’t last. Their loyalty, their devotion will fade. Their kings will not be faithful. They will stray. The temple will have to be destroyed. We cannot allow them to worship a building. We also cannot dwell in a place where sacrifices to pagan gods are made. If they are going to worship, it must be from a pure heart.

F: I know, I know, the temple will have to go. Our people will suffer huge defeat. They will be crushed for their sins and their unfaithfulness. Their enemies will enslave them and they will be scattered like sand in the wind. They will feel that we have abandoned them, but we will not. Even then they will be our people and we will be their God.

J: But how then will we ever get them to return? How can they be redeemed?

Pause and God looks painfully at his son

F: There is only one way. (Pause) You must go to them son.

J: I? But why? Is there no other way?

F: There is none.

Pause as Jesus steps away to consider the proposal

J: Very well father, I will do that for them. How will you have me go? As a flashing light? Brilliant and bright? Yes, I could draw them to us that way. Be revealing our glory and magnificence to them, they will surely bow then.

F: No my son. I am not sending you in a flash of light. I do not want them to obey out of fear or amazement, but out of love.

J: Love? But how will we redeem them through love?

F: Through you my son. You will go as an infant, a baby, born of a woman, a descendent of our servant David.

A woman steps onto the stage carrying a baby and rocking it softly, God Jesus and the Spirit watch her half turned

J: A baby? I will leave this heaven to be born of a human woman? That is surprising indeed, truly a humble way to enter the world. The very world I will help to create.

S: But Father, how will he be in human form? We are divine.

F: He will be both fully human, experiencing all of the things humans will experience so that he can know their pain and feel their hurts. But he will also be fully divine and perform miraculous things, casting out demons, healing the sick, and even raising people from the dead.

S: This is a strange plan indeed. Will I play a role as well?

F: Yes my Spirit. You will be with him when he submits himself to cleansing in a river. I want to show the people what I desire of them so when the Son is baptized, you will descend on him so that all of the people will know that such things please me.

Show a picture of the baptism on the screen

J: But what then? Am I to merely live among them as an example?

F: Not at all. You will select some to teach and instruct closely on our ways. You must help them to understand that we have so much more planned for them than they realize. You must help them to change so that they may enter our kingdom.

Some men (3-4) wander out and Jesus gathers them. They sit at his feet and appear to listen to him closely.

S: But will we not have done this already? We will have given them law, a king, a temple, and now the Son is going to live with them. But they will reject us still. They will continue to sin. They will still be unrighteous, dirty as grave clothes, and unable to return to us. What can we do to save them from this fate?

F: The son will have to die.

S,J: What!?!

J: Die! But father why? How? For them?

F: Yes for them. You will be betrayed, slandered, falsely accused, beaten, and eventually murdered.

Images of these acts will flash on the screens

J: Are you sure? Murdered? But what will that accomplish?

F: Through your death the penalty, the debt of their sins can be forgiven.

J: But death? Will they be worth it?

F: They will never be worthy, but we will love them anyways, and I want them to return to us so you must go and fetch them and bring them back to us.

S: Is that the end then? The Son’s death? This is surely a tragic story.

F: But it isn’t. The son will rise from the death resurrected. The people will rejoice and this act will save the people from their own deaths. The Son will live among them for a while longer finishing the lessons he began.

The people come running over to surround Jesus all touching him to make sure he is real, then kneeling near him to listen

J: Yes! It will work! This is a great plan father! Then we will have our creation back, our children.

F: Yes but then it will be our time to draw all of them to us. You will send the men out and instruct them to gather all they find and show them the path to us. The people leave from Jesus, a new person comes walking near Jesus “Saul”. One you will find will be named Saul. He will hate our people and kill them even. You will blind him Son and he will become our apostle to the pagans, the gentiles. He will be a powerful witness, spreading the good news throughout the world, even those outside of Abraham’s family. All will hear of your death and resurrection my son, so they all may enter our kingdom.

Paul goes out and begins bringing people from the audience, perhaps some that have been placed there

S: This plan is perfect. It will surely draw the people to us in love. Love for the son’s sacrifice.

F: Yes and you my Spirit, you will dwell among them as well, even inside of each one that believes in the resurrection of the Son. You will guide them and help them to live pure lives.

The spirit moves among the people who have gathered in the center of the stage

S: I will gladly go, but I still sense that some will not turn to us. Some will reject this plan and live for themselves.

The people in the center disperse around the stage and busy themselves with individual things. At this point there need be an assortment of people representing not only ancient Rome, but also modern day

F: Sadly it is true, but the son will return.

J: A second time? As a baby once more?

F: No. This time you will come in all our glory. You will come this time to gather everyone to us so that all may be judged.

J: I will judge them Father?

F: Yes and because of the sacrifice you will make, an innocent death, you alone will be allowed to judge between the just and the unjust, the believers and the non-believers.

Jesus moves around the stage and all of the people follow him

J: So be it. Then I will judge and separate those who have pure hearts, loving hearts, from those who have selfish and hard hearts.

Jesus casts some of the people there away

S: This is a perfect plan. Once they are judged, all that remain will bow in worship and sing in chorus. The kingdom will be grand. The people who remain kneel to worship. It will take much patience and diligence, but it is perfect all the same. The people will respond to our love for them. Though some may never return to us, many will and the kingdom will flourish.

F: Excellent, the plan is set then, let us begin.

The stage goes dark except for the Father Son and Spirit at the edge of the stage, all the people move off.

J: We are with you Father, let us create this wonderful world so that we may enjoy it.

Jesus and the Spirit wrap an arm around God and God each of them in a picture of the trinity united

On the screen or have a narrator read, or both:

Revelation 22:12-13 Behold I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.

Written by: Phillip Brunnengraeber