Introduction

Historically, theater began in the church, right there in the chancel, and there’s no reason not to bring it back. After all, what is the Eucharist but good drama, complete with props and costumes and dramatis personae and one heck of a story?

The play below, which was first presented in a national and ecumenical church drama contest in Dallas, Tex., (Yes, it won the award.) is effective ministry because it engages children with adults participating in the rites of Baptism and Holy Eucharist.

Following the script itself, read on for rationale and commentary for your inspiration, motivation and encouragement.

THE GIFT OF WATER

For a Service of Baptism and Eucharist

CAST OF CHARACTERS and PLAYERS:

Priest, Angel of Death, Noah, Sub-narrator, OBV (God), Acolytes and Cheerleaders, Pharoah, Director, Troop Leader, Moses, Phantoms

PROPS:

— Ark, made of cardboard with two sides and open back, painted in whatever fun way desired
— Bow
— Rainbow
— Sword
— Poles with blue, white and green crepe paper (to suggest water)
— Black cassocks for phantoms (to suggest that they are invisible)
— Alb, stole, priest’s collar, cape, beret, sunglasses. megaphone
— Outfits designed for Noah, God, Moses, Pharaoh
— Acolyte robes for acolytes; coordinated skirts and blouses for cheerleaders
— White face paint for phantoms, perhaps white face or mask for Angel of Death
— Children’s animal hats
— Hammerer
— Microphone
— Boom box
— Twig with green
— Paper cups
— Baptismal font
— Pulpit
— Altar
— Altar frontal
— Bush
— Red and yellow Christmas lights
— Candy
— Three buckets
— Red dye
— Confetti, blood red
— Plastic and rubber insects
— Phantom signs
— Cow, people
— Army blanket
— Doorposts
— Lamb leg
— Stick horse

THE GIFT OF WATER

(Worshipers are given cups of water as they enter. If they inquire why or what for they are to be told that they will be given instructions in due course and to please hold the cups of water until then. Children are invited to process and then are seated on the floor at the foot of the celebrant. In most worship spaces of the time this would be near the sanctuary. Helpers appear, and while the priest or bishop is speaking, one exchanges the priest’s stole for a black cape, sunglasses, beret, and megaphone. Other helpers pass out hats that depict different animals and tell the children to put them on. The children will have made these hats the previous Sunday and their recognition of them is part of the fun.)

Deacon

 Please be seated. The readings for the day are contained in the drama.

Director/Celebrant/Narrator

 We invite all children who may not have been in the procession to join us. Please, come forward. (To children, as others are joining the group) What are we about to do?

Children

 (Our children would respond, because they are used to having plays.) We’re going to have a play!

Director

 (If no one responds correctly say the following line) We are going to have a play.
(If they respond correctly say the following) Of course!
Now, guess what part I am going to play.

Children

(One is likely to guess properly) Director!

Director

(If not say the following) I am going to play the director.

And what is your part? What animal is on your head? You are that animal. Yes, you are a big elephant, and you are a snake, and you are a lark. Each of you is the animal shown on your hat. Can you make the sound of the animal you are wearing? (The inevitable cacophony breaks out, quickly interrupted by banging and clanging sounds “off stage”.)

What in the world is that? (Noah appears, dragging the ark, and pausing to hammer.) Who in the world is this? (Noah lays down the tools, then drags the boat toward “stage center”, muttering and grumbling to himself, until he reaches the proper spot. To Noah)

What in the world are you doing?

Noah

(Going back to work on his boat) What does it look like I’m doing? I am building a boat. (To himself, looking up and away) I really can’t understand just why I am trying to build a boat.

Director

Wait a minute! You are building a massive boat, and you don’t know why?

Noah

Well, you know, it’s kind of funny, but the other day there I was out on the golf course, enjoying myself – as much as I can on a golf course – just the wife and I. I had chipped up to within a foot and a half from the hole, and the wife was a good forty-five feet away. I was really going to get her this time. And wouldn’t you just know, she steps up and knocks the ball right in! Plop. That shook me up so bad, I missed my little put. Of course! You can imagine how I felt. I dropped my putter, threw back my head and shouted to the heavens: “God!”

Omniscient Booming Voice (OBV)

Noah!

Noah

Just like that.

Director

What did you say back?

Noah

I say, “Huh?”; and then, “Uh oh”; and then, “Oh my God.”

OBV

Yes, Noah.

Noah

Is that really you, Lord?

OBV

You bet your sweet life. I need to talk to you Noah.

Noah

Is it just me, or, do you sound angry, Lord?

OBV

Indeed, I am some hacked off at all you sinners down there.

Noah

What did we do now, Lord? (To congregation) Oh Lordy, Lordy Miss Claudy.

OBV

Don’t forget Noah, I am the One to whom all hearts are open, all desires are known and from whom no secrets are hid. So I know what’s up, down, and around again. And what’s going on is not good. But, Noah, I’ve got to say that you’ve been good, at least relatively. So I tell you what I am going to do. I am going to let humankind get off to a clean start. I will destroy everyone but you and your family. That is why I want you to build a boat.

Noah

My God!

OBV

Yes?

Noah

No, I mean…What kind of boat? How long? How wide? A few specs would help.

OBV

Pay careful attention. (Noah gestures) Don’t get smart with me Noah….Build it three hundred cubits long, fifty cubits wide, thirty cubits high.

Noah

I got you Lord. What is a cubit?

OBV

About the same length as that putt you just missed. Yep, about a foot and a half. Now Noah, I want you to make stalls and rooms and cages for all that flies in the air and all creatures that creep and crawl and walk on the earth. I want you to take two of each kind of animal and bird with you and your family on the Ark.

Noah

Should I bring fish too?

OBV

Noah, you are to build a boat. I am talking flood; lots of water. Think, man.

Noah

(Slaps forehead) Sorry.

OBV

I will send a great flood to drown everything not on the ark. It will rain forty days and forty nights.

Noah

(He resumes hammering and sawing) That ought to do the job.

OBV

After the flood, you and your family will rebuild the world.

Noah

(To Director) That may sound crazy to you, but it sounded even more crazy to me. After all, look around (being presented in Dallas), the water isn’t even close and enough water to float this ark is miles and miles away? Did I look foolish to my neighbors? And I couldn’t say a thing. But, of course, I’m doing what the Lord told me to do. I am building this ark….that’s what I’m doing.

(Director quietly prepares the children to enter the boat and hold up the sides. Noah takes a position at the bow.)

Noah

(To Director) OK. I am ready. Bring in the animals.

Director

(To children) Animals, enter the boat. As we begin our voyage of forty days and nights let’s sing “Ark-E, Ark-E”. (The congregation has the song in their program and they are urged to sing with the children and to make the gestures.)

THE LORD SAID TO NOAH, ‘I’HERE’ S
GONNA BE A FLOODY, FLOODY,

(Repeat)

GET THOSE CHILDREN
OUT OF THE MUDDY, MUDDY
CHILDREN OF THE LORD.

(During each refrain, the Director and Noah teach the “animals” and the congregation to use hand gestures to indicate the rising, shining, and flashing of the sun, ending in the orans position for the words, “Children of the Lord”.)

SO RISE AND SHINE AND GIVE

GOD YOUR GLORY, GLORY

(Twice)

RISE AND SHINE AND GIVE

GOD YOUR GLORY, GLORY

CHILDREN OF THE LORD.

SO NOAH, HE BUILT HIM,
HE BUILT HIM AN ARKY, ARKY

(Twice)

BUILT IT OUT OF HICKORY
BARKY, BARKY
CHILDREN OF THE LORD.

SO RISE AND SHINE AND GIVE

GOD YOUR GLORY, GLORY

(Twice)

RISE AND SHINE AND GIVE

GOD YOUR GLORY, GLORY

CHILDREN OF THE LORD.

THE ELEPHANTS, THEY CAME ON
THEY CAME ON BY TWOSYS, TWOSYS,

(Repeat)

THEN GIRAFFES AND
KANGAROOSYS, ROOSYS
CHILDREN OF THE LORD.

SO RISE AND SHINE AND GIVE

GOD YOUR GLORY, GLORY

(Twice)

RISE AND SHINE AND GIVE

GOD YOUR GLORY, GLORY

CHILDREN OF THE LORD.

(Director motions to congregation to holds hands high, and use wiggling fingers to indicate falling rain. Noah helps the “animals” start a rocking motion with the boat. They move from one side of “the stage” to other, then “float” the ark into the aisle among the people.)

IT RAINED AND RAINED
FOR FORTY DAYSIES; DAYSIES

(Repeat)

DROVE THOSE ANIMALS
CRAZY, CRAZY, CRAZY
CHILDREN OF THE LORD.

SO RISE AND SHINE AND GIVE

GOD YOUR GLORY, GLORY

(Twice)

RISE AND SHINE AND GIVE

GOD YOUR GLORY, GLORY

CHILDREN OF THE LORD.

THE SUN CAME OUT AND
DRIED UP THE LANDY, LANDY

(Repeat)

EVERYTHING WAS PEACHY
DANDY, DANDY
CHILDREN OF THE LORD.

SO RISE AND SHINE AND GIVE

GOD YOUR GLORY, GLORY

(Twice)

RISE AND SHINE AND GIVE

GOD YOUR GLORY, GLORY

CHILDREN OF THE LORD.

(Teenage players dressed as cheerleaders run down aisle with long sticks stretched out over the heads of the members of the congregation. Hanging from the sticks are blue, green, and white crepe streamers, indicating rain.)

Director

The rain is falling, all around you now. The rain is falling everywhere, all over the world. The water is rising so high the Ark is floating about, loosed upon the seas that begin to cover the face of the earth. The water is rising so high that all the other people and animals on the earth are drowning. Can you hear them? Blub, blub, blub. (The director makes a sound of drowning and lowers her head as though going under water, and elicits the same sound and action from the congregation as the streamers pass over their heads.)

People of the earth, that is water in a great flood washing over you, washing sin and corruption off of Mother Earth – by drowning you. (Noah has been leading the ark all through the nave, and finally brings it back to “stage center”.) It has rained for forty days and forty nights and all humanity except the members of Noah’s family are dead and gone, drowned in the great flood. The rain has stopped and the water has begun to recede. (The “cheerleaders” slowly start moving almost as if in slow motion toward the rear of the church, letting the streamers drag over the heads of the congregation,.)

You think there may be dry land somewhere out there. You have been cooped up in that smelly Ark, feeding and tending to those animals all that time and you would like to find dry land on which to place your feet again. You are getting tired of this way of life and it is time to make a new home and begin again. Now, how are you going to find out whether or not dry land has begun to reappear? (Pauses, but states the plan whether or not the answer is forthcoming) We send out a bird!

(Director picks up a small child, holds her or him under an arm, and instructs the child to flap arms.) You are a bird. Fly out and see if you can find dry land. If so, return with evidence. I will help you. (They “fly” the “bird” around congregation until they find a grandmotherly type, someone very popular and respected by the congregation, and who has been supplied with a twig. She puts the twig in the child’s mouth, and the director flies the child back to the ark.)

Noah

Dry land! We are saved. Thank you Lord God. Thank you, Holy, Mighty and Immortal One! (The children, as directed, leap and jump and clap for joy, shouting “yea” and other affirmations of joy, and then the organ leads the congregation in the Sanctus)

God

(Toward the end of the Sanctus, the person playing the role of the OBV rises from behind the altar slowly, standing on a riser to be viewed from the congregation almost as though standing on the altar, and with menacing power. God is armed with a bow, the string pulled back in striking position as though to let fly an arrow, and aims at the members of the congregation. The director looks terribly frightened.)

This weapon is a sign of my power over Humankind and all made of flesh and blood that creeps and walks on the earth. But I make a new covenant with you. Never again will I use any weapon against you.

(With deliberation, God eases the bowstring, turns the bow on its side, and places it on the altar. He picks up the rainbow that has been hidden there and fits it onto the bow. He holds up the rainbow.)

This shall be the sign of my new covenant with humankind and earth, the covenant of peace. After it rains, reminding you of the forces of nature, you will see the sign of my weapon turned on its side in a restful position of peace. You will see it, instead of a bow of war, as a beautiful sign of peace: the Rain Bow. When you see it you will remember that I will never make war against you.

Director

That is good to know. (To Noah and the children) Put down the Ark and come back to your place here on the floor. We are going to remember what we just learned and we are going forward in history to a time when the heirs of Noah were in trouble. Hundreds of years have gone by…

(Two “phantoms” enter, they are dressed in black robes, their faces painted white, with a black cross formed by stripes running ear to ear, and down the middle of the face. They remove the rainbow, and the ark.)

You are now the Children of Israel. These are phantoms. They are in the next part of the play, but you can’t see them, can you? No, not at all. They are invisible to us as they tend to certain things – unless they are wearing signs indicating a role that they are playing. You are the Children of Israel but you are slaves in the land of Egypt. You have been slaves a long time and you are very unhappy. (Directs them through gestures and demonstration to portray this unhappiness.) A slave’s life is miserable, just absolutely miserable. You yearn to be free, to be rescued.

(While the Director is talking he is changing to the role of Moses; and, the phantoms exchange the director props for a staff. They bring out a small Christmas tree with yellow and red Christmas lights, plug it in, and exit. No doubt some child is going to point out that it is a Christmas tree.)

This a bush, and see how it is lit up. We are pretending that those lights are flames. The bush is on fire! But look at the burning bush, how it keeps on burning but it doesn’t burn up. Now that is something that got the attention of Moses.

OBV

Moses!

Moses

Who’s that calling me from a burning bush that doesn’t burn.

OBV

God. I am the God of your fathers, the God of Jacob, the God of Isaac, the God of Abraham. Moses, come here to me; approach the burning bush.

Moses

Yes Sir, Lord, Sir.

OBV

Take off those shoes. Approach me with your feet bare to the ground, vulnerable, for it is with fear and trembling that you enter a holy dimension.

Moses

(Takes off shoes; with the appropriate fear and trembling Moses approaches the bush) Yes my Lord God, I am standing before you.

OBV

Moses, my people, whom you left behind in Egypt when you fled, are not happy. This you very well know.

Moses

(To children and congregation) You see, you are not happy.

OBV

(To the congregation) They are slaves to the Pharaoh.

Moses

(To children) You see, you are slaves to the Pharaoh, the ruler of mighty Egypt, the mightiest kingdom is oppressing you.

OBV

(To congregation) The slave drivers hurt my people, break their bones and make them bleed. My people labor them too hard, live too brutish a life, and die too young. I am going to see that my people are freed. (Cheerleaders come out and encourage the congregation to cheer. Certain of the lines, below, are printed in individual programs for the person holding it to shout out.)

Cheerleaders, Children, and Congregation

Yea, Yea, We are going to be rescued and set free. Yea God! Yea Moses! Good for us! Free at last, free at last, thank God we are to be free at last. How long Lord, how long! (and so on until the cheering gradually dies down)

OBV

I am going to give them a new home…a grand land at the end of the great sea, a land running rich in milk and honey…as it were.

Moses

By golly, that’s just swell. You go God; get right to it. (To children) Milk and honey for everyone. I bet we can invent ice cream. (To OBV) I have to tell you that I have been praying for you to rescue my people for years and years.

OBV

You think I don’t know that?

Moses

Oh… Right.

OBV

You have been praying, so…Have you ever heard it advised that human beings must be careful what they pray for? (Moses starts to see something of what is coming.) Yep. I will answer your prayer by sending you to carry it out. Isn’t that neat?

Moses

Say what?

OBV

Here’s the plan: I send you to the Pharaoh to demand that he set my people free.

Moses

Me? This can’t be! A mistake! I am only Moses. Egypt is the most powerful empire in the world with all those pyramids and armies, with all those chariots and horses and spears and arrows and…I…I…My God!

OBV

There you are. That is what you have. You have me.

Moses

Yes, OK, but, can I be honest here? Oh yeah, you already know what I am thinking don’t you? … I’m sunk….I don’t mean to be disrespectful, but…

OBV

It’s OK Moses. You assume that the Pharaoh is appointed, anointed, and sponsored by the most powerful god in the heavens, and that he is the most powerful man on the earth.

Moses

Everybody knows that. That’s the way it works.

OBV

Religious Orthodoxy throughout the civilized world has formed a certain picture of the cosmos: They see lots of gods, all operating according to their rankings within the heavenly society. These rankings depend on their personal power. In turn, each of these gods can sponsor people on earth, which means that people are arranged in society according to the heavenly ranking of the god that sponsors them. It looks like a big pyramid in heaven with a matching pyramid on earth. There is Pharaoh at the top of human society because the most powerful god sponsors him. Then the second most powerful class of people in society are sponsored by the next most powerful god in the heavens, and then the third most powerful, privileged, and wealthy people in human society are sponsored by the third most powerful in heaven, and so on, right on down to the lowliest peoples at the very bottom of the pyramid – slaves, and they are sponsored by lowliest god in the heavens. The Egyptians assume would be me, god of the children of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. So, if you see the same picture, a system in which the earthly power system is propped up by this kind of heavenly power system, the question is, how can the lowliest god send you to do something opposed by the most powerful god?

Moses

Yes, Lord. That is what everyone in the world believes. And you can see into my mind and heart, so I have to admit it — that is my question.

OBV

Baloney. Bunk. Straw gods. The whole civilized world happens to be wrong. We are about to turn that understanding of the cosmos on its head and give everyone a lesson in reality. This is going to be better than when the theory of relativity comes out. Never mind. I can get a little carried away when it comes to what will be called physics. You must see how much I love stuff, matter, the material component of what is. Never mind, back to your mission.

Moses

Lord, you are saying you are more powerful than the god of the Pharaoh and so in your name I can make him do what you want?

OBV

You bet your sweet life.

Moses

Precisely. Look, I can’t even talk goodly. You should find someone good with words who can negotiate.

OBV

I will send your brother Aaron to speak for you. But you make the demands. That is your job, for now. I will have some laws for you later.

Moses

Lord, when I tell them I’ve been sent by the God of the Children of Israel, I have to give them a name. Those Egyptians are used to having names for their gods. Who do I tell them sent me?

OBV

I Am, or Yah-weh. If you try to translate that for people used to thinking of their gods as just bigger, stronger, faster, and smarter creatures, you’ll have to admit that you can’t get a handle on my name any more than you can me.

Moses

They are not going to believe this. What if they don’t believe me?

OBV

I will give you signs so that they will know that my call to free my people from slavery in Egypt must be obeyed, that I Am Who I Am and Becoming has chosen their slaves to form into a people who will represent me to the world and represent the world to me. (While OBV talks the phantoms bring out two pitchers, and place on floor.)

Moses

Would you show me an example, if you don’t mind that is. I need something to hang this on.

OBV

Okey-dokey. Do you see those pitchers of water? Pour one into the other. (As Moses pours) It has changed into blood. (Moses pours it back into the first pitcher and it is red from the dye in the second pitcher.)

Moses

My goodness, it is blood! OK, Lord, Aaron and I will do our best! (Phantoms take the pitcher away from him and pull a switch to a third pitcher, which is left in the same position on “stage”.)

OBV

Go in peace.

Moses

Thanks be to God.

Sub-Narrator

(Rises from within the congregation) Just so, Moses and Aaron went down into Egypt and were received by their own people, offering the message, “Your Lord God promises to redeem you.” (Pharoah enters pulpit, looking stern.) All we have to do is go to the Pharaoh and tell him that Yahweh makes this demand: “Let my people go!”

Sub-Narrator

But the Pharaoh answered:

Pharaoh

NO!

Moses

Somehow I saw that coming. I just knew this was not going to be easy. It is obvious that he is not used to taking commands. Time for a different tactic. Mr. Pharaoh, Let the children of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob go into the desert in order to worship and pray to our God in our own way with feast and sacrifice.

Pharaoh

So, you have time for a holiday, eh? Obviously, you don’t have enough to do; you have left-over energy. From now on, use your time off to collect your own mud and straw for making bricks.

Sub-Narrator

Instead of being freed, the Israelites found themselves working twice as hard for their meager food, clothing, and shelter. They soon had a message for Moses: Go away and leave us before we are completely ruined. (The children are encouraged by the adults sitting with them to shout at Moses.)

Children

Go down Moses, Go away! Go away! Go away! Go away!

Sub-Narrator

But Moses was determined.

Moses

(To congregation) I’m going back to tell Pharaoh: (Pointing his finger at the Pharaoh and shouting) Let my people go!

Pharoah

Nope.

Moses

All right. You’re forcing me to get tough. If you don’t let my people go, all of the water in your rivers and your wells, and all the water in the land, will turn into blood.

Pharaoh

I don’t believe that.

Moses

Don’t force me to show you. Your people are going to go thirsty. (Phantoms run up to the pitcher of “blood” which is now filled with red confetti, grab it, dash down the steps, and pitch the confetti on the children – who are sure they are having “blood” thrown on them until they see it is confetti.)

Moses

See. Now, are you ready to let my people go?

Pharaoh

No way.

Moses

Then there will be plagues.

Sub-Narrator

Lots of people become ill and many die of plagues.

(Phantoms walk on stage wearing signs that indicate that they are “People”, whereupon they grab their throat, their heart, their head, etc. and proceed to wilt, fall ill, and die.)

Moses

Now, let my people go!

Pharaoh

Never.

Moses

It’s insects this time: locusts and critters of all sorts that will overrun the land and take over the towns and cities. (Phantoms run down aisle throwing plastic bugs and worms, including gummy worms, over the congregation and especially on the children.)

Pharaoh

Ugh. (To Congregation) OK, Freud or no Freud, I hate bugs and insects. Turn the blood back into water, rid us of the plagues and of the critters. Then I will let your people go.

Moses

Whew, it is about time! (Waves his staff) So be it! Done.

Pharaoh

I change my mind. I couldn’t let them leave, (Starts singing from Camelot) “…not ever in the springtime, summer, winter or fall…”

Moses

You cheat!

Pharaoh

I am the Pharaoh. When you make the rules you can’t cheat.

Moses

You don’t get it, hard-headed man! God makes the rules, and you obey – or else. So it’s carnival time, that is, “Carne Valle”, “good-by to meat”. (Phantoms come on stage on all fours, wearing signs indicating cows, sheep, pigs, etc. They roll over and stick up all fours in death.) Pharaoh, your head is strong, but your stomach is weak without food. Let my people go!

Pharaoh

The slaves are mine. I own them and I will not give up my slaves. Forget about it.

Sub-Narrator

The Pharaoh remained obstinate through hailstorms (Lights flash on and off and sound effects indicate a fierce storm) even though the hail covered the ground like the grass of a field. He refused to relent even though darkness covered the land like a blanket. There was no light, no sun, moon, or stars, in those days. (Phantoms completely cover the children with blankets, and make scary noises of fear in total darkness) Finally, Moses threw up his hands and said:

Moses

I have had it to up yonder (gesturing) with you. It’s come down to this. Let my people go, or you will suffer the worst disaster in the history of your land. The first-born male of every Egyptian family will die.

Pharaoh

You wouldn’t do that.

Moses

There is no bluff or bluster in Yahweh.

Pharaoh

I am in charge here and I will not be intimidated.

Sub-Narrator

If Pharaoh does not relent an angel of the Lord will visit every household and kill the first-born son. (Phantoms bring in roasted leg of lamb, can of dye, and a doorpost.)

Moses

You children of Israel must stay at home with your family and eat a special meal. Kill the purest lamb you have or can find, and cook it in a certain way I will teach you. Take the blood of the lamb, and paint it on your doorpost to let the angel know that you are a child of Israel. If the doorpost does not show the blood of the lamb, the angel will visit that household with death.

(Musical accompaniment is suggested during the playing out of this scene, perhaps from Baptist Blood or Phantom of the Opera. The phantoms place the doorpost as an entrance to where the children sit. They help some of the children paint the doorpost with red dye. An angel appears with a huge sword – made of balsa wood and painted silver with a gold handle – and runs around the congregation, threatening congregation members with it until the angel gets to the doorpost. The angel stops and looks at the blood.)

The angel of God sees the blood. (The phantoms lift the angel and ritually pass him over the doorpost.) The angel passes over the household, leaving the children safe. (On the other side the angel runs off “stage”. Phantoms remove the doorpost.)

How many of you already knew what the Passover meal meant? Do you know now?

When the Pharaoh found that all first-born sons had been killed, including his own, he repented and called Moses to come before him.

Pharaoh

Moses, they are all dead.

Moses

Yes, Pharaoh.

Pharaoh

I get it. (Yelling) Take your people and get out of Egypt!

(Moses gathers the children, instructs them to form a line holding hands and begins to lead them around. Again, music is played to enhance the mood. As they pass down the aisle, among the people, the phantoms form a barrier in the path of the children with a blue satiny cloth, holding it low across the aisle and causing it to ripple to seem like a body of water.) Let’s leave Egypt and find the land God has promised us. But, do you see that sea? We have to get across that sea.

Sub-Narrator

(To congregation) As the children go by, flick the water in your cup on them (demonstrates how to lightly flick the water on the children)

Moses

Look behind you! The Pharaoh has changed his mind, again. He is leading his army and he is coming to get you. He wants to take you back into slavery. We have to get through to the other side of the sea. (Moses holds up his staff and prays) Lord God, in this baptism, grant your children the freedom of redemption. (Phantoms move the sea aside and the children go past while being sprinkled with water on the way.)

The Pharaoh is all wet! (The phantoms close the silk on the Pharaoh, and wrap him up. A member of the congregation throws a whole cup of water in his face.)

(The Phantoms bring the rainbow to the font to serve as a backdrop, along with banners, for the baptismal scene to follow.)

Sub-Narrator

The play is over. We will now sing the oldest known song of our faith, the Song of Moses, and as we sing please gather around the baptismal font. As we gather, please pour the remainder of your water, if you have any, into the font.

(The service of baptism and Eucharist continues with the reading of the Gospel.)

Rationale

“The Gift of Water” fosters intergenerational worship in such a way that children are not special little Christians for whom precious and occasional services are devised and dumbed-down. Here, children and adults play in the same cast, united by the same rituals. Here, adults and children learn and teach, play and work as Christians, rehearsing acts of our long story, told through theater. Here, teenagers mentor kiddoes, the tweens cradle the middle-aged, and little ones guide elders to recall essence and substance instead of the other way around. No pedants are harmed in this lesson.

Everything is for everyone.

Furthermore, people learn scripture, theology, doctrine, and “churchship” most effectively and convincingly through liturgical participation. Christian educators, such as John Westerhoff (“Liturgy and Learning”), and liturgists such as Lee Mitchell (“Praying Shapes Believing”), have persuaded the church of this insight, which led to a consensus among the church’s teachers and “thinkers.” The most effective engagement of a parish community comes with intimacy and spontaneity, in a space that fosters community, in actions that legitimately suit the culture of the participants, while exposing them to sacramental mystery, universality, awe, and majesty. This engagement comes, too, through art, especially theater.
Break a leg!


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