"Remember" (the musical)
© 2017 Words and music written by Jamie Aiken
A live soundtrack is available here:
(The setting is a megachurch sanctuary where a youth theatrical production is about to begin. Two of the church’s ministers come out to welcome the audience: Senior Minister, Rev. Joseph Kayfus and Associate Minister, Rev. Nick O’Demas.)
Rev. Joseph Kayfus: (loud and jolly voice) Hello everyone! Welcome to this year’s National Church Conference: “Praising the Lord in Spectacular Ways!” And speaking of spectacular, we’re kicking off the conference with a special treat: a stunning presentation by some amazing young people. And yes, they’re all from right here! After watching, I think you’ll agree with me that they’ve been extremely well fed through our ministries here. And more, I’m sure all of you are going to be blessed by this annointed production. You got anything you’d like to add, Nick?
Rev. Nick O’Demas: (shyly and sincerely) Well... sure. We hope you will feel free to visit us here any time. I’d love to meet you... maybe we can talk sometime during the conference.
Rev. Joseph Kayfus: Yes, indeed! And, as our church blesses you, we hope you’ll bless us with your prayers... and your gifts! And yes, (with hearty laugh) we do accept credit cards. Amen! I know God will bless you for it. Ain’t that right, Rev. Nick?
Rev. Nick O’Demas: (pausing) Well... I’m sure God is always seeking to bless His children. I pray we’ll open our hearts to these blessings. I know I should do this better each and every day. Like many of us, it’s hard for me...
Rev. Joseph Kayfus: (interrupting) Okay then... thank you, Nick. Before we get started, we need to recognize some dignitaries who have so graciously joined us this evening. One special guest needs no introduction, but let’s let him know how much we appreciate his dedicated service. Ladies and gentlemen, the Governor of our great state is with us tonight! (Rev. Kayfus leads the applause as he motions towards the Governor... who is out of view.) Thank you, Governor! (more applause) Also, we’re honored to have the most distinguished Judge Pilates with us! Please stand, Your Honor! (Rev. Kayfus motions to the judge who rises and bows while Rev. Kayfus leads the applause.) Wow, how about our special guests, Rev. Nick?!
Rev. Nick O’Demas: (softly) Well... I guess that’s neat. I’m glad everyone is here.
Rev. Joseph Kayfus: (making fun of Nick) Okay then... Rev. Nick, do you need me to get you a cup of coffee or something? So... are my young people ready backstage? (Rev. Kayfus looks offstage.) Perfect! Let’s get the blessings flowing! Ladies and gentlemen, it’s showtime!
(Both exit. Then, Rev. Nick O’Demas returns... awkwardly.)
Rev. Nick O’Demas: Uh... for some reason, I felt I should share this with you before the play begins. If you would, please consider what Christ was saying to His disciples... (pause)... and perhaps what He is saying to us now. (He opens his Bible to read the following passage.) “Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God... but unto those who are without, all of these things are done in parables: that seeing they may see, and yet not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and yet not understand. He that has ears to hear... let him hear...”
(Rev. Nick O’Demas scans the audience and then slowly walks away as the cast wanders drearily into view from all directions. Their clothing and accessories vary from the latest in styles... to modest attire... to seemingly impoverished. As they begin, each speaks in dry, uninspiring tones... merely reciting the words from the script.)
Martha: In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
Jude: And the earth was without form and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.
Sally: And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
Chloe: And God said, Let there be light; and there was light.
Andrew: And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness.
(Suddenly, all the lights go off and the cast murmurs nervously as if there is an unexpected problem. Rev. Nick O’Demas and Rev. Kayfus rush out to address the situation.)
Rev. Nick O’Demas: Friends, please remain calm. It seems like we have an electrical problem of some kind. I’m going to check the breakers and should have things fixed shortly.
Rev. Kayfus: Okay... while we’re waiting, let me remind you of our upcoming events. There are still a few tickets available for the “National Church Planting Conference” in Orlando. As your keynote speaker, I’ll be sharing how I grew this church from a few half-hearted members to a vibrant fellowship of over 100,000! You can register for the conference through our website, and there’s a link for reserving rooms at the Resort. If you’re a golfer, you’ll want to arrive early, as we’ll be having a couple of days of fellowship that we’re calling “Prayer on the Links.” Also, many of you have expressed interest in the “Cruising with Christ” adventure this summer. Yes, it’s two breathtaking weeks of exploring the Eastern Caribbean and the scriptures in the...
(Suddenly, a man in the audience dressed in a tattered military-looking jacket jumps from his seat and interrupts Rev. Kayfus. His unkempt appearance and manner seem wildly inappropriate to the occasion. Rev. Kayfus looks shocked... and the cast members have various bewildered reactions, including fear.)
John: (approaching Rev. Kayfus) No... No... No! This must not be! This is supposed to be a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of fools! (whirling around semi-crazed) Yes, I’ve been silent too long. Today, we will start by acknowledging our manifold sins!
Rev. Kayfus: (sternly) John, now is not the time for your ranting; your behavior here is most inappropriate. As soon as we get the lights fixed, my youth are continuing with our excellent presentation.
John: Excellent presentation?! What’s excellent about it? It’s absolutely dreadful! Creation is about Life... overflowing with the power of Almighty God! You hypocrites! This pointless play is what is inappropriate!
Rev. Kayfus: (embarrassed by the situation) Okay John, you’ve had your say... but now, it’s time to move on. Must I have you forcibly removed? Remember, I’m the one in charge here.
John: In charge of what?! There is only One to whom I answer... He who is building His church in repentant hearts! He’s calling the broken... beggars, outcasts, and all yearning to hear! He holds the power that lights the world! (John motions upwards and the lights begin to glow.)
Rev. Kayfus: (panicked) Hey! What’s going on here?!
John: Realness is coming, Kayfus! Are you ready?
Rev. Kayfus: (panic turning to fear) Am I ready?! Ready for what?!
John: (calmly but forcefully as he moves towards Rev. Kayfus) For the coming of the Lord! There is One who will make the crooked straight... even if he is as crooked as you.
(Rev. Nick O’Demas rushes back on stage, as Rev. Kayfus stands stunned and confused. Rev. Kayfus stares blankly at Nick... stares at John... stares at the audience without expression... and then walks off the stage, as if sleep walking. Everyone else remains frozen, as if in shock.)
Rev. Nick O’Demas: Okay... here’s the deal. Clearly, what we have here is far from an electrical issue. Sadly, for many, it may feel like an unbearable tragedy. However, for some, it’s good news... very good news... the best news! For all of us... today can be the day of salvation.
John: (earnestly to Nick) Do you happen to have some wild honey and fresh locusts?
Rev. Nick O’Demas: (laughing) No, not on me; I’m sorry, John. (John looks dejected.) Wait, have you checked in our snack bar? (Nick motions him in the right direction.)
(John walks up close to Nick and looks him in the eyes most intensely.)
John: (sincerely) Thank you, Nick. You’re okay. (John walks off in the direction advised.)
Rev. Nick O’Demas: (turning to address audience) Friends, God entered time thousands of years ago... but in the Kingdom of God, time is temporary AND Eternal... at the same time! Consider... the 100 year-old-man remembers his childhood vividly, as if it were just yesterday. Likewise, from the old man to the smallest child, a living echo is right here, “I am with you always... even to the end of the age.” (pausing) And so, this theatrical work continues... but now in the realm of the Spirit... where time and Eternal time are one.
(The lights become multi-colored flashes as Nick gazes upwards with arms open wide. Suddenly, all the lights go off. After a short pause, the lights come on revealing the group talking amongst themselves. Rev. Nick has departed. Rev. Kayfus and John are walking towards each other from opposite directions.)
John: (fervently) And so, I shout, “Repent!” Yes, even a crook like you can be straightened!
Rev. Kayfus: (highly offended) What?! Who are you calling a crook?! You’re the crook! You’re a liar! (with increasing speed and panic) I know what you are... you’re a lunatic... you’re a child of the devil! Out with you, Satan! (attempting to usher John away) Out with you!
John: (seizing the hands of Rev. Kayfus, John speaks with intense power) Even now, the axe is laid to the root of the tree. Every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire!
Rev. Kayfus: (moving backwards rubbing his hurting hands) You’re going to pay for this, John! You’re going to pay! (Rev. Kayfus turns and runs off the stage.)
John: (turning to the others) And you... hypocrites! Do you want to end up like Rev. Kayfus? Then, stop just going through the motions! Stop pretending to speak for God when you haven’t taken even a moment to listen to Him! You must repent... and NOW is the time! Change my friends. Waiting for a good time? Well... how about... Now!
(Suzanna, Thomas, Joanna, Peter and Matt humbly approach John. Matt is last... slowed by his profound limp. John has each of them kneel as he pulls out a bottle of water and pours some in his hand and then upon their heads. The others whisper amongst themselves... bewildered.)
John: (amidst the symbolic baptizing) For repentance, I baptize you with water, but there is One coming who is mightier than I. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. Consider a caterpillar’s transformation into a butterfly. You can do the same; you MUST do the same!
(The newly baptized return to the others, as the lights fade and a soft spotlight illumines John.)
John: (turning to the audience and motioning with his hands) He’ll gather all that is good together... just like a mother hen gathers her chicks. But the evil and the useless will be thrown out and burned. (His voice begins to shake and crack, as he emotionally elaborates.) Prepare the way of the Lord... make His paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth; (almost weeping) and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.
(Joshua enters from the back, walking down the aisle towards John. As he nears him, he stops and calls his name.)
Joshua: (smiling) John!
(John looks up and wonderment begins to etch his countenance. Joshua walks up to him and places his hand on his shoulder.)
Joshua: (calmly) Baptize me, John.
John: (stunned, he bows, then kneels) No... no... no... it is I who needs to be baptized by you!
Joshua: (smiling) Listen John. You are right to say that I come baptizing with fire. (Joshua gently touches John on the forehead.) But it is not the fire of power my friend. I am coming with the fire of love.
(He takes John’s hand and lifts him to his feet. Joshua looks into his eyes and then bows his head while dropping to his knees. John humbly pours water in his hand and annoints Joshua’s head. A white spotlight grows brighter... as Joshua rises and turns towards the group.)
Joshua: (playfully) John, what did you do to these people?
John: (embarrassed) I think I woke a few of them up... and... I may have scared a few. Joshua: (smiling) Yes, I see.
(Joshua walks up to the group... engaging with each... one at a time. He draws on their foreheads with his finger, playfully squeezes their cheeks, robustly seizes their hands, etc. Afterwards, each member of the group has a refreshed countenance... with all focused upon Joshua.)
Joshua: Be clear; there is no man greater than John. And yes, he has rightly called you to repentance. How does it feel to be awake?! My friends... there is so much more! I am inviting you to grow... to give... to become. The best is waiting for you! For today, New Life begins!
Joshua: (while walking up the aisle, he turns back and calls) Hey! What are y’all doing just standing there? (motioning) Come... follow me... we’ve got work to do!
(They all follow Joshua enthusiastically up the aisle and out of sight. John is left alone contemplating what has happened and then turns to address the audience.)
John: (pointing in the direction of Joshua’s departure) Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. He is the One I’ve been seeking; someone who comes after me but is also before me. I came baptizing with water... so that he might be known. (overcome with emotion) Just now, I saw the Holy Spirit descending like a dove and resting upon him. Did you see it?!
(Joshua returns alone and walks up to John.)
Joshua: John, there’s someone missing.
John: What do you mean? Everyone followed you.
Joshua: Not everyone... I am seeking another... someone very special.
(He scans the audience until he spots the person (Mary). She is dressed in provocative clothing, but has a very timid spirit. He draws closer and smiles at her, but she looks behind her as if he were looking at someone else. He motions for her to come up on the stage.)
Joshua: Yes! You! (walking towards her with outstretched hands) Yes, you are the one I have been seeking.
Mary: (shyly) What do you mean? I’m nobody special.
Joshua: (softly) Perhaps you feel this way, but trust me... you are the one I need.
Mary: (humbly bewildered) But... but... why do you need me?
Joshua: (smiling) Well... how about this: You will fulfill the purposes of our Heavenly Father! How’s that? And more, your love will warm the hearts of many... until the end of time.
(He gently takes her hand and guides her to the stage. She is awkward, but he tenderly helps her get seated while softly whispering to her. Before leaving her side, Joshua hands Mary a green letter. John looks totally confused... but Joshua motions for John to follow him. Before departing, Joshua faces the audience.)
Joshua: (loudly and joyously) Today, you have heard Good News... the ancient prophecy has been fulfilled! Today IS the day of salvation!
(Joshua and John walk up the aisle talking with each other. Mary opens the letter and ponders its contents as the music begins.)
Sing to Me
I know that you hear me now
I know 'cause that's what I've been told And I know that you love me so
But sometimes I wonder where you are
I know you've got lots to do
But can you take some time for me?
Oh, sing to me... bring to me... love Find me... Unbind me... from my fear Please sing to me... bring to me... love Find me... Unbind me... this I pray
I know that this is your world
You made the mountains and the streams And I know that you love me so
But don't you know I am so afraid?
Will you come and take me now To a place where I belong
And sing to me... bring to me... love Find me... Unbind me... from my fear Please sing to me... bring to me... love Find me... Unbind me... this I pray
I know that you hear me now...
(The group returns while Mary is singing. When the song ends, the creation story begins from a new angle with a new passion. The group is gathered around Mary, as she quitely shares the contents of the letter. Rev. Kayfus enters and watches from a distance (visibly agitated).
Suzanna: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God! Matt: (struggling to walk forward) The same was in the beginning with God!
Joanna: All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made! Peter: In him was life; and the life was the light of men!
Thomas: And the light shines in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not!
Rev. Kayfus: What are y’all doing? That’s not how I have things planned!
Peter: But... but... I think the Spirit is moving, Rev. Kayfus! Can you feel it?
Rev. Kayfus: What?! No! (pauses) I mean... there are lots of different spirits, Peter!
Peter: Well... more precisely, we met someone very special just a little while ago. He shared all of these new thoughts with us... and so much more! You really need to meet him, Rev. Kayfus.
Rev. Kayfus: (displeased) Sure, that’d be great. But for now, we need to get back to the Lord’s work! (Kayfus notices Mary, pointing with disdain) What is she doing here?! (condescendingly) Mary, we’re SUPPOSED to be doing sacred works and deeds right now. Do you understand?
Mary: (slowly and shyly) Yes, that’s what I’m wanting to do. There’s something you need to know... something I can share with you.
Rev. Kayfus: What?! Okay... you can do that later. (sarcastically) I’m sure it’s fascinating. (Mary begins reading the green letter.)
Mary: (reading) There is one who goes before us. Over two thousand years ago... upon dusty roads of the Middle East, there walked a man...
Rev. Kayfus: (interrupting) Seriously Mary, that’s fine... but we need to get back on track.
Mary: (anxiously returning to the letter) ...a man who knew of a great kingdom... far, far away... and yet, close to each of us. In living his vision...
Rev. Kayfus: (interrupting more rudely) Mary, I said that was enough.
Mary: (returning to the letter) In living his vision, he gave the greatest of dreams... Rev. Kayfus: (walking towards Mary) Be quiet, you temptress!
Peter: (rising in defense of Mary) Hold on a second, Rev. Kayfus. She’s reading a message Joshua gave to her. Just listen for a moment; you might even be interested in what she’s sharing. I mean... couldn’t you at least talk a little sweeter to her?
Rev. Kayfus: Joshua! Who is Joshua?! (shaking his head) Never mind; it doesn’t matter. So, you want some sweet talk? Do you know what you can get with a bunch of sweet empty words?
Peter: (pausing) I’m not sure; what can I get?
Rev. Kayfus: Jack squat! Come on, Peter; you’re smarter than that. Now... who’s ready to come with me and get back to the Lord’s work? (Everyone just looks at each other. Highly irritated, Rev. Kayfus departs... followed only by Jude.)
Peter: Go ahead Mary; what are you wanting to share with us?
Mary: There is one who goes before us. Over two thousand years ago... upon dusty roads of the Middle East, there walked a man who knew of a great kingdom... far, far away... and yet, close to each of us. In living his vision, he gave the greatest of dreams to all who would come after him.
(Everyone sits down to contemplate Mary’s reading. Music begins and Mary begins to sing. One by one, everyone joins in the singing. The chorus builds until everyone except Mary exits up the aisle in a procession... still singing in full voice.)
To see only what is real (Show me what is real)
To see only you (See Your face come shining through)
To see past the things we have tried to conceal (Beyond the things I feel) To see only you (Please help me see)
To see only you
(When only Mary remains singing, the lights begin to fade. Upon singing the last note, Mary gazes upwards and the lights go out. After a pause, the lights come on to reveal Joshua and John sitting with her. Group members slowly wander into the scene... beginning with Jude.)
Mary: Joshua, who are you? You seem so familiar to me. Do I know you?
Joshua: (warmly) Thanks for asking, Mary. I think you do know me... but what do you think?
Mary: (humbly) I’m not sure... I don’t remember clearly. But... I know I want to know you.
Joshua: Sweet Mary, you can trust your own eyes and ears. For the most precious gift has been given to you... eyes to see... ears to hear... a heart to feel... a mind to know. Tell me... who am I?
Mary: (shyly) You’ll be my teacher. (pauses, then smiles) You are my friend.
Joshua: (with delight) You’re right, Mary! And more, I know you will always be my friend.
Jude: (interrupting) I’m beginning to think you’re a nut. Can’t you just speak to us clearly?
Joshua: Well Jude, what exactly is not clear to you?
Jude: (cynically) Let’s see... how about what we’re talking about: Who are you?! And... what are you doing here? And... from where did you come? And... most of all, why are you here?!
Joshua: Okay, Jude; you are certainly asking the right questions. I can answer them all. However, are you sure you want the truth? More to the point, will you believe me if I tell you?
Jude: (laughing) Why do make everything so difficult... so mysterious? Of course, I want the truth... who doesn’t? Sure, I’ll definitely believe the truth... if and when you speak it.
Joshua: (reflecting) I know that you will some day, Jude. (pausing, then sadly) I wish you could believe me now.
Jude: (flippantly) Well... here I am, Joshua! Give me something to believe. I’m right here... waiting... on you! (Jude holds his hand to his ear feigning earnest interest.)
Joshua: (shaking his head) Jude... Jude... how I wish it were that easy. (motioning) Nonetheless, will everyone huddle up? I’ve been wanting to share some particulars with you.
Peter: (curiously) You’ve been waiting to share some things... with us?!
Suzanna: (excited) I knew it! We do know you from somewhere. (pausing) Right? Right?! Joshua: (laughing) Wouldn’t you be best at knowing whatever it is you know?
Joanna: (confused) So, we know we know you... if we really know... what we think we know? Joshua: (laughing) Let’s try this: If you see peaches in a tree, what kind of tree do you say it is?
Suzanna: (with excitement) A peach tree!
Joshua: (smiling) Well... there you are.
Jude: (frustrated) Why are we talking about trees? Our main question is not at all complicated. Should I say it a bit slower, “Who... are... YOU?” Just tell us plainly... please!
Joshua: (smiling) Okay Jude, how about this? I am the light of the world! Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness... for they will have the light of life.
Jude: (flustered) Look Joshua, we’re only wanting some basic questions answered... and you talk about peaches... or being a light of some kind. Why can’t you just tell us the truth?
Joshua: (calmly) That’s what I’ve been doing, Jude. I so wanted you to hear me... and for you to understand. I heard you. (pausing) I am sad that you are not able to hear the voice of God.
Jude: (annoyed) So... are you saying I’m deaf... or just stupid? Come on... “voice of God?!” Who do you think you are? That kind of talk might appeal to a bunch of losers and rejects...
John: (jumping up angrily) Who exactly are you talking about?! (right in Jude’s face) Do you have something you want to say to me?!
Joshua: (calmly) Let him be, John. Everyone is free to think or not think... to choose or not choose... to hear or not hear... to see or not see. Consider yourself blessed when you see. Remember John; my Kingdom is not here. That’s why I’m not understood by the well-adjusted. I am Good News to the troubled... yes, those often thought of as losers, rejects... and all the rest.
Jude: (trying to reconcile) Hey guys, I’m just wanting us all to be on the same page... so we can actually accomplish things that matter. Obviously, things must be built; thus, we’ve got to know what we’re building... and... how to build. And... to be painfully honest (motions at the group), we definitely need some more competent folks on board. Sorry guys; I’m just keeping it real.
Joshua: Jude, there is One who is able... One who is strong. The bricks the builders rejected, God is using these for the foundation! Such bricks are beautiful and wonderful in His eyes.
Jude: Bricks?! What are we talking about? WHAT exactly is beautiful and wonderful?
Joshua: The Spirit of God is with me. He has sent me to share Good News with the poor... to heal the brokenhearted... to offer freedom to those held captive. Rejoice, I am here to give vision to the blind... and freedom to the oppressed! I am proclaiming the wondrous day of the Lord!
Jude: (exasperated) Okay fine, but a tangible plan would be a lot more helpful. Anyway, I’ll see you guys later... I have a meeting with Rev. Kayfus. (Jude exits.)
Martha: (playfully) Hey sweetie, I’m feeling kind of brokenhearted. Can you heal little ole me?
Joshua: (pausing) Martha, I know lots of things can be confusing... and just hard. All of this is made more problematic by the fact that a prophet is never respected in his own time and place.
Martha: Prophet? You think you’re a prophet? So... what do prophets think about?
Joshua: Martha... Martha... it’s not a matter of merely “thinking” something. Opinions... passing thoughts... they all change quickly. I’m talking about what really IS... what will endure forever.
Andrew: (perking up) Hey, speaking of things that ARE, can you prophecy as to where I can find some enduring food... tasty and plentiful? I’m absolutely famished!
Joshua: (sighing as he pulls out $20) Here Andrew, buy whatever you like. However, such foods will never satisfy real hunger... the ever-present gnawing in your belly. But there is no need to despair, there is a bounty of good food of which you are not yet aware.
Andrew: (intrigued) Hey guys, do any of you know where Joshua keeps his delectable edibles? (turning to Joshua) Seriously, they sound finger-licking good; I’d love to try them sometime.
Joshua: Soon Andrew... I’ll gladly share them with you. For now, here’s some more money (handing Andrew more cash). All of you... go have a healthy meal.
(The group shouts excitedly, “Thank you, Joshua!” and they merrily depart.) John: (pausing... then pondering) Why can’t they understand?
Joshua: People’s minds have become dull, my friend. Their hearts have dried up... their ears are tired of hearing... their eyes tired of seeing...
Mary: (shyly interrupting) I see you. You are different from everybody I have ever known.
Joshua: (smiling) You’re different, too. Blessed are your seeing eyes... your hearing ears... and your heart that feels the real! Blessed are you, Mary. You are truly beautiful.
Mary: (humbly) How can you say that? (begins to cry) I’ve always wanted to be beautiful... beautiful to someone. Anyone who ever told me I was beautiful only ended up hurting me.
Joshua: (pauses... then softly touches Mary on her cheek) Mary, my sweet Mary.... I see all of you... and I see beautiful. (Music begins.) In this world there are many trials and troubles, but you do not need be afraid... or even anxious. Hear me, my friend; I will always be with you. In every elment of hurt and heartbreak, remember this: I am overcoming the world!
(Joshua and John sing duet to Mary. Joshua hands her a purple letter during the song.)
So Much More
When you let your love shine through Dancing into blue summer skies When they look the other way
Fading into grey once again
Don’t Cry... I’ll be there with you Oh, please believe it’s true
You can dry your weary eyes Don’t Cry... Find the open door There is so much more
Just outside your view
Sweet rain gently falling down
On the fallow ground... yesterday Cold nights solemnly reply Blackbirds in the sky spinning round
(All exit as the lights fade. Lights rise slowly... revealing the group sharing thoughts.)
Peter: That was a great meal... so, now what?
Matt: Well... we don’t have anything we need to be doing. What sounds fun to you guys?
Peter: Really?! Is that what you’ve learned so far? There is always SOMETHING that we could be doing... something beyond just having fun.
Joanna: I know what you mean, Peter. When Joshua was speaking earlier, something started waking up within me. (turning to the others) Aren’t you guys tired of just existing... thinking only about the things we’re wanting at any given moment?
Suzanna: I know I’m tired of the same ole... same ole... (pausing) Do any of you ever feel empty inside? I know I do.
Peter: I certainly do as well, Suzanna. There has to be something more to life... something calling us... something changing us... something that can change the world!
Thomas: That may be true... but what would it be? Joshua didn’t mention anything specific. Perhaps, we just need to seek happiness... and, of course, do some good things along the way?
Suzanna: (frustrated) That can’t be right; it’s not about us. We don’t even know what “good” is! Sure, things may seem “good”... or feel “good.” Joshua is talking about an enduring “GOOD!”
Matt: (nodding) You know what’s crazy? Lots of folks actually think we’re the good people. I’ve heard them call us “fine upstanding young people!” (laughing) Geesh... what does that say?
Peter: (laughing) People think we’re serving God by attending activities in a certain building. What about what we DO when we leave the building? When do we ever even consider what is pleasing to God? Think how we’ve treated Mary... for years. Is God pleased by any of this?
Chloe: Come on, Peter... who knows what God really desires? On the other hand, I think we all know what Mary wants. (piercingly) In fact, I think you know this rather intimately don’t you?
Peter: Here’s what I know: Mary wanted much better than what I gave... she deserved far better.
Thomas: Awww... come on Peter... I’m sure you didn’t do anything worse than lots of other folks. Maybe this is just how Mary is. I mean... who knows... she might just...
Peter: (interrupting sternly) Dang it, Thomas, it’s not how she is! (pausing while contemplating) It doesn’t matter what others have done... it matters what I’ve done! I don’t need excuses. It’s just like John and Joshua were telling us: We’ve got to change... (pausing) I’ve got to change.
(Everyone becomes silent as they consider Peter’s words. Mary appears with the purple letter; the group is shocked that she’s suddenly right there. They attempt to make her feel welcome.)
Suzanna: Hi Mary... uh... what’s going on? (Mary shyly comes nearer.) I want to... I mean... I’m sorry for the way I’ve treated you in the past. I wasn’t thinking clearly... about lots of things. Mary, can you please forgive me?
Matt: Me too, Mary. (Others make similar apologies.) We understand if you don’t trust us... cause... uh... we certainly haven’t earned your trust. (Mary stands stunned and unsure of what to do next. There is awkward silence as they simply stare at each other.)
Suzanna: (breaking the silence) Mary, is that another letter? What does it say?
(Mary excitedly opens the letter to read to everyone.)
Mary: He was an unknown from a village of poor reputation. To most, he was not highly esteemed; and yet, he would soon embody all that is Good. Although the world offered him no place to rest, he would provide an Eternal Home to all who followed him. For these believers, he became the incarnation of Love – the presence of the Living God.
(Lights go out as the music begins. Joshua is singing, as he appears walking down the aisle. He sings directly to the group, and they join him on the chorus. Lights rise in myriads of color.)
Too long to be without a smile The pain inside, you cannot hide Come away and rest awhile
On skies of blue, I’ll carry you
Far from your barren fields
To sun-soaked dancing daffodils Through singing mountain waterfalls To vernal woods resounding call
Awake, can you hear the sound That echoes in your soul
Awake, you have finally found The One that makes you whole
Quickly will I come to you
Erasing fear... to dry each tear Remember in the things you do
On crystal seas, you’ll walk with me
(During the last verse, the group gathers at Joshua’s feet. When the song ends, Joshua hands Mary a yellow letter. She walks to the side and opens the letter... and reads it to herself.)
Joshua: Friends, you must remember... the very things the builders rejected, our Father is using to make a bright and beautiful city... a lighthouse high atop the hill! Can you envision the parts?!
Andrew: Yes, you mean glorious buildings like this one... right?
Joshua: Actually Andrew, not at all. I’m talking about wonder... awe... illumination... action! Sally: That’s what Andrew was saying... look at all this!
Joshua: (reflecting) Sally, let me be clear. (motioning) You see all of this fine architecture... yes, it’s certainly high quality. However, the time is coming when not a single brick will remain standing... it’ll all be demolished. (becoming upbeat) For something much greater is coming!
Chloe: (innocently) Greater than this?!
Joshua: (laughing rather than crying) Yes, Chloe... something much greater than this. Okay, let’s start over. God isn’t interested in these kinds of buildings. God is building in the realm of the unseen... in your minds... in your hearts... within your very souls. Do you now understand?
Peter: Yes, I think I got it! (pausing) Actually, can you say that one more time? I’m beginning to think myself into a stupor. There’s just so much for me to understand... too much for me to get right. Joshua, I think there’s simply too much for me to do!
Joshua: Yes, you’re right about that. (pausing while walking closer) Listen Peter, you don’t need to worry or fret, especially about yourself. (pausing) Walk outside... look at the birds... and notice how God takes care of them. Do you think a sparrow is more important than you?
Peter: (pondering) Uh... no... but what exactly should I be seeing? Can you teach me, Joshua?!
Joshua: Sure... that’s what I’m doing. Thank you, my friend... for simply wanting to know. My teachings will only be unknown fables to most. But Peter... you have been given eyes to see!
Peter: Really?! (laughing) Okay, I’ll take your word for it. If I ever see, what should I do then? Joshua: (whimsically) Peter... would you put a lobster in a toaster?
Peter: (dumbfounded) Uh... I swear I just heard you ask me if I’d put a lobster in a toaster!
Joshua: Yes, you did. So... would you? Or, would you take a watermelon to the theater? Do you go to a donut shop for fresh fruits and vegetables? (Everyone looks bewildered.) Why do you know so much about such trivial matters... yet, so little about things that endure forever?
Peter: (laughing) I never thought of it quite like that. Why do I know so much about nothing... and so little about everything? (pausing) Joshua, I really do want to see with new eyes...
Joshua: (warmly) That’s why I’m here! (Joshua pulls out an acorn.) Do you know what this is?
(Joshua hands the acorn to Peter... and he begins to study it.)
Peter: It’s an acorn isn’t it?
Joshua: Yes... and from what kind of tree did it fall? Roughly how many fall each day? What is inside each one? Why do the acorns fall from the tree? Should I go on?
Peter: No, I got it; I don’t know anything about acorns. (pausing... and then with excitement) But... I do know that squirrels really, really like them!
Joshua: (smiling) Yes, very much so. And... acorns fall from oak trees, sometimes by the thousands. Within each acorn is the potential to become a majestic tree soaring high into the sky... creating sanctuary for birds... cooling shade for animals... the perfect habitat for a rainbow of wildflowers. And in all of this... so much beauty and magnificence... Created just for you! Why didn’t you know these simple things? Peter, you must be still... consider... and believe!
Peter: So... I can figure it all out... kind of like that “stop and smell the roses” thing?!
Joshua: (laughing) Well... you’ve surely got room for improvement! (earnestly) Listen Peter, the Spirit is like the wind. It’s here... but from where did it come? Yes, you must seek... but it is our Heavenly Father that runs to you! When you trust like a child, you will see with new eyes!
Peter: (innocently) Will God actually come to me... (pausing) will He really help me?
Joshua: Peter, you didn’t hear me; He will RUN to you! He yearns to give you all that is Good... even the Kingdom of Heaven! That’s why you’re here. (pausing) That’s why I’m here.
Peter: (excited) Wow... fantastic! I mean, it sounds perfect. So... okay... let the fun times begin!
Joshua: (soberly) Peter, the days ahead will not be “fun.” Instead, I must suffer many things. I’ll be rejected by the religious leaders... abandoned by my friends... and... I will be put to death.
Peter: (distressed) What?!
Joshua: (calmly) Peter... don’t worry; that’s not the end. After three days, I will rise!
Peter: (increasing anxiety) I don’t know what you’re talking about... but please, enough about the suffering... and the dying! (shuddering) Geesh... all of that really bums me out.
Joshua: (strongly holding Peter by the shoulders) You are not thinking about God’s concerns... just the thoughts of men. Peter, you must hear God’s voice... not the rantings of the enemy.
Peter: (defending himself) I was thinking God was going to help us... not cause us to suffer... and to be killed. I’m just wanting what is good.
Joshua: (plainly) No Peter, you are not. Wanting what is good is not the same as accomplishing what is Good... being Good! What if you gained the whole world... but then, lost your very soul?
Peter: I guess I wouldn’t have gained very much. (pausing) I would’ve truly lost everything.
Joshua: Those who focus on saving their own lives will lose Life itself. But those who lay down their lives for their friends, they’ll find a wellspring of Life! For here, there is no greater Love!
(Peter looks perplexed and at a loss for words. Joshua exhales strongly, seemingly exhausted.)
Joshua: Okay, we’ve got lots to do... together. Think on these things while I go away to pray. I’ll see you soon.
(Joshua exits. Everyone waits until he is out of sight before continuing.) Peter: Okay. I think I’m officially overwhelmed.
Jude: Did he say something about a putting lobster in a toaster?
Peter: Yes... and don’t take a watermelon to the theater.
Jude: See... it’s just like I’ve been telling you guys. Joshua has no substance... just poetics here and there... birds and acorns... considering this and that... being still. Come on people, can’t you see this is circular silliness? Answer me! What’s his message? And... why can’t he just state it?
Peter: Jude, did you hear Joshua when he said his teachings would be only unknown fables to most people? But... if we are able to trust like a child... God will give us new eyes to see!
Jude: Well... that’s convenient! So... when he doesn’t have an actual answer, he says we don’t have the prerequisite new eyes to see? Wow, I must admit it... that’s quite the clever ploy.
Suzanna: (after a long pause) Ploy?! That would mean Joshua is being devious and dishonest!
Joanna: (pausing) I’m certain he’s not dishonest... and he’s clearly not devious! In fact, I think the only reason he’s teaching us is because he really does love us... for some reason.
Matt: (reflecting) So Jude, if we’re talking about someone who really seems to know, and who is always loving and earnest, isn’t the most sensible answer at hand: He is speaking the truth?!
Jude: Words, words, words... blah, blah, blah. Sensible? The truth?! Joshua has given us nothing but lofty words... and confusing ones at that! Where are the nuts and bolts; where is the action?! Why do you all get so worked up about a crazy poet... rambling on about suffering, dying, rising, and all the rest? Come to think of it, maybe you guys just need a good psychiatrist!
(There is a considerable pause as everyone stops to look at each other.)
Chloe: He doesn’t seem at like a crazy poet to me. He’s like no one I’ve ever known... teaching what he seems to have actually seen and heard... like he’s been talking with God face to face! One thing is for sure: When he speaks, my spirit leaps... and my soul soars!
Jude: (sarcastically) Oh my... I’m tingling all over! (pointing at his arm) Look, I think I see a goose bump. It sounds to me like you’re just infatuated with your latest Prince Charming.
Sally: Jude, why does Joshua aggravate you so? What are you wanting from him?
Jude: (angrily) He doesn’t aggravate me! What is it with you people? I’m not wanting anything from him... except some answers! (composing himself) I hate to see people being deceived... it’s just... very sad really. (pausing) Can’t you see I’m genuinely concerned about all of you?
(Everyone sits quietly... pondering. Finally, all eyes settle on Mary.) Suzanna: Mary, you don’t happen to have another letter do you?
Mary: (shyly excited) What if I said, “Yes!?” (Mary holds up the letter.) Matt: What?! Why are we just sitting here? Let’s hear it!
(Everyone excitedly affirms the idea.... and turns their attention to Mary.)
Mary: To many, he was a stranger. And yet, people were not simply indifferent to him; many bitterly despised him. Instead of examining their own hearts, they dissected and denigrated his words and actions... even though few were willing to do so to his face. In truth, they were terrified of him. And right they were to fear. But, it was their own heart that was frightening... for they hated a man who gave only love – a love they could not understand.
Suzanna: (after contemplating) A love they could not understand? What’s so hard about love? (pausing) I guess I don’t understand.
(Joshua suddenly appears on the scene... along with a few adults.)
Joshua: (comically) Did I understand that someone here does not understand?
Thomas: I guess you could say that. It seems we need a few things spelled out to us.
Joshua: (contemplating) Spelled out... interesting concept. But... it doesn’t work quite that way.
Suzanna: (eagerly) Well... how does it work?!
Joshua: Great question, Suzanna! But first, how about saying “Hey!” to a few folks from the church? (smiling) I think some of you might even recognize your parents.
Joanna: (innocently) Why are they here?
Joshua: Another great question! And the answer is... for exactly the same reason as you! They want to know what is true. As you probably know, people often give quite varied accounts of the facts. These folks want to see and hear for themselves. By the way, that’s always a good idea.
Suzanna: (excitedly) Are you going to tell them to not put a lobster in the toaster?
Joanna: Yes... yes... also tell them about not taking watermelons to the theater!
Joshua: (laughing) We probably should save those profound matters for later. For now, do you remember that acorn we were discussing? If you had a tiny seed of faith... like that acorn... you could grow far greater things than the mightiest tree. Listen... you could move mountains... nothing could block the straight path. In fact, all good things would be possible for you!
Thomas: (laughing) Seriously?! That’s awesome! But for now, I’d settle for a better job. Joshua: (earnestly) Why would you just settle? And more, you said “better”... better than what?
Thomas: (pausing... then reflecting) Honestly... I guess I don’t know what I’m talking about. How can I grow the kind of faith YOU were talking about?
Joshua: (with renewed energy) Sure! How about a few simple thoughts about what is good? Jude: Perfect! I better record this. (Jude pulls out a smart phone to record.)
Joshua: Okay, here’s a good one: Blessed are the poor.
Martha: What?! Did you say “the poor?” What is blessed about being poor?
Joshua: Good question, Martha. And the answer is... theirs is the kingdom of heaven! Also, blessed are those who are hungry and thirsty.
Matt: (laughing) I think I’m missing something...
Joshua: Open your eyes, Matt! Clearly, it is the hungry who will be filled... it is the thirsty who will be given living water! And more, blessed are those who are now crying.
Joanna: (shyly, but with confidence) For they shall laugh?
(Rev. Kayfus wanders into the scene and watches. He slowly moves closer.)
Joshua: Exactly! They will indeed laugh... and play... and dance... and sing! And so, blessed are you when you are wrongfully ridiculed... even hated... because of the truth that is within you. In fact, leap for joy! For beyond these shadows, sparkling treasures are waiting for you.
Chloe: Sparkling treasures! Sweet... now you’re talking! Exactly what kind of treasures? Joshua: (pausing) But cursed are you who are rich... for you have already received your reward. Andrew: (rationalizing) Well... I think God wants us to have plenty...
Joshua: (interrupting) No Andrew, not just plenty. Our Father wants to give you everything... everything that is good! Open your hearts, my friends... for you cannot love God and the things of this world! This is why I tell you so strongly: Cursed are they who have everyone speaking well of them. For they will soon be deceived. Be clear; all earthly treasures will soon vanish.
Matt: (earnestly) So, what do we do while we’re here?
Joshua: (warmly) Great question, Matt. You must love God with all of your being... and likewise... you must love your neighbor as you love yourself.
Rev. Kayfus: (interrupting) Hello friends! I heard all the commotion and thought I should check things out... make sure everything was okay. So, let me clarify something while we’re all here. God created the world for us to enjoy. “And it was good...” remember that? We can’t be unappreciative of all the good things God has made... just for you. It’s really as simple as that.
Joshua: Yes, it is true that God gives us the Good things that endure forever. Our Father is the Creator of all that is Good... because He IS all that is Good! But remember, man chose his own way... and thus, man corrupted God’s Good gifts. For now, the kingdom of this world is led by the prince of this world... the very opposite of our Father’s heart and His Eternal Plan for Good.
Rev. Kayfus: (arrogantly) Clearly, you haven’t had training in scriptural exegesis... as you’ve taken everything out of context! Thankfully, I just happen to be directing a nationally televised Bible conference this evening! There will be lots of truth... and doughnuts! (laughing) All of you should come... including you, Joshua. It’s time to know the truth... not just cutsie drivel!
Adult A: Amen! Young people, Rev. Kayfus is right. I’ve been listening to Joshua closely... and he clearly doesn’t care about what happens to you in the long-term. Don’t throw your lives away with fanatical ideas. People like Joshua just like to feel important. (Some adults nod.)
Jude: That’s what I’ve been telling you... and why I said to come hear for yourself. Joshua’s tales can be like termites in a house. If they’re not removed, they can destroy everything!
Adult B: Wait a second... that’s not right! I just heard Joshua talking about love... and what really matters... even teaching them how to think... how to consider... how to see and hear...
Rev. Kayfus: (interrupting and laughing) Sounds like someone is rambling a bit... kind of like Joshua if I might add. Look, who knows Joshua’s intentions... and more, who cares? What matters is the truth of the scriptures AND the traditions of the church! That’s why I’m here.
Adult C: Absolutely! Lot of folks have opinions... you know, the devil has opinions, too.
Rev. Kayfus: Amen and amen! That’s why we must be able to recognize the lies of the enemy! So, don’t worry; we’ll address all of this at the Bible conference. Even if you can’t attend, it’s available as a webinar... worldwide! Okay, can all the adults come with me... a few things need to be discussed further. As for you young people, you need to say your goodbyes to Joshua... and then, I’ll see you tonight. As for you, Joshua... if you won’t be accountable to the truth, you should simply leave today and never return. Be advised; I’m not going to put up with your lies!
(The adults depart with Rev. Kayfus, as the group sits silently... pondering what to do next.)
Matt: (earnestly) Joshua, you were talking about loving our neighbor. How do we treat the neighbors who hate us... people like Rev. Kayfus?
Jude: Matt, Rev. Kayfus doesn’t hate anybody! He just doesn’t want his church destroyed!
Matt: Are you deaf? He manifestly hates Joshua! Get real, Jude... he even threatened him! (pausing) Joshua, when someone is seeking to harm us, what do we do then?
Joshua: Some say to hate those who hate you; and yes, that would be the easiest thing. But I say to you, love your enemies and do good to those who treat you badly. Pray for those who take advantage of your kindness. In fact, if someone slaps you on one cheek, turn and offer him the other. If someone takes your shirt, chase him down and offer him your coat. If someone asks for 10 dollars, give him 20 instead. Forgive as you’d like to be forgiven. Give as you have been given... expecting nothing in return. Why?! So you can join God’s work... be His children!
Matt: But... how is that possible? I don’t think I can be... (pausing) I can’t even feel that loving. I mean... what if someone really, really hates me... or asks for $100?!
Joshua: Matt, it’s not about how much... or the amount. It’s not about how you feel. Know that God’s justice will always prevail in the end. Do what is right... Love! You will discover new strength! Remember, every good thing is possible with God. Consider, God’s doing it all the time... always giving... always loving. Friends, you must be perfect just as God is perfect!
Matt: (humbly) But... but... how could I ever do that? I’m not nearly good enough. I’m not strong or sure... I’m clearly not smart... (crying) Look at me, Joshua; I can’t even walk right!
Joshua: (warmly) Matt, right now, you are beginning to see. (passionately) If you only had a tiny seed of faith, you could run like the wind... in fact, you could soar like an eagle!
Matt: Joshua, please help me find this seed of faith. I want to run... I want to soar... I want to move those mountains!
Joshua: (rising to speak) Listen carefully: Ask every question, seek every answer, and knock on every door. (smiling) He will be there... in fact, He is already here!
Matt: (earnestly) Where?! I don’t see Him... help me see, Joshua. (desperately) Where is He?
Joshua: Here‚ my friend... right here. (Music begins as Joshua kneels in front of Matt... placing his hands on top of his crippled foot.)
Joshua: Do you believe, Matt? (He nods innocently. Joshua gently touches Matt’s face while looking into his eyes, whispering softly.) Rise, my friend; your seed of faith has healed you.
(Matt slowly rises; he soon begins jumping excitedly upon his new leg. He looks at everyone with wild astonishment... his eyes settling on Joshua. He runs to hug him... overcome with joy.)
Matt: Thank you, Joshua! Please help me do what God desires... to be who He wants me to be... to build what he wants me to build!
Joshua: Matt, hear me; you are the light of the world! (looking at everyone.) Friends, you are the salt of the earth! Together, we will build a shining city on a hill... for everyone to see! (Joshua begins singing... and is joined by Matt on the chorus.)
Light of the World (Joyously)
Waking from your dream That you thought was true Waking to the life
That you always knew
Waiting on that shore Someone you’ve seen before Reaching his hand to you Smile filled with love
Light of the World
You shine on me
Light of the World
Come walk with me
Light of the World
Oh help me see... Eternity
(When the song ends, Mary comes over and hugs Joshua and Matt. She then walks off to sit alone, as Joshua and Matt joyfully walk up the aisle. The group contemplates and considers.
Martha: Wow, that was certainly amazing! What are we going to make of that?
Jude: (nervously) Yeah... sure... I mean... that was really amazing. Good for Matt. (pausing) Still, I don’t see how you or I gained anything from all that. What has changed for the rest of us?
Martha: Yeah... I’m wondering how any of this fits into my life. Are we really supposed to be the light of the world? Think about it... I’m pretty sure we can’t do anything even close to that.
Thomas: I hear you, Martha. How do we become salt... how do we build a city... and upon what hill? (laughing) Remember the part about being perfect as God is perfect?! That’s impossible.
Sally: (astounded) Are y’all serious?! For our entire lives, Matt has been crippled. Today, he runs and jumps! You just saw Joshua heal him with your very own eyes! And yet, you guys are still just sitting here... doubting and disregarding the most beautiful things. How can that be?!
(Martha and Thomas bow their heads in shame, but Jude begins defending their positions.)
Jude: Hold on, Sally! Joshua is the one who said to ask... to seek... to knock. Remember that part? Surely, honest questions deserve honest answers... don’t they?
Sally: (with vigor) Jude, I know I’ve always been the stupid one... but even I know that he was talking about asking and seeking in faith... not cynically dissecting words!
Jude: So, are we against words now... or just words that aren’t his? God gave us a mind for thinking... as in considering the absurdity of an invitation to give away everything... (pausing) so we can be poor, hungry, and hated. What kind of an invitation is that?!
Mary: (boldly) Jude, it’s the real kind... the right kind... it’s the invitation to everlasting Life! (Jude breaks out in twisted laughter as he walks towards Mary.)
Jude: (with venom) Yes, yes... I remember... you do know a lot about invitations don’t you? Oh holy lady of the evening, let’s reflect on a few of these...
John: (standing to move between Mary and Jude) The invitation is only for those who love him! For them, there is no confusion. Jude, you are quickly becoming a buffoon... a liar... even a scheming snake! If you continue on this path, you will end up knowing only the fires of hell! But for now, let me be clear: Leave Mary alone or you’ll be dealing with me!
(There is a sudden stir as Rev. Kayfus and two police officers burst in holding documents.) Rev. Kayfus: (piously) Are we threatening people again, John?
John: (aggressively) Speaking the truth is not a threat... it’s just the way things are.
Rev. Kayfus: You don’t know how right you are, John. You’ll soon be dealing with a bit of truth yourself. In fact, you may be dealing with the law.
John: (pausing) And you will answer to the Maker of the Law! (John comforts Mary.)
Rev. Kayfus: (redirecting) Peter, I hope you’re not part of this unlawful conduct. What exactly is your role in all of this?
Peter: (nervously) Part of what? I don’t have any role. We’re just talking. (pausing, then fearfully) And... I was about to leave anyway. I’ll see you later, Reverend.
Rev. Kayfus: Where are you going, Peter... meeting Joshua? I heard you’re working with him.
Peter: (voice quivering) Working on what? I don’t know what you’re talking about...
Rev. Kayfus: (pointedly) Yes or no, Peter! Are you working with Joshua?!
Peter: (adamantly) No, I’m not working on anything with him! I hardly even know him. (backing away) I’ve really got to be going.
(Peter hurriedly exits as Rev. Kayfus laughs... delighting in Peter’s cowardice.)
Rev. Kayfus: (with false kindness) That’s what I thought, Peter. It’s high time you folks get your minds straight... and depart from your wicked ways! So, are you ready to do the right thing as well, John? This seems the perfect time to put aside the foolish and dangerous shenanigans...
John: (interrupting) You filthy serpent! People like you will never understand... for you cannot know the truth without being willing to embrace it! You are the one in danger! You blind fool... hypocrite! God is building His family through repentant hearts! You build only dens of iniquity! You’re a liar to the world... a liar to yourself! But today, (motioning) the axe will be laid to the root of the tree... and Kayfus, you will be the one cut down and thrown into the fire!
Rev. Kayfus: (calmly to the police officers) See... he is again threatening violence against me. Go ahead and execute the arrest orders.
(John turns and runs away. The officers hurriedly follow and when out of sight, the sound of gunfire is heard. Mary runs towards the sound, but Officer A returns in time to restrain her. He makes her sit down as he whispers to her. Mary puts her head in her hands and cries, as the others (including Jude) huddle together in shock. Officer B returns.)
Officer A: (trying to calm everyone) It’s all over. There’s no longer any reason to be afraid. Officer B: (towards Rev. Kayfus) The extremist is dead.
Rev. Kayfus: (feigning sincerity) Friends, this whole thing has been such a tragedy. It didn’t have to be this way. Things can get out of hand so quickly. Don’t you think it’s time we get back to being a happy church? People, we’ve got so many good things going on... so much good to experience (holding out his hand) I’m here for all of you.
(Everyone slowly walks off... seemingly lost in a daze. Mary remains sitting... mourning.)
Rev. Kayfus: (towards those departing) Okay, I’ll be looking to see y’all on Sunday!
(Music begins as the lights fade. A spotlight rises on Mary as she sings. Rev. Kayfus watches.)
Light of the World (Sadly)
Waking from your dream That you thought was true Waking to the life
That you always knew
Waiting on that shore Someone you’ve seen before Reaching his hand to you Smile filled with love
Light of the World
You shine on me
Light of the World
Come walk with me
Light of the World
Oh help me see... Eternity
(Near the song’s end, Rev. Kayfus walks over to be closer to Mary. Joshua arrives during their conversation and observes from a distance.)
Rev. Kayfus: Wow, great singing! I’m sorry about your friend. One can’t run from the police.
Mary: (crying) He didn’t do anything wrong.
Rev. Kayfus: (shrugs) Well... who can say? I was just worried that he was leading folks astray. (pausing) Anyway, your voice is amazing. You know... I could connect you with the right folks.
Mary: (amidst grief) I don’t know what you’re talking about.
Rev. Kayfus: I’m talking about top music executives who could take you to the top: the finest restaurants, the best fashions, lavish suites... you name it. You’re wasting your time with losers like Joshua. Also, I’ve got to get back to the Lord’s work without all the distractions. So... we could make it a win / win. You help end my headaches. In turn, I’ll make sure you’re famous!
Mary: (emotionless) I’m not interested in being famous... or any of those other things...
Rev. Kayfus: (pausing, looking for an angle) So, you’re not interested in success? You’d really rather hang out with a worthless, blaspheming devil?! Look woman, I’m trying to help you!
Mary: (pausing) What devilish word has Joshua ever said... what bad deed has he ever done? Joshua only says and does good things. Surely, a bad tree cannot bring forth such good fruit...
Rev. Kayfus: (interrupting) Be quiet... you... you... you know what you are. How dare you presume to teach me! (He paces back and forth, collecting his thoughts.) I know who you are... I’ve heard ALL the stories. (There is a tense pause... as Mary drops her head sorrowfully.)
Mary: (humbly) I’m not... I’m not really like that...
Rev. Kayfus: (interrupting) But Mary... the stories are pretty vivid... who should I believe? (pauses... then attempts to manipulate). Yes, I guess things can get distorted. Why should I trust the tall tales of others? Likewise, you might want to consider why you should trust an unknown like Joshua. At any rate, here’s the thing... I need your help. We need Joshua to stop destroying our church and all of its good work. We just need him to move on... maybe explore Alaska. So, you and I need to talk some things over... get to know each other better... maybe even on a personal level. What do you think? (Lost in sadness, Mary does not respond in any way.)
Rev. Kayfus: (feinting kindness) Now then, why don’t we go back to my office and make some definitive plans for getting Joshua out of the picture. Of course, we’ll also be discussing how to get that voice of yours on a worldwide stage. (suggestively) Who knows where things will lead?
Mary: (struggling to speak) No, I can’t do that.
Rev. Kayfus: You can’t?! (pausing... then with cunning) Oh, I believe you can. Oh yes, I definitely believe you can. Remember my good friend, Judge Pilates? We were talking earlier... and guess what? We know where to find the master plans regarding those recent terror attacks. Guess where our detectives will find them? (pausing) Not at all surprising to me, the plans will be found amongst Joshua’s possessions, including right on him... isn’t that incredible?
Mary: (frantic and crying) No... No... you can’t do that... you can’t do that...
Rev. Kayfus: (triumphantly gaining composure) Oh yes, yes indeed. In fact, consider it done. (pausing) That is, unless you start thinking clearly, choosing wisely, and doing the Godly thing... for once! So... you decide. I offered to help you... big time! Now... are you going to help me?
Mary: (pausing) If I go with you, will you promise not to harm Joshua in any way?
Rev. Kayfus: (returning to pastoral persona) Sure... of course. I’m a Godly man of my word. I want all this behind us. I just want him gone! We can’t have all of the confusion and discord. You can stay nearby... we just need to keep things secret. Do you understand?
Mary: (pausing) I think I do. You will help me have a singing career... if I’m able to get Joshua to go far away and never come back. Also, you’d like to have me available for you. However, everything needs to be kept secret since you’re a man of God and I’m a sinner.
Rev. Kayfus: (uncomfortably) That’ a bit blunt... but yes... you could put it that way.
Mary: (pausing... without emotion) As long as Joshua is unharmed, I’ll do what you want.
Rev. Kayfus: (nervously optimistic) Well then... that’s very good. I’m glad you’ve made the wise decision. Now, the good work of the church can go forward without interference... and so many good things can start happening for you... for both of us really. (pausing) Deceivers like Joshua are always wanting to change everything. They don’t get it; we don’t want it changed.
(Mary bows her head... but Rev. Kayfus eventually pulls her over for a cold embrace.)
Rev. Kayfus: (affirming) It’s okay to smile, Mary. Hey, you’re now doing the work of God.
(Mary stares blankly as they begin walking away. Before they are out of sight, all the group... except Peter... arrives with Joshua. Rev. Nick O’Demas is also with them.)
Joshua: (calmly) Where are you going, Mary? (Mary bows her head.)
Rev. Kayfus: (in pastoral persona) We don’t have time to talk; we’re late for an appointment.
Joshua: (acting gullible) Oh... okay. Where’s the appointment? Perhaps I can join you.
Rev. Kayfus: (frustrated) Look, we’ve got to be going... in fact, let me be precise: If you know what’s good for you, you’ll be going, too. I’d suggest somewhere very far away... like Alaska!
Joshua: Thanks for the counsel, Kayfus... but... why go? No, I’m going to be staying right here. (motioning) I don’t leave my friends; plus, we have much to accomplish!
Rev. Kafus: (with sarcasm) What... more mindless mischief and incessant troublemaking?
Joshua: (moving closer to Rev. Kayfus) You’re right in this, Kayfus. I haven’t brought much peace... just swords it seems. It breaks my heart to see and feel the hurt that must first come...
Rev. Kayfus: (arrogantly) Well... that’s the first sensible thing I’ve heard you utter. Yes, we are meant to be a peaceful people... and you have only brought division... even chaos. But look, if you can simply admit your lies and start heeding the truth, we can return to doing God’s work.
Joshua: (calmly) What exactly do you mean when you speak of God’s work?
Rev. Kayfus: I mean... put all the foolish stuff behind you! As your minister, I’ll help you see the light. I’ll direct you to the truth... from Abraham all the way to right now.
Joshua: (boldly) Before Abraham was... I am!
Rev. Kayfus: (confused) What?! What are you talking about? We were talking about being light and truth in the church.
Joshua: I am the Light! I have come to shatter the darkness... throughout the world and in every beating heart! All who follow me have the Light of Life! Kayfus, this is the Eternal Truth.
Rev. Kayfus: (loud and arrogantly) The truth?! That’s totally nuts! What could YOU possibly tell anybody about the truth?!
Joshua: (with authority) I am the Truth! I am the Life! I am the Way! If you were of the Truth, you could hear me... you would know who I am.
Rev. Kayfus: (outraged) I know who you are! You’re a blaspheming liar! You just admitted it! (motioning to the others) Do you hear this forked-tongue child of Satan talking like he’s God?!
Joshua: (calmly) And what exactly is the lie, Kayfus? Is it a lie to say that you’re engaged in a host of well-hidden, but highly immoral acts? Is it a lie to say that you have plans for putting me to death? Is it a lie to say that you desire to commit overt sins, like adultery, this very night?
(An out-of-control Rev. Kayfus lunges forward and grabs Joshua around the neck. Joshua offers no resistance. A very concerned Rev. Nick O’Demas moves nervously closer. The group is stunned, but simply stands by silently.)
Rev. Kayfus: (shouting in Joshua’s face) You demon of Hell! I’m only protecting my church... doing God’s work! You wouldn’t understand any of this... you pathetic sinner. You’re the one lusting after this Jezebel! Yes, that’s it... you two are just peas in a pod. That’s why you both disgust me. (pushing Mary towards Joshua) Get far away from me you Godless sinners!
Joshua: (holding Mary tenderly) Let’s see if we all understand you. Are you saying that public sins born of ignorance or naivete’ are what matter to the God of the Universe?
Rev. Kayfus: (pausing while looking over at Nick) I’m saying that both of you are irredeemable sinners... (shouting) lost in your lust and debauchery! All of you here are witnesses to their lives of sin! It’s high time we clean house and get back to being a holy church!
Mary: (looking at Joshua and crying) I’m sorry I’ve messed things up for you... Rev. Kayfus: Yes, your sin has corrupted much... and hurt many!
Joshua: (tenderly) Have you made mistakes, Mary?
Mary: (innocently crying) Yes, Joshua... I’ve made so many. I’m so sorry...
Joshua: (calmly) Mary... sweet Mary... I do not condemn you. Instead... I forgive you... forever! Smile Mary; you are now made new! Mary, simply do not make these mistakes again.
Rev. Kayfus: (beside himself) See! See! Right there! He’s acting like he can forgive sins... like he’s God! You devil, how can you say such sick, perverted things?!
Joshua: Kayfus, when you see me; you see God. The Father and I are One!
Rev. Kayfus: (throwing Joshua to the ground in feverish rage) You wicked demon! May your manifold sins consume you now... just as the fires of hell will ravage your soul... forever!
Joshua: (calmly) Strange that you speak so loudly about sin. For He who sees the heart and soul of every man is more concerned with intentional sins... like forever seeking more earthly power... selfishly using one’s neighbor... and rotting in private pride. You must pay for these, Kayfus.
Rev. Kayfus: Shut up! Let’s get a few things straight. Your ignorant ramblings don’t matter; I hold the cards here! So, here’s how it’s going to be: Get up and get out of here... now! And I better not ever see your face again! Do you understand me?!
Joshua: (picking himself up, taking a few steps back, and responding calmly) You have no power over me except that which is given you by this world. (motioning) You think there is power in all this? Let me be clear: I’m not leaving until the people have a chance to see behind the veil... to see who you really are... to even see what you’ve been doing with their money! (Joshua overturns a table... demonstrating his actual strength to a most fearful Rev. Kayfus.)
Joshua: (with authority) You purchased treasures of this world... stealing from the treasures of Heaven. You took what is God’s and gained earthly power... even a Governor, right Kayfus?!
Rev. Kayfus: (afraid on multiple levels) I don’t know what you’re talking about! (Joshua tosses a chair across the room.) What are you doing?! You’re defiling the Lord’s house! Dang it, Nick; get over here and help me! (Rev. Nick O’Demas comes and stands beside Rev. Kayfus.)
Joshua: (with authority) My Father is Lord of Heaven and earth... He doesn’t live in buildings made by men. (Joshua overturns more furniture as he moves closer to Rev. Kayfus.) My Father longs to live in clay vessels... the ones He made in His image. In fact, He longs to live within you... but you will not have Him! (Joshua moves within an arms length of Rev. Kayfus.)
Rev. Kayfus: You fool! (rambling) You’re a lunatic; you don’t know anything about anything! But that’s okay; you’re about to learn a few things! I’m calling the perfect teacher for you: Sheriff Herodos! (Rev. Kayfus pulls out his phone.) So, enjoy your classes in jail, you depraved criminal! Sheriff Herodos is on our Board of Trustees... and so is Judge Pilates!
(Before Rev. Kayus can make the call, Rev. Nick O’Demas grabs the phone out of Rev. Kayfus hands. As Mary clings to Joshua, Rev. Kayfus turns on Rev. Nick O’Demas.)
Rev. Kayfus: (stunned) What are you doing, Nick?! Don’t you recognize the work of Satan?!
Rev. Nick O’Demas: (bluntly) Yes, I think I do. That’s why I took the phone away.
Rev. Kayfus: What?! Who’s side are you on, Nick? Have you forgotten who is in charge here?
Rev. Nick O’Demas: No, I know who is in charge. And I answer to Him, not you.
Rev. Kayfus: That’s fine, Nick. And I’ll make sure you never work in ANY church ever again!
Joshua: Everything will be okay, Nick. Come with me... you’ll always be welcome here. And more, I need you. There’s no need to worry about Rev. Kayfus; he has no idea what he’s doing.
Rev. Kayfus: (furiously) No, you’re the one who doesn’t know me! I’m the one who decides what happens to YOU... including whether you live or die! You... you... militant extremist!
(Joshua whispers words of comfort to Mary... then turns to address Rev. Kayfus.)
Joshua: (with great force) Upon me rests the Eternal Power of God. And so, Mary and Nick will be with me... and I with them. (Joshua takes the phone from Nick and hands it back to Rev. Kayfus.) And you... you are free to be the blind coward you have become.
(An enraged Rev. Kayfus draws back his fist. Joshua steps forward to receive his punch. However, his fist suddenly freezes... and his arm slowly drops to his side.)
Rev. Kayfus: (voice trembling) Satan... you Prince of Devils! (Rev. Kayfus grabs his limp arm as if he has been defiled.) You’re going to pay for this; you’re going to pay!
(Rev. Kayfus turns and runs off. Rev. Nick O’Demas motions for everyone to huddle up.)
Rev. Nick O’Demas: Friends, we have a major problem.
Thomas: What do you mean? (Mary falls over in mourning.) What’s wrong with Mary? Matt: Nick, what’s going on? What happened?
(As Rev. Nick O’Demas attempts to whisper explanations, Joanna and Suzanna shyly approach Joshua... searching his eyes for answers. Soon all eyes are upon Joshua.)
Joshua: (clearly suffering) Please... everyone have a seat. I need to talk with all of you... but first I must step away to pray. (imploring them) Please... please stay awake with me.
Suzanna: (innocently) Where are you going, Joshua? Joanna: Do you need any help? Can I help? Suzanna: (desperately) Are you coming back?!
Rev. Nick O’Demas: (assuringly) He’s just going over there for a little while... to pray. Actually, that’s what we need to be doing. Please... can we all pray with Joshua?
(Rev. Nick O’Demas gathers everyone together... eventually forming a semi-circle.)
(As the instrumental opening of the song begins, Joshua returns with a bottle of wine, a ceramic cup, and a small loaf of bread. After pouring wine into the cup, Joshua tenderly goes from one person to the next... whispering to each person... then hands each the bread and the cup. They each eat a small piece of bread and take a sip of wine. When he reaches Jude, Joshua hands him the bread and wine first... and then whispers to him. Jude quickly partakes, but then departs.)
(Lastly, Joshua sits beside Mary. When she takes the bread, Mary looks at Joshua and shakes her head. She then runs off stage with the bread... as if she can stop time from moving forward. Joshua walks centerstage with the cup. As he looks at it, he kneels and prays... eventually bending over in utter agony. Soon, Joshua rises to sing. During the song, Jude returns with Rev. Kayfus and they whisper to each other at a distance until they depart during the last chorus.)
Home where all as children sing Home where tears never fall Home where all our dreams began Home where love is all
Father if there is a way for me
To carry on what has begun until they see The love in you... the life that waits Across this tossing sea
You see... I see
They still don’t understand Although they long to be Gathered all together
Thru my words they’ll finally see Or is there something that awaits That you can do thru me
You see... I see
(After singing his last note, Joshua returns to the group only to find them sleeping. In tremendous agony, he drinks from the cup and the lights immediately go off.)
(Dim lights rise upon Rev. Kayfus, Jude and Judge Pilates sitting around a fancy office table. They are sipping coffee while anxiously conversing.)
Judge Pilates: (attempting to calm) Yes, I understand what you’re saying, but I’m sure we can find a way to deal with all this... quietly. This isn’t my first rodeo.
Rev. Kayfus: (stridently) That’s certainly true, but I can tell you flat out... without any reservation... you have never dealt with someone like this! I’m telling you, Judge... he’s going to bring down the whole house... and all of us with it!
Jude: (chiming in with passion) Absolutely, Your Honor! For instance, I heard him say that he was going to completely demolish our church!
Rev. Kayfus: Yes, I remember. Didn’t he say there wouldn’t be a single brick left standing?! Of course, that makes me wonder about his techniques... like the kinds of weapons he has!
Judge Pilates: (semi-laughing) Come on, Reverend; let’s slow it down a bit. I haven’t heard about any violence... much less possessing weapons. There’s no need to get all dramatic.
Rev. Kayfus: (leaning forward) I’m not being dramatic. You will be the one living the drama when you’re standing before the Governor and he’s asking, “Why didn’t you handle this?!”
Jude: Rev. Kayfus is right, Judge. I watched Joshua day after day; he quickly seized the hearts and minds of the youth. Now, many adults are turning to him... professionals, executives... even folks like Nick! Truthfully, he almost got me to follow him. Thankfully, I figured things out.
Rev. Kayfus: (expanding) He’s completely over-the-top. Hear me; he told me he was the truth... with a capital “T.” He speaks and acts like he is God! It’s unimaginable, yet it’s happening!
Judge Pilates: (remaining calm) Okay... okay... okay... I get it. He’s a very charasmatic guy... and clearly, has illusions of grandeur. But I still haven’t heard any problematic nuts and bolts.
Rev. Kayfus: (annoyed) Well... here’s a nut: He’s going to destroy everything I’ve built! And... here’s a bolt: All of the essential work I’ve done in the shadows is going to be brought to light!
Jude: Does that sound problematic enough for you, Judge? Remember, it only takes a spark to burn down an entire forest. I promise you this... Joshua is much more than a spark.
Judge Pilates: (smiling) It seems that Joshua may indeed burn down a bit of Kayfus’ forest. I hate to hear this... I really do. However, we’ve always had a firewall in all this. Remember the arrangement, Kayfus? You keep the people happy... and I take care of the legal matters.
Rev. Kayfus: (bitterly) Let me see if I understand: I take care of me and you take care of you. Is that it? Do you really think that was the arrangement? Do you think this will shelter YOU?!
Judge Pilates: Kayfus, calm down; there’s no need to get all worked up. I was just reminding you that we each have special areas of expertise... things that need to be kept separate.
Rev. Kayfus: (pausing) So, when everything is out in the open and the Governor calls me... do I just tell him I don’t know anything about the legal matters, the voting irregularities, the missing funds, and all the rest of it? I should just remind him that I keep the people happy... is that right?
Judge Pilates: (trying to reconcile) No... no... that’s not what I meant to say. (downplaying) It’s just you guys act like Joshua has magical powers... mind control... special connections. Come on guys; I’ve heard him! He’s got no real power... just fancy words for weak-minded people.
Jude: (conflicted) I saw him heal someone who had been crippled all his life! I can’t explain it. Still, it’s all so suspicious; Joshua has to be wrong! Consider Judge, Nick isn’t weak-minded... just gullible. Joshua attracts all kinds of folks... and some are leaving everything to follow him.
Judge Pilates: (more seriously) So, do y’all think Joshua is a bigger threat than John was?
Rev. Kayfus: Your Honor, John was indeed a huge threat to our power. But he was nothing compared to Joshua. When this cat is out of the proverbial bag... it’ll be way too late. Dang it, Judge; we won’t be able to win against him! Thankfully, we presently have options available.
Judge Pilates: (apprehensively) Okay... what do you need me to do?
Rev. Kayfus: (being precise) I can’t just have him shot; the people need a reason to discredit him... to renounce him... so we can get things back to normal. And so, we’ve got to frame him. More specifically, you’ve got to find him guilty of plotting those heinous terror attacks.
Jude: (wavering) Hold on a second; I thought we were just sending him to Alaska or something.
Judge Pilates: I hear you, Jude. (pausing) Kayfus, your plan is only easy to say. However, I’d be the one causing an innocent man to be savagely executed. That’s asking a bit much, isn’t it?
Rev. Kayfus: (perturbed) He’s not innocent! There may well be truth in it! (pausing) But yes, I must ask a lot when so much is at stake. You guys need not worry; let any guilt fall upon me. After all, I’m the one who has planned all this. With Almighty God as my guide, I declare it’s the right thing to do! Come on guys; don’t get soft and mushy. We must end this madness!
Jude: (increasingly anxious) Judge, what kind of good options do we have? What about exile?
Judge Pilates: (contemplating) No, I can’t think of a good one. Truth is... there are things that can’t come to light. And... it seems Joshua would truly destroy much, including so many lives. Yes... yes... we’ve done dubious things, Kayfus. But in this... let it be known that I didn’t find Joshua guilty of any crime. I will only be the mouthpiece of the judgment you have rendered.
Rev. Kayfus: (solemnly) May the weight fall solely on me. I am only doing what is necessary. Friends, we didn’t choose this! I wish there was another way... but the world is just the way it is.
Judge Pilates: (introspectively) Are you sure, Kayfus? Or... might it be... we have made the world this way? (There is silence as everyone awkwardly considers the ramifications.)
Rev. Kayfus: Okay, enough depressing talk. Let’s get this ball rolling... then, get it behind us!
Jude: Kayfus, if you’re sure this is the best option, just tell me exactly what you need me to do.
Rev. Kayfus: Jude, it’s the best option... and... it’s our only option. So, do you think you can plant some devices and hard copies amidst Joshua’s stuff... as well as a flash drive on his person?
Jude: No problem... piece of cake. (pausing) Now... tell me again... what are you doing for me?
Rev. Kayfus: Well... for starters, I’m transferring $30,000 into your account. That’ll more than cover that new car you wanted. How’s that?
Jude: (nodding) It’s starting to sound a little better. (justifying) You’re right; there’s no need to get all gloomy. Soon... everything will be back to normal... and much better... right?
Rev. Kayfus: (smiling) Yes indeed, much better. Hey, we’re all going to be winners in this! (Rev. Kayfus lifts his mug as if he were going to make a toast.)
Judge Pilates: Kayfus, are you celebrating already? We’ve got some really difficult days ahead.
Rev. Kayfus: Yes... yes... so true. There are always difficult days... lots of hard work... but then, the reward. Be assured; we’re not just serving ourselves. We’re serving God and His purposes!
(Jude yearns to believe Rev. Kayfus whereas Judge Pilates shakes his head, totally unconvinced.)
Rev. Kayfus: (rationalizing) Judge, isn’t it better to actively cause one man’s death than to passively cause the destruction of millions? (pausing) On a happy note, the Governor shared a bit of news earlier: There will soon be a spot on the Supreme Court... reserved just for you!
(After much silence, the Judge nods gently... then lifts his mug. Kayfus smiles and lifts his mug towards Jude... then to the Judge. Jude slowly, painfully lifts his mug... as the lights fade out.)
(The lights rise to Mary sitting at Joshua’s feet. Joshua’s shoes are off and Mary is rubbing his feet with oil as she cries. Mary eventually falls over with her head resting upon his feet. As Joshua places his hand on her head and tries to comfort her, Peter slowly enters the scene.)
Peter: (confused) What’s going on?
Joshua: (tenderly) Tell me, Peter; do you recognize pure love?
Peter: (pausing... then tearfully) Yes... I do now. Joshua, I was so weak. Can you forgive me?
Joshua: I can... and I do. My friend, the weak will be made strong. And you, Peter... you will soon discover great strength. Come here and join us... I’m about to have to go away for a while. (As Peter goes to sit beside Mary, Joshua begins putting on his shoes.)
Peter: (worried) Where are you going, Joshua?
Mary: (innocently) What do we do while you’re away? (pausing) What can we do for you?
Joshua: (moved with compassion) Remember... always remember. (Joshua pauses, then stands.) Chin up, Peter. All will be well... I will be making all things new. And... thank you, Mary.
Peter: (franticly) But... can I help? I won’t fail you again... I’ll do whatever is needed...
Joshua: Yes, you can do as I’ve taught you. Peter, you’ll soon be strong... and solid as a rock.
(Joshua kneels down and whispers to Mary as he hands her a red letter. Peter stands up and strongly hugs Joshua, but Mary is too distraught to look up. Joshua departs up the aisle. Mary quietly shares the letter with Peter, then she timidly walks to the front of the stage.)
Mary: (struggling) But there was one who knew him to be no ordinary man. She knew in every respect the difference between those who selfishly used her and he who selflessly loved her. In making her perfectly new, her greatest dreams had come true. She could only watch in horror... as men with calloused souls cursed, tortured and finally killed him.
(All lights go out and ominous music begins. A red spotlight illumines an armchair (an electric chair) that is now center stage. Joshua is led down the aisle by two guards... with his hands behind his back and his head bent forward. The guards lead him to the chair. Joshua sits and the guards make motions, as if shackling his hands and feet to the chair. Joshua’s eyes are looking around... and then they rest upon Mary, who is not far away. The guards reluctantly pass a hood back and forth until one of them quickly places it over his head. The spotlight goes off and discordant tones of the synthesizer become like violent screams. Dim lights flash, as Joshua struggles intensely. He finally collapses... his head falling to the side... symbolizing his death. All the lights go out. After a long pause, a blue spotlight appears on Joshua as Mary removes the shackles and the hood. Others gradually appear and gather around. Mary desperately clings to his hands while Rev. Nick O’Demas holds him in place. Finally, everyone gently picks him up... and carry him on their shoulders... up the aisle and out of sight. The lights fade to black.)
(After a lengthy pause, dim lights rise revealing sad faces... and gloomy discussion. All of the group is present except for Jude, Mary, Joanna and Suzanna.)
Martha: Well... it’s been three long days. Do any of you remember Joshua saying something about rising on the third day?
Sally: Yes... and I still can’t imagine what he was talking about. Actually, my confusion has only grown: His dead body is at the funeral home... and our dead spirits are just sitting here.
Andrew: Speaking of, did y’all know that Mary, Joanna and Suzanna went to put flowers on Joshua’s dead body? (flippantly) You guys think he’ll rise up and say, “Thanks... such lovely flowers?!” (pausing) You know... I’ve been thinking... and it seems like... I mean... never mind.
Martha: No, say it, Andrew. I’m sure it’s only what the rest of us have been thinking.
Andrew: Well... it’s just that everything has turned out to be about nothing. Nothing has changed... nothing has been gained. In fact, all we’ve experienced is loss... John... Joshua... and now, the loss of all hope... all joy. Maybe Rev. Kayfus and Jude were right when...
Sally: (interrupting) What?! Rev. Kayfus and Jude?! Andrew, you know that can’t be right. I understand what you’re feeling... but we can’t forget all that we’ve experienced... all that we’ve heard... all that we’ve seen... all that we’ve really known?! Maybe the problem is with us!
Martha: Problem is with us?! Sally, we believed what Joshua was saying... we followed him around... (turning sad) and... we loved him. (pausing, then turning angry) I didn’t want it to end this way! But Joshua’s way has led us here... and... I trusted him... for no good reason!
Sally: (sincerely) Did we really believe him, Martha? (pausing) Do we just quit when things don’t go the way we think they should go?
Andrew: (defending) We’re not quitting; we’re simply considering the reality at hand. Sally, everyone here is thinking exactly the same thing.
Sally: I’m not, Andrew. Yes, I know... I’m stupid... I get it. But not about this! You guys are not considering; you are judging! (pausing) We’ve all been judging things we don’t understand.
Martha: (angrily) We’re not judging; we’re just stating the facts! Wise up, Sally. Maybe you’ve always been called the stupid one for a reason.
Sally: (calmly) Okay... maybe so. But it seems to me like there are many unanwered questions right in front of us. Like... why don’t we still believe? What can we do... right now? Why don’t we seek to discover what Joshua meant when he said he would rise?!
Andrew: Sally, it’s not that complicated; it’s all right here: John is dead. Joshua is dead. Believing Joshua only led to terrible things. Nothing changed for the good...
Matt: (interrupting) Have you noticed my leg, Andrew? It used to feel dead; now, it’s alive! And more, I used to feel dead inside; then, Joshua brought me to Life! Are we now dead again?
Andrew: (bashfully) Sorry... I remember about your leg... and feeling Life... and all the rest. I don’t like feeling dead... I just do.
Matt: Then, you can’t really think Rev. Kayfus and Jude were right? When we’re shown the Truth, it is up to us to REMEMBER it. Our feelings change all the time, but not the Truth. The Truth endures forever! Remember?! Everything has happened just like Joshua said it would.
Peter: (changing the tone) Remember when Joshua asked if we would put a lobster in a toaster?
Sally: (smiling) Peter, would you take a watermelon to the theater?
(There is silence as everyone reflects upon earlier times. Suddenly, there is remembrance.)
Suzanna: If we had just a tiny seed of faith...
Matt: (with passion) ...we could move mountains!
Joanna: (boldly) Those who choose to give up their lives for me and the Good News...
Sally: (joyfully) ...they will have Life Everlasting!
Chloe: (suddenly stands up) And God said, Let there be light; and there was light!
Peter: (stands) In him was life; and the life was the light of men!
Thomas: (stands) And the light shines in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not!
(The lights instantly go off... but the darkness is soon illumined by the flashlights of Mary, Joanna and Suzanna, as they search for Joshua’s body in the morgue of the funeral home.)
Joanna: Mary, we’re not supposed to even be in this part of the funeral home.
Mary: I know... but Nick and I left his body right here... somewhere. I just need to be near Joshua... (crying) and to leave these flowers by his side.
Suzanna: Over here... I found him!
Suzanna: Well... I guess I just found his name... his body isn’t here.
Mary: Why?! Where have they taken him? (crying) He’s gone... everything is gone.
Joanna: (trying to comfort) No Mary... Joshua isn’t gone. He said he would always be with us... didn’t he? Isn’t that right, Suzanna?
Suzanna: (chiming in) Yeah, that’s right! So... maybe... he’s with us... somehow... remember? Mary: (slowly, while crying) You’re right. I remember. How could I have forgotten?
Joanna: That’s right, Mary. We’ve just got to hold on to our memories.
Mary: (after pausing) No, Joshua can’t just be a memory. He said he would never leave me... (falling to her knees in despair)... he said he would always be with me. I believed him. I really believed him. (pausing) And... I’ve got to believe him now!
Suzanna: (not understanding) Mary, it’s okay. We’ve still got a lot of life in front of us. Mary: (with assurance returning) Yes Suzanna, and a lot of Life with us... right beside us!
(Music begins as Mary buries her face in her flowers. Suddenly, she stands and divides the flowers between Suzanna and Joanna and they slowly breathe in the fragrant refreshment.)
Mary: (thinking aloud) He said he would never leave us. Right now, we can choose to believe! Joanna: (with hope) Are you here with us, Joshua?! (She lifts her face upward.)
Mary: Joshua, we’re remembering! Help us not to be so anxious. (joyfully) You’re right here! Here
Today I lift my eyes to you For you know what to do
I have seen the truth in you You told me not to be afraid So now my plans are made I will simply trust in you
You’re not just something in my dreams You’re not defined by how things seem Yes, I believe that you are here with me You walk with me just like you did before And I believe that you will stay with me And guide me to the place where you are
I know our journey will be hard But you are my reward
All I have I give away
Greater love has no man here You made it all so clear
When you gave your life away
You’re not a story I once read
You’re not a thought I made up in my head
Someday soon I’ll hear your voice
And I’ll make my final choice
To stretch forth these waiting hands to you
(Music fades as soft light rests upon them. Mary is kneeling... clinging to her letters.)
Joshua: (from out of view) Mary.
Mary: (with panic) Who said that? Where are you? (Mary’s eyes search for the voice.)
Joshua: (stepping into the light) It’s me, Mary. Don’t be afraid. I’m alive; nothing is lost. God’s work is just beginning... for you... in you. Look and see, I am making all things new!
Mary: (jubilantly) My teacher! (pausing, then smiling) My friend.
(Mary hugs him joyously. Joanna and Suzanna also run to embrace Joshua. He greets each of them tenderly.)
Joshua: Mary, I don’t have any more letters for you, so I’m leaving this message in your heart. (He puts his hands over her eyes and prays.) Share this news with the rest. (Joshua turns to go.)
Mary: (desperately) Wait!
(Mary runs to hold him, but collapses in his arms. He whispers to her and gently lays her down.)
Joshua: (to Joanna and Suzanna) Please make sure Mary isn’t anxious... I’ll see her again soon. (tenderly) She’s right you know... I really am with you... always. (All the lights fade out.)
(Soft lights rise upon the group... sitting quietly and still. Mary, Suzanna and Joanna arrive.) Mary: (excitedly) I’ve seen him! I’ve seen him! I’ve...
Peter: Calm down Mary! Who have you seen?
Mary: Him! I’ve seen him!
Thomas: But Mary, who exactly is “him.”
Joanna: (with angelic arms towards the heavens) We’ve seen Joshua.
Suzanna: He is alive!
(Everyone else looks at each other with puzzled expressions and astonishment. Mary motions for everyone to gather around... and then speaks with great excitement.)
Mary: (with passion) Why?! There was no immediate answer. But she remembered his love and the life he had given to her. In time, she would see that such love is never defeated.. death itself is swallowed up in Life. After three long days, he rose from the dead... so that all could rise with him! He shouldered the suffering of the old world... so that he could make it all new!
(Joanna and Suzanna whisper to the others. Wonderment begins to illumine their faces. Joy starts to spread, as doubt is overcome by faith.)
(Music begins. Suzanna and Joanna run to the front to sing. Soon, all join in.)
Friend Like You
It’s been a long, long while
Almost forgotten how to smile
And laugh without you
Thought it would never end
You did the very best my friend Though it seemed that no one knew But you spoke to me
Set my spirit free
Gave me wings so I could fly
A friend like you who understands How it feels in distant lands
To walk alone without a home
In these empty fields of grey
A friend like you who takes my hand Helps me learn to live again
To rise and above and see the way Through these empty fields of grey
And so I’m alone again
Considering things that might have been The truths too hard to bear
Until I remember you
All of the things that you went through Just to show me that you care
So I’ll hope in you
That you will see me through
These broken wings still yearn to fly
So when it seems that nothing’s fair
It helps just knowing that you’re there
(There is much celebration... but soon, all is quiet as they contemplate the news. After a long pause, Thomas asks earnest questions.)
Thomas: Mary, are you sure it was Joshua? Mary: (smiling) Yes, Thomas... it was Joshua.
Thomas: (thinking aloud) You know sometimes I have dreams that seem so real. Are you sure you weren’t dreaming? I mean... were you able to touch him? How close did...
Joanna: (interrupting) Thomas, we saw him, too!
Suzanna: Thomas, we haven’t all lost our minds!
Mary: (with hands over her heart) Thomas... he was alive... right here with me.
Thomas: (still pondering) I know you feel him in your heart, but did you actually see his face? (pausing) What about his hands? Did you feel his hands? Were they warm?
(Joshua walks up behind Thomas... unseen by anyone until this moment.)
Joshua: (extending his hands) What do you think, Thomas? Are they warm?
(Everyone is momentarily stunned... as Thomas squeezes Joshua’s hands in shock... and then jumps up to give him a huge hug. The others excitedly jump up together and form a circle around Joshua... delighting in his presence. Soon, Joshua addresses the group.)
Joshua: Today, you see with your eyes, hear with your ears, and feel with your hands. But for all others, I am counting on you to be as me... to be my voice... to be my hands. Blessed are those who will believe... because of you! My friends, in this valley of the shadows, you are witnesses to the land of the living! So now, follow after me... never growing weary. Remember, I am with you always! (Joshua walks up the aisle, but turns back to bless them.)
Joshua: (raising his hands) Friends, peace I leave with all of you. (smiling) Follow me!
(Everyone watches Joshua with awestruck faces, as he walks up the aisle and out of sight. Soft lights begins to illumine Mary, and the others gather together. Mary rises to share about the lives of those who followed Joshua. As she calls each name, each quietly moves to centerstage... gazes forward for a few seconds... and then, each walks humbly up the aisle and out of sight.)
Mary: (serenely) And so, we followed him. In so doing, we made our way through the cold days of gray... and found ourselves amidst everlasting fields of green. Behold, God made man from mere clay... yet, this new creation is specially made... even in His likeness! In mortal man, God can turn fleeting time into miracles for all Eternity!
Peter organized a group of believers... proclaiming Good News to all people. This group became a network of millions. In one country, Peter’s work was considered a threat to the government. Its leaders demanded that Peter recant the Good News. Instead, Peter spoke ever more boldly. The community of faith was only strengthened when Peter was publicly tortured and executed. At no point did Peter flinch... or even hesitate. He became what Joshua said he would be: a rock! This kind of faith, love and courage is still building the Kingdom of God.
Joanna and Suzanna started a camp for children who were physically and mentally challenged. On any given day, campers rode horses for the very first time, played games they weren’t supposed to be able to play, and shared stories around roaring campfires. People who never actually visited the camp often said they felt sorry for the campers. However, those who spent time there always found something quite different: pure laughter and joys beyond words.
Matt became a doctor, and Chloe became a nurse. They turned down high-paying jobs to work in the most desperate slums of India. And so, the healing love of God became real among the poorest of the poor. However, perhaps the greatest acts of healing were accomplished by an aide in the clinic, Nick O’Demas. His medicine was only smiles, hugs and laughter... but with these, he healed thousands, especially children. Nick no longer had a lofty title; he didn’t need one.
Thomas and Martha teamed up to start a mission for homeless kids in the inner-city. To outside observers, the mission didn’t accomplish very much. But to the kids they served, their worlds were changed forever in so many immeasurable ways. As it turned out, many of the children ended up knowing Martha and Thomas by new and treasured names... simply “Mom and Dad.”
Sally and Andrew never quite found their way in this world. One night, Sally found Andrew lying face down in the gutter. She never left him. Together, they wandered the countryside... often living in homeless shelters. Many people thought of them as bums. But they were known as “counselors” to Leon the drunk, Shirley the aging prostitute, and the mentally ill man who claimed to be an astronaut. During an unexpected blizzard, Sally and Andrew huddled together to keep each other warm. They left this world amidst many frozen tears. To all appearances, they died homeless and alone. But remember, things are often not as they seem.
Jude soon realized his incredible blindness and utter cluelessness... but most of all, he realized the darkness in his heart. (Jude timidly appears centerstage with his head bowed... and he quickly continues up the aisle and out of sight.) Jude knew he had betrayed the only One who ever really cared about him... and the only One who could ever save him. In his despair, Jude jumped off a high bridge in the middle of the night. Though his body was crushed on the rocks below, his soul was caught by strong arms of love. Like many in the world today, Jude wasn’t able to forgive himself. Thankfully, there is One who is able; there is One who will.
Mary: (with great earnestness and boldness) Friends, the Author of Liberty will not take His gift of Freedom from anyone. All of us are free to choose the Light or the darkness... to Love with all of our being or build a fortress around ourselves... to discover the treasures of Heaven or make our beds in hell.
(Mary pauses as she slowly walks to the edge of the stage.)
Mary: (with great joy) Cold hearts can be warmed... cloudy minds can be made clear... barren souls can be filled!
(Joseph Kayfus humbly appears and walks to centerstage with his head bowed in shame. He walks over to Mary and she warmly touches his face. She hands him all of her precious letters.)
Joseph Kayfus: I hurt many people in my lifetime. As a teenager, I hurt my parents, as well as friends and strangers alike. As a preacher, I hurt even more. But, most of all, I hurt God. I never knew God really loved me... that is, until Mary came to visit me in prison. I was so lost... (pausing emotionally) but because of Mary, I was able to be found. There I was... rightly convicted for so many crimes. There I was... the one responsible for the death of her best friend. Still... she came to visit me. (Mary smiles at Joseph... then walks up the aisle and out of sight.)
Joseph Kayfus: Mary kept telling me how the love that healed her could heal me. I began to hunger for that kind of love... and day by day, I began to change. One beautiful summer night, (struggling) Mary was hit by a drunk driver... on her way home from visiting with me.
(Joseph Kayfus mournfully sits on the edge of the stage... to share more deeply and personally.)
Joseph Kayfus: (struggling to compose himself) And so, here I am. (holding up the letters... and gaining strength) The Truth lives... the Truth echoes... the Truth will endure forever! (pausing) When I got out of prison, I so wanted to share the Truth... and I prayed that it might one day set me free. (struggling) I so want to start over... to be born anew. If God can use me, all things really are possible. Though the past hurts so deeply, there may be a bright future... even for me. Last night, a very strange man appeared to me in a dream. He showed me Psalm 116:
“For you have delivered my soul from death
My eyes from tears... my feet from stumbling
I walk before the Lord in the Land of the Living”
Joseph: (emotionally) I so yearn to walk in this Land of the Living... may it come some day! (Joseph looks up and sees someone at the back of the church. Joseph is visibly confused.)
Joseph: (perplexed) I don’t know how... but that strange man is now with us all.
(John enters carrying a green letter. He gives Joseph a friendly pat on the back and then reads.)
John: (strongly) In fact, that which he gave so long ago is not so far away today... nothing was lost. He planted many seeds... seeds of life that are waiting to bloom... so that all creation might sing. And in that day, he will surely sing with us! (John then hands the letter to Joseph.)
John: (turning to Joseph) My friend, rejoice! The Land of the Living is here... for you! Joseph: (eagerly) What do you mean? How do I... where do I... what do I do?!
John: (warmly) You don’t have to do anything more, Joseph. He has made all things new! Joseph: (confused but looking wildly around) He?! John, am I dreaming?!
John: (joyously) Wake up, Joseph! Life begins now! (John points up the aisle.)
(As Joshua walks down the aisle, John runs to meet him with a warm embrace. Joshua and John head towards Joseph who is stunned, unable to speak or move. When they reach him, Joshua looks into his eyes... smiling warmly. As the music begins, Joshua touches his forehead; however, Joseph remains frozen in shock. Joshua and John converse quietly as they walk back up the aisle and out of sight. Warmth and animation begin to return to Joseph’s countenance... and he begins to sing.)
Land of the Living
I’ve been asleep for oh so long Dreaming on my own
Here and there and everywhere But still I feel alone
Oh wake me to a brighter day
Take me where there’s room to play In your arms I’ll always stay Forever and a day
When I wake up take my hand In the land of the living
Hold me now my precious one In your arms so dear
Sing to me your lullaby
The one I long to hear
Oh some melodies they come and go But your song I’ll always know
In my heart it’ll grow and grow Forever and a day
To see the morning sun
The dawn of life has now begun No more to fear the night Forever in the light
(On the triumphant bridge (To see the morning sun), everyone returns in a procession... following Joshua down the aisle while singing in full voice. Joseph and Mary see each other and run to embrace. Joseph excitedly hands Mary all of the letters... to her delighted remembrance. He then turns and sees Joshua; Joseph falls humbly at his feet. Joshua picks him up and hugs him strongly. Joseph listens to Joshua intensely as they walk up the aisle and out of sight. During the last chorus, everyone joins hands... facing the audience. Joshua returns to offer each person his hand... then each grouping excitedly runs with Joshua up the aisle and out of sight. The chorus is repeated until only Mary is left. She wanders around the stage singing the chorus “a cappella.” She then stops and reflects within the stillness... clinging tightly to the letters.)
(Joshua quietly comes up to her and whispers in her ear. She looks innocently at him... and then excitedly runs to hand the letters to various people in the audience. After all the letters are handed out, Mary joyously runs to centerstage.)
Mary: (exuberantly) Remembering can bring all past Goodness... to the present! Our God is not bound by time. Our God is the God of the Living!
(Joshua smiles and offers Mary his arm. They walk arm-in-arm while conversing... up the aisle and out of sight. The lights fade.)
(After a pause, a spotlight appears centerstage and Joshua walks into the circle of light. The music begins and Joshua sings the closing song.)
Remember in all of the simple things you do My body broken here for you
So carry on
Remember our long walks on dusty roads All of the stories that were told
How it seems like yesterday when life seemed near Now your hope is fading into growing fear
For things they change... they rearrange
So my life... lies down
Remember in all of the simple things you do
My body broken here for you
So carry on
Remember all of the laughs and knowing smiles Oh come and walk with me a while
I know it sometimes seems I’m far away
But if you remember... you’ll know... I’ll always stay For I don’t change... nor rearrange
My best gift... I gave
(Prior to the last chorus, Joshua sets a cup of wine and a loaf of bread at the front of the stage. Joshua departs while still singing, as the spotlight softly illumines the wine and bread.)
Note: The theatrical presentation comes to its end. However, the church (or host organization) may choose to offer Holy Communion to the audience at this time.
Jamie is seeking individuals and/or organizations interested in putting the musical into production... whether in stage or film formats.