A dramatic reading based on the gospel of John by Don Heller
Use this as a dramatic reading for the very beginning of worship on Easter morning. If there has been a good Holy Week schedule with a somber Good Friday service with folks meditating on the cross, the grave and the events of Friday then this leads into Easter where they are at…. We have used this effectively at Bethel Lutheran Church in Ericksdahl, Texas.
Mary: (pounding on the door) Peter, John…(breathing heavily from running hard, scared confused voice)…Peter, John, It's me Mary! Open up, Open the door! Hurry!!! Hurry, Help!
John: (frightened, emotion on edge, speaks in quick short bursts) What's going on? Get in here quick. Are there others following you? I thought you had gone to the tomb…
Mary: (tears and sobbing and still out of breath from running)I did John but when I got there the stone had been rolled away
Peter: What! (confusion and bewilderment are all over his face and in his voice)
Mary: Yes! Oh Peter, they have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him! (sobbing turned into wails of lament)
Narrator: At once Peter and John ran to the tomb. John out ran Peter. Peter was still in deep pain for deserting and denying his beloved Jesus. He ran with a huge lump of fear, dread and guilt tying his stomach into knots. John got to the tomb first.
John (out of breath from running, looking at Peter) You go in, I'll keep watch.
Peter (confused and whispering loudly) John…John… I don't understand. What's happened here? John, get in here! The body is not here but…when they took his body they…they…the linen body wrapping is still here….the strips from his head are rolled up in the corner. It's all clean. What has happened? Get in here now John!
Narrator: John steps into the tomb, the scene of confusion for Peter and surveys what Peter has just described to him. He sees the linen wrappings lying there. He sees the cloth strips that had been around Jesus' head are wrapped up neatly in the corner…
John: (softly, slowly as though he were fitting the pieces together for the first time) Ah…So…this is what he meant…the temple that he was talking about…on the third day… that is why he did not fight back Friday…Peter (he starts to chuckle and smile) Peter don't you get it? No one has come in and stolen the body. Those linens are left there, the head wrappings are rolled up because they are not needed! Jesus doesn't need them. Not only could he raise up Lazarus…but he…don't you see Peter?
Peter (puzzlement still in his voice. His voice crescendos loudly at the end of this sentence ) You don't think…but he was dead…dead people don't come back to life. Nah…it can't be. John if it is true,…Oh no John, I left him (starting to sob)…I said that I did not know him!...What will he do to me…It is too much to think about… I gotta' go home…
Narrator: Mary remained outside the tomb even after Peter and John went home. She had not seen what John had seen in faith. She remained outside weeping. After the two men had left she finally got enough courage up to look inside the tomb. She sees two angels sitting where the body of Jesus had been laid. They spoke to her:
Angels Woman why are you weeping?
Mary: (still very sad) They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.
Narrator: Mary turned around and saw a man she did not recognize. The man spoke to her:
Jesus: Woman why are you weeping? Who are you looking for?
Mary: (sniffles and sobs through this) You keep the grounds here, you are in charge of the garden here, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.
Jesus: (lovingly he coaxes her recognition) Mary
Mary: (Her eyes wide open with joy, smiles in recognition, amazed) Rabbouni! Teacher! Jesus: Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, "I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God."
Narrator So Mary ran. This time there was joy, amazement, faith, hope and feelings too great for words to begin to describe. The trip was fast. She did not have to breathe. She couldn't. She ran so fast that she flew or she should have flown. The rest of her, her heart, her soul and her spirit were flying. Nothing could stop her now! She pounded on the door crying out to all:
Mary: Open up! Open Up! I have seen him, I have seen him. I have seen the Lord…and he is alive!
The congregation responds in the ancient Easter greeting: "He is alive indeed!"
© Don Heller, all rights reserved. The script may not be reproduced, translated
or copied in any medium, including books, CDs and on the Internet, without written
permission of the author.
This play may be performed free of charge, on the condition that copies are not sold for profit in any medium, nor any entrance fee charged. In exchange for free performance, the author would appreciate being notified of when and for what purpose the play is performed. He may be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org