By Leslie and Mike Poole
A basin - such as that used by Pontius Pilate - becomes a symbol for the
way in which mankind down through history has washed its hands of situations.
NARRATOR #1: Now it was the governor's custom at the Feast to release a
prisoner chosen by the crowd. At that time they had a notorious prisoner,
called Barabbas. So when the crowd had gathered, Pilate asked them,
"Which one do you want me to release to you: Barabbas, or Jesus who is
called Christ?" While Pilate was sitting on the judge's seat, his
wife sent him this message: "Don't have anything to do with that innocent
man, for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of him."
But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas
and to have Jesus executed.
"Which of the two do you want me to release to you?" asked the governor.
"Barabbas," they answered.
"What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called Christ?" Pilate asked.
They all answered, "Crucify him!"
"Why? What crime has he committed?" asked Pilate.
But they shouted all the louder, "Crucify him!"
When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar
was starting, he took the basin of water and washed his hands in front
of the crowd.
NARRATOR #2: (holding basin) "I am innocent of this man's blood.
It is your responsibility!"
#1: And with that, Pilate washed his hands of Jesus, pushing away the
basin and his part in the crucifixion of Jesus. (takes basin from
#2: The basin has appeared in front of many people throughout history
who had the opportunity to make the choice between accepting responsibility
or washing their hands of it and pushing the basin away. Moments
after Pilate pushes the basin away it appears in front of Peter who several
times is confronted with the fact that he is a follower of Jesus.
Peter washed his hands of Jesus by denying him three times before the cock
#1: I don't know what you're talking about. I don't know
the man. I do not know the man!
#2: And Peter pushes the basin away. (#1 passes basin to #2)
#1: The basin is presented to leaders of nations time and time
again as they are confronted with war, tyranny and crimes against humanity.
The basin stands before them, forcing them to choose. Do they stand
up against such actions? Or look the other way? Accept the
responsibility - or wash their hands and push the basin away.
#2: "We have decided to remain neutral. We will not
interfere in the policies of another government."
#1: And again, the basin is refused, passed on to another and
another. (#2 passes basin to #1)
#2: The basin passes throughout society and into local communities.
Neighborhoods struggle with issues of homelessness, unemployment and rising
crime. They are confronted with the choice to assist in providing
solutions to these problems or refusing responsibility - refusing to get
#1: "Not in my backyard!" "They brought it on themselves.
If they would just get a job like the rest of us, they wouldn't need our
#2: Communities refuse to accept responsibility in the issues
and push away the basin. (#1 passes basin to #2) Many times with anger
and vindictiveness. But more often than not, with apathy.
#1: The basin travels even deeper into the fabric of society
and into the family structure itself. Family members wrestle with
differences of opinion, lifestyle or beliefs. Members are confronted
with the choice of dialog and understanding or shame, hate and denial.
#2: "He is dead to me." "Don't come back in this house
again." "We don't talk about it."
#1: And again, the basin - and the responsibility - is rejected.
Hands are washed, relationships are severed and no one takes ownership.
The basin is moved on to someone else's hands.
#2: (#2 then comes from behind #1, and hands #1 the basin)
We are all presented with the basin throughout our lives. What choices
do we make? Do we take the easy way out? How clean are our
hands after all the washing we do?
#1: "You can't hold me responsible. My parents made me
the way I am." "I've always been this way - you can't expect me to
#2: Throughout our lives we push the basin away many times.
#1: (#1 hands basin to #2) Jesus was presented with the basin.
But instead of washing his hands with it, he got up from the meal, took
off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that,
he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples' feet, drying
them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
#2: "Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet,
you also should wash one another's feet. I have set you an example
that you should do as I have done for you."
#1: Jesus accepts responsibility in a manner of humility and
servanthood and teaches his disciples to do the same. Jesus chooses
to hold on to the basin instead of pushing it away.
#2: The disciples pushed the basin away by betraying Jesus, by denying
Jesus, and by walking away from Jesus. They didnít love others as they
loved themselves. We push away the basin. We betray Christ in our actions.
We deny Christ with our words. Our betrayal and denial occur every time
we push away the basin. We donít love others as we love ourselves. But
Jesus takes the basin and washes the feet of his disciples. Even Judas
is present, to share in the footwashing and the meal. Jesus did wash their
feet. Jesus takes the place of the lowest slave. He accepts the basin of
servanthood. Jesus loves them to the very end. Jesus loves his disciples
knowing they will betray and deny him. Jesus provides for us, even us who
are sinners. Jesus took the form of a slave for us. Jesus provided us with
baptism and communion. Jesus loves us to the very end. The basin that is
passed along, is the basin that holds the water in our baptism. (place
basin in the baptismal font) By our baptism, we are called to take the
form of slaves. By our baptism, we are called to love others as Christ
has loved us. And by loving, by accepting the basin of our baptism, people
will know us as Christís disciples.
Copyright Leslie & Mike Poole, all rights reserved.
This script may be used without payment, provided no charge is made for
entrance to the performance. In return, the authors would like to be told
of any performance. They may be contacted at: email@example.com