Saturday, December 23, 2023

The Face of God - Christmas Service


Drama starts at 10:25

Christmas program - THE FACE OF GOD

Script by David Edgren and Josh Steed

Setup: Cross centre-stage at back. Wooden bench on left side. Manger on right side.

Scene 1: The Cross 

Characters: Parent and Child

(Child sitting on bench, looking at cross. Parent walks in.)

Child: “I don’t understand, if Jesus was truly the Messiah, why did he have to die? Has God turned his face from us?”

Parent: "No, my child, God has not turned away. He is always with us, even in our darkest moments."

Child: “But why did Jesus have to die on the cross?”

Parent: "Jesus died on the cross to save us from our sins. You see, sin separates us from God. Because God is holy and perfect, He cannot be in the presence of sin."

Child: “So, Jesus died to bring us closer to God?”

Parent: "Exactly. Jesus took all of our sins upon Himself and died in our place. He did this out of love for us."

Child: “But, why couldn’t God just forgive our sins without Jesus having to die?”

Parent: "God is not only loving, but He is also just. A price had to be paid for our sins. Jesus paid that price on our behalf."

Child: “So, God sent His Son to die for us because He loves us?”

Parent: "Yes, my dear. God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life."

Child: “Wow, that’s a lot of love. But, I still don’t understand why Jesus had to die.”

Parent: "Jesus' death on the cross was the ultimate sacrifice. It was the only way to completely pay the price for all the sins of humanity. It was through His death and resurrection that we can have a full relationship with God."

Child: “So, God hasn’t turned His face from us?”

Parent: "No, my child. In fact, it is the exact opposite. God turned His face towards us by sending His Son to die for us. He made a way for us to be with Him forever."

Child: “I think I understand now? Jesus died so we could see the face of God?”

Parent: "Yes, my child. Let me explain. Do you remember the story of Adam and Eve and the creation, when they used to speak with God face to face in the Garden of Eden?

(Parent and child look out to see Adam and Eve walking into the church from the rear.)

(End of Scene 1)

Drama 2:10 mins


Scene 2: Garden of Eden

Characters: God, Adam, and Eve

(Adam, and Eve are walking in the garden - enter church from rear)

Children in the audience hold up flowers (distributed before service).

Adam: "Look at these flowers, Eve. Have you ever seen such vibrant colours?"

Eve: "And the animals, Adam. They're so gentle and friendly."

(God enters from stage door)

God: "Adam, Eve, behold the beauty of this world that I have created for you. Look around you, see the lush green trees, the vibrant flowers, the clear blue sky. Every creature, every plant, every stone, I have made so you can love and care for them."

Adam: "It's wonderful, God. We are grateful for your blessings."

Eve: "Yes, God. It's more beautiful than anything we could have ever imagined."

God: "I am pleased that you appreciate my creation. I have given you dominion over all these things. You are free to eat from all the trees in the garden, except for one."

Adam: "What do you mean? Why would there be a tree we cannot enjoy?"

God: "Because choices have consequences. Every choice leads to something new. The knowledge of good and evil seems like something to desire. But, it is not. For the day you sample its fruit, death comes into the world. Everything will change. You will no longer walk with me like we are now and you won’t see me face to face. "

Eve: “So which tree is this Tree that brings the Knowledge of Good and Evil?”

(God points to the cross)

Eve: “But, that tree is so beautiful!”

God: “To your eyes, perhaps. But to me, it is heartbreak. Please… (God’s voice breaks, teary) Please stay away from that tree - for me and for you!”

Eve: "We understand, God. We will not eat from that tree."

God: "I am glad you understand. Remember, my children, obedience is better than sacrifice. I have given you everything you could ever need. Let your hearts be filled with joy and love."

Adam: "We will remember, God. We will obey.”

Eve: “We are so grateful for your blessings."

God: "That's good, my children. Enjoy the beauty of this garden. Live in harmony with each other and with nature. Remember, I am always with you."

Adam and Eve: "Thank you.” 

Adam: “God, we will honour your command."

(God exits rear of church, Adam and Eve continue to explore the garden)

Eve: "Adam, let's promise to each other that we will never eat from that tree. We have so much here, we don't need that one thing."

Adam: "You're right, Eve. We have everything we could ever want right here. Let's enjoy this paradise God has given us."

SONG: What a Beautiful Name (CCLI #: 7068424)

Eve leads first verse.

Worship Leader asks the church to stand and sing.

(Adam and Eve exit)

(End of Scene 2)

Drama 2:50 mins

Song 4:15 mins


Scene 3a: Jacob and Esau

Characters: Parent and Child

(Parent and child sitting on bench.)

Parent: “Sadly, Adam and Eve didn’t keep their promise. They ate the fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (parent points to tree) and everything changed.”

Child: “That must’ve been terrible for Adam and Eve.” 

Parent: “Yes. And for God too.”

Child: “Could you imagine being able to walk with God, hearing His voice, and seeing Him face to face, and then losing it? Wow.”

Parent: “God did continue to speak with His people, like Noah when God told him to build an ark. Could you imagine building a floating zoo unless God actually spoke to you?”

Child: “No, probably not” (child gently laughs)

Parent: “But not only that, sometimes the face of God could still be seen, but just in different ways. Take the story of Jacob and Esau for example, after Jacob tricked their father into giving him his brother Esau’s blessing.”

Scene 3b: Jacob and Esau

Characters: Jacob, Esau, Joseph and family members 

(Jacob is pacing nervously. Esau enters.)

Jacob: “Esau, my brother, it’s been so long since we last met. I’ve missed you greatly.”

Esau: "Jacob, my brother, I too have missed you. Our past is behind us now."

Jacob: "I’ve been so worried about this meeting. I was afraid you would kill me for my foolishness all those years ago! The waves of animals I’ve been sending are gifts to you. I was hoping to appease you so you wouldn’t attack me with your army of 400 men."

Esau: "Jacob, I forgave you long ago. We were young and foolish then. It's time to let go of the past."

Jacob: "I’m relieved to hear that, Esau. I was so scared you'd reject my gifts and hold on to your anger."

Esau: "Jacob, you are my brother. Nothing can change that. I do not need your gifts to forgive you."

Jacob: "Please, Esau, if I have found favour in your sight, then accept my gifts. For I have seen your face, and it is like seeing the face of God, since you have forgiven me!”

Esau: "Jacob, your words touch me deeply. I will accept your gifts not because I need them, but because they come from your heart."

(Jacob’s family walks up behind him. Or use the audience as family!)

Esau: “Who are all these people?”

Jacob: “This is my family and our servants.” 

(Little boy Joseph walks up to Jacob who places his hand on the boys head, then shoulder.) 

Jacob: “Meet Joseph, my 11th and youngest - so far!” (looks down at boy) “Joseph, greet your uncle Esau.”

(Joseph steps forward and leans his head toward Esau. Esau places his hand on Joseph’s head.)

Esau: “Greetings, Joseph! You certainly are your father’s son!” 

(Joseph steps back to Jacob’s side.)

Esau: “Your family is my family, brother. You are welcome here!”

Jacob: "Thank you, Esau. Your forgiveness means more to me than you'll ever know."

Esau: "Let's forget the past, Jacob. We walk into the future as brothers."

(Jacob and Esau walk off, arm in arm. The family trails after them.)

(End of Scene 3)

Drama 3:00 mins


Scene 4a: Moses and God

Characters: Parent and Child

(Parent and child sitting on bench.)

Child: “Wow that’s pretty cool. Jacob recognised God’s face when he saw forgiveness in the face of his own brother.”

Parent: “Yes, God’s forgiveness always has a way of shining through.”

Child: “Still, I think I would prefer to be able to see God face to face.”

Parent: “Well you wouldn’t be the first person to have said that to God!”

Scene 4b: Moses and God

Characters: Moses, God (voiceover)

(Moses is on the top of Mount Sinai, looking out over the desert.)

Moses: "Lord, we have been journeying in this wilderness for years. The people are weary and their faith is wavering. They need a sign of your presence."

God: "Moses, my faithful servant, you have led my people out of Egypt and through the desert. I have never left you. I have guided you every step of the way."

Moses: "Yes, Lord, you have guided us. But the people need more. They need to feel your presence, to know you are with us."

God: “Moses, I make my presence known every day through the leadership of you and your brother Aaron.”

Moses: “Yes, Lord. It’s just, well… I’ll be honest. I feel as if I do not know you.”

God: “Know me? How can you not know me? I’ve been with you and speaking to you for years!”

Moses: “Well, I know Aaron as my brother and can remember his face, even now, while I’m away from him. And Miriam, my sister, I can remember her face. In truth, I can still remember my mother’s face from decades ago! But your face, Yahweh, I do not know.”

God: “You want to see my face? Do you know what you are asking?”

Moses: “Yes, Lord. As a friend knows the face of a friend, I want to know you. Please show me your face!” 

God: "I will reveal my glory to you, Moses. But, no man can see my face and live."

Moses: "I understand, Lord. I am humbled and grateful for this privilege."

God: “I will place you in a cleft of rock and cover you with my hand. Then I will pass by. As I leave, I will lift my hand and you will see my back.”

Moses: “I am ready, Lord.”

(A storm-like wind blows. God's presence descends on the mountain, enveloping Moses in a bright light. Moses covers his own face.)

God: (shouting in the wind) "Moses, I am the great 'I AM'. I am the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I have heard the cries of my people and I am with you."

(The wind quiets. Moses' hands slowly drop from his face.) 

Moses: "Lord, your presence is overwhelming. I felt your power and your glory. I still feel it!"

God: "All my goodness passed before you, Moses. I proclaimed my name: 'Yahweh.'”

Moses: “It was like a mighty wind!” 

God: “Moses, I will show mercy to whom I will show mercy and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion."

Moses: "Your mercy and compassion are greater than anything we could ever imagine, Lord. I will share your words with the people."

God: "Go now, Moses. Continue to lead my people. Remember, I am with you always."

Moses: "Yes Lord, I will serve you forever.”

(Moses walks out the rear of the church humming to himself:)

"Oh, Lord, You're beautiful

Your face is all I seek

For when Your eyes are on this child

Your grace abounds to me."

(End of Scene 4)

SONG: Oh Lord You’re Beautiful (CCLI #: 14514)

Worship Leader asks the church to remain seated and sing.

Drama 4:00 mins

Song 4:00 mins


Scene 5a: The Shepherds

Characters: Parent and Child

(Parent and child sitting on bench.)

Child: “Well I suppose if Moses was okay with not seeing the face of God, then I probably can be okay with it too.”

Parent: “Yes, but remember things changed when Jesus arrived!”

Scene 5b: The Shepherds

Characters: Angel of God, Angel Choir, 4x Shepherds, lots of sheep!

(Kids are given sheep ears upon entering church. Shepherds to be dispersed throughout the congregation prior to the scene commencing.)

(Shepherds stand up amongst the congregation, near the rear of the church, possibly standing on pew if required for extra height, shouting to distract the congregation while angels take their place on the right of stage.)

Shepherd 1: “Ezra?! Isaac?! Can you see any sheep?”

Shepherd 2: “Hey Joel, there are some sheep over here.”

Shepherd 1: “Great work Nathaniel, try to round them up over there.” (points to front of stage)

(Shepherd round up sheep to front of stage, sheep are encouraged by parent helper)

Shepherd 2: “Here sheepy sheepy sheepy. Here sheepy sheepy sheepy.”

Shepherd 3: “There are more sheep here too. These ones appear to be hiding amongst some scarecrows. Wow, these scarecrows look pretty lifelike too” (shepherd examines a parent up close).

Shepherd 4: “There’s some big sheep too, this one’s bigger than you Ezra!”

Shepherd 1: “C’mon boyz, we haven’t got all night. I want some sleep at some stage.”

Shepherd 2: “Well we would all still be sleeping if it wasn’t for that really loud noise frightening all the sheep. What do you think it was?”

Shepherd 1: “It was probably just thunder.”

Shepherd 4: “Maybe it was a very sick lion?”

Shepherd 3: (Says mysteriously) “Or maybe it was a tear in the space-time continuum and a superhero from another dimension has just entered into our world.”

(Other shepherds laugh)

Shepherd 1: “Isaac, I think you’ve been reading too many B.C. comics!”

(Suspenseful sound. Angel appears)

Angel: “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Shepherd 1: “The town of David, that’s Bethlehem. Quick, leave the sheep, let’s go boys!”

(Shepherds point to sheep, shrug their shoulders and leave them, leaving through the rear of the church)

SONG: Joy to the World / Joyful Joyful (CCLI #: 7128618)

Angel Leader asks the church to stand and sing. Angels lead singing enthusiastically.

SONG: Angels We Have Heard on High

Drama 2:10 mins

Song 4:30 mins

Song 3:30 mins


Scene 6a: Birth of Jesus

Characters: Mary, Joseph, Jesus, shepherds, wise men

(Shepherds enter from rear of church talking loudly and excitedly, to distract the congregation while Mary, Joseph and Jesus take their place on left of stage.)

Shepherd 4: “Are we there yet?”

Shepherd 1: “Yes I think so Ezra. I think it’s just over there. See where all those sheep are?”

Shepherd 2: “Seriously, what kind of lazy shepherd would leave so many sheep unattended?” (said with a guilty look)

Shepherd 3: “Nah, I think they must be the Saviour’s sheep (starts nodding head). 

(Shepherds start walking down the middle aisle of the church, pumping up the church).

Shepherd 3: “Our Saviour’s got heaps of lambs.”

Shepherds 1, 2, 4: “Our Saviour’s got heaps of lambs.”

Shepherd 3: “And they were white as snow”

Shepherds 1, 2, 4: “And they were white as snow”

Shepherd 3: “And everywhere our Saviour went”

Shepherds 1, 2, 4: “And everywhere our Saviour went”

Shepherd 3: “The lambs were sure to go”

Shepherds 1, 2, 4: “The lambs were sure to go”

Shepherd 3: “Hallelujah”

Shepherds 1, 2, 4: “Hey”

Shepherd 3: “Hallelujah”

Shepherds 1, 2, 4: “Ho”

Shepherd 3: “Hallelujah”

Shepherds 1, 2, 4: “Aha aha aha”

(Mary is holding baby Jesus, Joseph standing by her side.)

Joseph: “Welcome strangers. That was quite the entrance. Can we help you?”

Shepherd 1: "Yes we were in the fields looking after our sheep, and an Angel appeared and told us where to find you."

Shepherd 2: "The angels sang of joy and peace. They announced the birth of the Saviour."

Joseph: "Welcome, shepherds. Your journey has been difficult in the dark, but you are here, come now into the light. Come, see the child."

(The shepherds approach Mary and baby Jesus.)

Shepherd 1: "He is beautiful. Truly, a child of God." 

(Other shepherds murmur agreement, looking at the child)

(The wise men enter.)

Wise Man 1: "Greetings oh blessed ones. We are scholars from the far East and we have followed the bright star to this humble place."

Wise Man 2: "We bring gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh for the newborn King."

Joseph: "Thank you, scholars. Your gifts are very generous."

Mary: "Welcome, all. This child, my son, His name is Jesus."

Wise Man 1: "We have read the prophecies. We know this child is very special."

Wise Man 2: "He will be a great king, one who will bring peace, the Saviour of the world."

(wisemen turn to the audience)

Wise Man 1: “Please join with us and sing”

SONG: Away in a Manger / We Sing Hallelujah (CCLI #: 7161653)

Drama 2:00 mins

Song 5:50 mins


Scene 6b: Birth of Jesus

Characters: Mary, Joseph, Jesus, shepherds, wise men

Joseph: "Indeed, this is a night of great celebration. The Messiah that our people have longed for is finally born!"

Mary: "Yes, Joseph. He is the light of the world and through him, all shall know God's love and mercy. To think that as I stare into His beautiful little face, that I’m staring into the face of God."

Joseph: "Let us give thanks for this blessed night. For the birth of Jesus, the Savior of the world."

Mary: "Yes, let us give thanks. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life."

(All bow their heads in prayer.)

Drama 0:40 mins

Scene 7: The Cross 

Characters: Parent and Child

(Parent and Child sit on bench, looking at the cross.)

Child: “That is so awesome. God’s people had been longing to look upon the face of God again for so long, and then Mary is there, holding baby Jesus, staring into the face of God!”

Parent: “Yes, a face of forgiveness.”

Child: “Of course. Forgiveness, just like what Jacob saw in Esau’s face. So, it's only through the forgiveness of the cross that we see the true face of God?”

Parent: (Nods, smiling gently) “Yes, my child. You remember well. The cross shows us God's great love for us. He sent His only Son, Jesus, to die on the cross for our sins. And through that sacrifice, we can see the face of God – a face of love, mercy, and forgiveness.”

Child: (Pauses, thinking) "But, the cross... It looks so painful. How can something so painful show God's love?"

Parent: (Nods, understanding the child's confusion) "Indeed, the cross is a symbol of suffering. But it's also a symbol of love. It's through the greatest pain that the greatest love is shown. Jesus suffered and died on the cross so that we could be forgiven of our sins and have eternal life with God. That's how much God loves us."

Child: (Nods slowly, understanding dawning) "So, the cross is about love. It's about God's love for us."

Parent: “Yes, my dear. But remember, it doesn’t end there… We are to be the body of Christ in the world, His hands and feet. We should always ask, will people see the face of God when they see me today?”

Child: (Pauses, thinking deeply) "You mean... we should show God's love to others? Like how Jesus showed His love for us on the cross?"

Parent: (Smiles, nodding) "Exactly, my child. We are called to reflect God's love and forgiveness to the world. That's how they see the face of God. When we show kindness, when we forgive, when we help others... we are showing them God's love."

Child: "I think I understand now. We reflect God's love to people and they see the face of God. And that's how we can be like Jesus."

Parent: "Exactly, my child. And remember, it's not always easy. But God will always be with us, helping us, guiding us, loving us."

Child: “As we love others.”

(Child walks over to baby Jesus.)

SONG: Face of God / What A Beautiful Name (CCLI #: 7121311)

Drama 2:30 mins

Song 7:15 mins


Closing Prayer 

The Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you. May the Lord look on you with favour and give you peace.

Wednesday, December 06, 2023

Seen at Road to Bethlehem

Two stories from the Chaplaincy tent at Road to Bethlehem 2023 at Edinburgh College in Lilydale, Victoria, Australia.

Saturday, December 02, 2023

Jesus Journey - Mark 1:21-2:12

 Part 3 of our study of the book of Mark.
(Sorry about the sound on this one. It really failed! Turn on subtitles. It gets it right.) 

Mark 1:21-2:12 (CSB)

21 They went into Capernaum, and right away he entered the synagogue on the Sabbath and began to teach. 22 They were astonished at his teaching because he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not like the scribes.

23 Just then a man with an unclean spirit was in their synagogue. He cried out, 24 “What do you have to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!”

25 Jesus rebuked him saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” 26 And the unclean spirit threw him into convulsions, shouted with a loud voice, and came out of him.

27 They were all amazed, and so they began to ask each other, “What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.” 28 At once the news about him spread throughout the entire vicinity of Galilee.

Healings at Capernaum

29 As soon as they left the synagogue, they went into Simon and Andrew’s house with James and John. 30 Simon’s mother-in-law was lying in bed with a fever, and they told him about her at once. 31 So he went to her, took her by the hand, and raised her up. The fever left her, and she began to serve them.

32 When evening came, after the sun had set, they brought to him all those who were sick and demon-possessed. 33 The whole town was assembled at the door, 34 and he healed many who were sick with various diseases and drove out many demons. And he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him.

Preaching in Galilee

35 Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he got up, went out, and made his way to a deserted place; and there he was praying. 36 Simon and his companions searched for him, 37 and when they found him they said, “Everyone is looking for you.”

38 And he said to them, “Let’s go on to the neighboring villages so that I may preach there too. This is why I have come.”

A Man Cleansed

39 He went into all of Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons. 40 Then a man with leprosy came to him and, on his knees, begged him, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.” 41 Moved with compassion, Jesus reached out his hand and touched him. “I am willing,” he told him. “Be made clean.” 42 Immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean. 43 Then he sternly warned him and sent him away at once, 44 telling him, “See that you say nothing to anyone; but go and show yourself to the priest, and offer what Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.” 45 Yet he went out and began to proclaim it widely and to spread the news, with the result that Jesus could no longer enter a town openly. But he was out in deserted places, and they came to him from everywhere.

Chapter 2 

1 When he entered Capernaum again after some days, it was reported that he was at home. 2 So many people gathered together that there was no more room, not even in the doorway, and he was speaking the word to them. 3 They came to him bringing a paralytic, carried by four of them. 4 Since they were not able to bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and after digging through it, they lowered the mat on which the paralytic was lying. 5 Seeing their faith, Jesus told the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”

6 But some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts: 7 “Why does he speak like this? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”

8 Right away Jesus perceived in his spirit that they were thinking like this within themselves and said to them, “Why are you thinking these things in your hearts? 9 Which is easier: to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat, and walk’? 10 But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he told the paralytic— 11 “I tell you: get up, take your mat, and go home.”

12 Immediately he got up, took the mat, and went out in front of everyone. As a result, they were all astounded and gave glory to God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”

The Jesus Journey - Mark 1:14-20

 Part 2 of our study of the book of Mark.

Mark 1:14-20 (CSB)

14 After John was arrested, Jesus went to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God: 15 “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”

16 As he passed alongside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew, Simon’s brother, casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen. 17 “Follow me,” Jesus told them, “and I will make you fish for people.” 18 Immediately they left their nets and followed him. 19 Going on a little farther, he saw James the son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat putting their nets in order. 20 Immediately he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.

The Jesus Journey - Mark 1:1-13

 Part 1 of our study on the book of Mark.

Mark 1:1-13  (CSB)

1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. 2 As it is written in Isaiah the prophet:

See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you;

he will prepare your way.

3 A voice of one crying out in the wilderness:

Prepare the way for the Lord;

make his paths straight!

4 John came baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5 The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and they were baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins. 6 John wore a camel-hair garment with a leather belt around his waist and ate locusts and wild honey.

7 He proclaimed, “One who is more powerful than I am is coming after me. I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the strap of his sandals. 8 I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

9 In those days Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized in the Jordan by John. 10 As soon as he came up out of the water, he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. 11 And a voice came from heaven: “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well-pleased.”

12 Immediately the Spirit drove him into the wilderness. 13 He was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and the angels were serving him.

Dave Edgren ~ Story: Teller, Author, Trainer ~

BOOK DAVE NOW! Dave Edgren is passionate about creating a values-based storytelling culture. In his engaging and often hilarious way,...