Last night, at the Wednedsay Evening Lenten service, a child of the congregation and I performed a dialogue/skit that I wrote about the boy who shared the loaves and fish (John 6:1-14). Here is the script. Like everything on this blog, it is licensed under a Creative Commons license. This means that you can use it for any purpose besides to sell it, as long as you credit me and link back to this blog.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
The Boy Who Shared His Lunch
Jacob enters, carrying a basket
Salomé: Ah, Jacob, my son, there you are! It’s getting late, I was wondering when your cousins were going to bring you home—how was your day?
Jacob: It was wonderful, mother! I had so much fun—it was a lot nicer than spending all day mending and cleaning fish nets!
Salomé: I know, but the taxes on fishing are so high—everyone in our family must work. There is no time for play, if we are to feed ourselves and meet our obligations. Soon, you too will be out with your father and uncles and cousins, fishing, while your younger brothers mend the nets. You should be grateful we could spare you for a day to go do something fun!
Jacob: I know, and thank you! It was wonderful! Such a beautiful day. We walked for miles, and the sun was shining and I’ve never been so far from home! I don’t think Matthew and Jonah had ever been that far, either—we got lost. But there were so many other people going to see the teacher, we could follow them, and so we got there in the end.
Salomé: I know this traveling preacher is a popular fellow, but times are hard—so many people are losing their land and becoming tenant farmers these days, I’m surprised anyone could spare the time to go and listen. How many were there?
Jacob: Lots! If they were all fish, it would be more than our whole family could catch in a week! There were all kinds of people. I saw some people dressed in finer robes than I’ve ever seen, and others dressed in rags. And people in between—I saw fishermen, farmers, day laborers, craftsmen. I didn’t know that many people lived in all of Judea.
Salomé: This teacher must be something special, then. What was his name again? Where is he from?
Jacob: His name is Jesus, and he’s from a town called Nazareth. I think his family are craftsmen, but most of his followers are fishermen.
Salomé: I know—it was such a scandal when Zebedee bar-Jonathan’s son’s left their family to follow that preacher. Of course, all parents dream of their children being pious and learning the Scriptures, so it was an honor that they were chosen … but they left in such a hurry! And they were two of their family’s hardest workers. Without their help, their family almost couldn’t pay for their fishing license!
Jacob: I can see why they followed him, though—when he talks, it sounds like he’s talking right to you, even if you’re on the edges of a big crowd! There were a lot of people who were sick or had demons, there, and he healed them all! One woman fell down in fits, and shook a lot, and Jesus spoke to her and she stopped. Then there was a blind man, and Jesus touched him and he could see!
Salomé: Well, that’s worth travelling all day for, I must say. But you and your cousins weren’t sick.
Jacob: Oh, but it was wonderful to see. And he talked. I didn’t understand everything he said, but I would have listened to him forever. He talked about treating people with respect and honor, and following God’s commands, and being generous instead of stingy, and caring for all people, even those who aren’t part of your family. He said we should love everybody, because we’re all God’s children.
Salomé: Very true! The world would be a better place if more people thought like he did.Was there anything else? Did he talk about Rome? Did he talk about King Herod? He’s one of us, he knows how hard times are. Why, with the taxes on fishing, we barely make enough to feed and clothe ourselves, slaving away all day every day except the Sabbath. The tax collectors cheat us and live in mansions while we can barely keep a roof over our heads, and the soldiers mock us and beat us, and our own king spends more time bowing to Rome than to God. If this Jesus is a man of God who can work miracles, surely he can throw out the Romans! If he can gather crowds like that, he should be able to raise an army, too. I heard people talking in the marketplace that he’s the messiah, King David’s heir come to restore the kingdom of Israel.
Jacob: He didn’t say anything about that. I know my cousins were disappointed. But I liked listening to him anyway.
Salomé. Well, maybe he’ll start talking about rebellion later. I’m glad you had such a good day—there’s still some light left, you can do your chores.
Jacob: I have a present for you, mother!
Salomé: What is it?
Jacob hands her his basket
Jacob: Bread! So you won’t have to bake tomorrow.
Salomé: Jacob! There is so much bread here—where did you get it?
Jacob: From Jesus! There were so many people in the crowd who had no money, and no food. Thank you for packing us such a nice lunch, it made me sad to see all the people there who didn’t have anything. My cousins made me carry our food, all five loaves of bread and two fish.
Salomé: They did, did they? Three men and one boy, and they make the boy do the work? I’ll have to talk to their mother!
Jacob: I don’t mind, because it worked out for the best! Jesus was sorry for all the people with no food, so he sent his disciples over to ask me if I would share. They weren’t very nice about it; I don’t think they wanted to have to ask a kid for a favor. But I said yes, because Jesus had just been talking about being generous, and I knew I would have food here when I got home if I was hungry. My cousins didn’t like it, but I was the one who had carried the food, and so I thought it only fair that I get to decide. And Jesus thanked me!
Salomé: An important man like that, bothering to notice a child? And thanking him, no less? This Jesus is certainly unusual.
Jacob: I don’t think Jesus cares about who is rich and powerful and who is not—I think he only cares about who needs him. And the hungry people sure needed him! Jesus took the bread and the fish—all five loaves and two fish—and blessed them, and told his followers to pass them around for everyone to share. And he told everyone to take as much as they could eat, but not to hoard it to take home, because he wanted everyone to be fed. And they did! And when everyone had eaten, there were twelve baskets full of leftover pieces of bread! They gave me one of them to take home to you as a thank you for giving the original loaves and fish.
Salomé: He fed the whole crowd with just the lunch I packed for you and your cousins? That is truly a sign and a wonder! Did anyone else bring food from home that they shared?
Jacob: I didn’t see any, but I suppose it’s possible. I bet those rich people had food with them. And a lot of the craftspeople and farmers and fishers probably brought lunch, too. But that still wouldn’t be enough to fill all twelve baskets of leftovers!
Salomé: No, it wouldn’t. Well, no matter how much food he started with, it was certainly a miracle. Not just the bread and fish being enough for the whole crowd, but that people shared—with times so hard, people look out for their own family first and anyone else a distant second. You would think they would eat their fill and keep the rest for their families.
Jacob: But they didn’t, everyone shared with everyone else! Just like Jesus asked them to.
Salomé: That was a miracle! And you were the first to share, Jacob. Because you were generous, you participated in one of God’s miracles! You helped people who were poor and hungry. I’m so proud of you!
Salomé hugs Jacob
Jacob: Does that mean I don’t have to do my chores tonight?
Salomé: Sorry. There’s still a lot of work to do, and everyone must help.