Reading and Heeding the signs of the Times
Note: The “king” or “magi” or “wise one” may be named as appropriate for the congregation. The part may be played by either a woman or a man. The “minister” might be any worship leader.
Minister: …This week of Epiphany the story continues in Matthew’s account, with the Wise Ones from the East seeing a sign in the sky, a …star. And they heed the sign, thinking it divine, and follow where it leads. Let us join our roving reporter in Palestine and find out more.
Reporter: I am Ms Foresight with the BBC,
that’s the Bible Broadcasting Corporation, reporting to you from Palestine.
A new heavenly body has been seen
moving in the skies above us.
Person 1: [Wander onto the scene.]
Reporter: Sir! Sir, what do you think of the new heavenly body recently seen?
Person 1: Heavenly body, are you talking about that star, Leona Lewis? She is heavenly, and has a voice to die for! Born right here in London, too, she is!
Reporter: Leona Lewis? No! And we are not in London! We are in Palestine.
Person 1: Oh, yeah, right, Palestine. Ummm, what heavenly body are you talking about?
Reporter: (Point up to the star on the tree.)
I am talking about that star or comet that’s appeared above our land. What do you think of it?
Person 1: Oh, yeah, right. Now that you mention it, I have seen it. It has been kind of moving around in the sky, hasn’t it?
Reporter: Yes. Well… what do you think?
Person 1: Hmmm… I don’t know, I mean… it is what it is.
I gotta go. Nice talking to you. (Exits off stage).
Reporter: (To the congregation)
Obviously that new star does not mean much to him. [Look into the distance]
Ah, here’s a caravan coming from the East with three very distinguished looking travellers in the lead. Who do you reckon they are?
The three kings, the Magi perhaps! We shall see.
Sirs! Sirs, who are you?
Where do you come from, and what do you think of the new heavenly body recently seen?
King: We are the Magi, the wise ones.
We come from the east,
the lands of Babylon and Persia.
Reporter: [The reporter aside to the congregation]
Babylon and Persia?
Aren’t those the lands of Iraq and Iran, today?
What good things can we expect from those places? Trouble! Terrorism! Foreigners coming to our land trying to take our jobs! This man doesn’t seem so bad, but I had better watch myself with these strangers. [Speak to the King]
What do you think of the new heavenly body recently seen?
King: Yes, a new star in the sky, could this not be a sign from God?
Reporter: A sign from God… meaning what?
King: Well, for different cultures a new star means different things. In our land, a new star should be noticed, should be heeded. My colleagues and I,
we come to investigate.
Reporter: What does a new star mean in your land?
King: In our lands of Persia and Babylon,
a new star means a royal birth.
When this bright star appeared,
we came as fast as we could.
Along our way here, we stopped in Jerusalem.
But, we found a king already there.
An old man, and not a very nice one.
(Say to the congregation)
And his name is, King… HEROD.
And King Herod has sons who aspire and desire his throne.
Reporter: So, you say that this new star is NOT for Herod or any of his sons, for no one in his royal family?
King: (Nod head and say). That would be correct!
Reporter: If the new star resting above that quiet, little village of… Bethlehem… is not for King Herod and his sons, who of royal birth is it for, and what does it mean?
King: For us, it means a new King born today.
A gift from God to Israel, and all the world,
a ruler who will be a good shepherd to everyone.
Players pause and then sit in the front pew.