Twenty-first Sunday of Pentecost, Year B
A modern adaptation by Tod & Ana Gobledale, UK
PREPARATION: Keys and wallet placed about for Rich Man to find.
- Rich Man (starts at front with hand-held microphone)
- Jesus: starts at back with lapel microphone
- A Disciple: sitting near back (or up by podium to use that microphone)
I hear that Jesus is passing through on his way to Jerusalem. I really want to ask him this burning question that is on my mind.
But, first things first. The house and all my belongings need to be made secure. Where’s my key ring?
Here it is. – Don’t you love it—all these keys! Not everybody has a key ring full of keys like this!
Let me quickly make the rounds: a key for my alarm system, one for my safe box, a password on my sound system and computer, a key for the pool shed, garage, tennis pavilion, side gate, front automated gate, back door, front door, sliding doors, laundry door. There. Done!
Oops! Not yet! I forgot my wallet. Actually, sometimes I leave it at home on purpose when I go to these things, just in case they ask for money. Funny, I would not leave home without it if I were heading out to shop or eat out. Anyway, here it is.
JESUS: Start walking up side aisle.
Hey, there’s Jesus now. Boy, the people with him look pretty scruffy. I better secure my wallet so nobody takes my wad. [Put wallet away in a pocket.]
[Cry out!] Good teacher, what must I do to enter into God’s fullness, to inherit eternal life?
JESUS: [Stop and look toward Rich Man.]
Why would you call me good? Only God is good. And you know the commandments, do not murder or commit adultery. Do not steal or be untruthful. Do not defraud anyone and always honour your parents.
Great! Teacher, all these things I have done since my youth. No worries there. [puff up with pride!] I am about as upright as they come!
RICH MAN [ aside to congregation]:
Jesus is being curiously quiet, don’t you think? Maybe he sees right through me. But look, his look towards me appears so loving and accepting, like he really cares.
Friend, for all you have achieved, you lack one very important thing. You are too deeply attached to what you possess. Go, sell your many belongings. Give the proceeds to the poor. Then come, follow me on my way. Then you will experience the fullness of God. Then you will inherit eternal life.
RICH MAN: [aside to congregation/not to Jesus]:
You have got to be kidding! Is this a joke? He can’t be serious. That would be crazy to sell everything and give the money away. Shocking! I could never do that. I just couldn’t. And I thought he loved me.
[Rattle the bundle of keys in pocket and hurry off, down center aisle and out sanctuary doors. Give mike to disciple who will speak soon.]
JESUS: [As Rich Man walks out]
How hard it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God! My dear disciples, you look perplexed. It is easier for a camel or a cougar to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.
A DISCIPLE [seated in the crowd—stand up; or speak from pulpit]:
Then who can be saved?
For mortals it is impossible, but not for God. For God all things are possible.
DISCIPLE: Look, Jesus, we have left everything and followed you.
Truly I tell you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or jobs, for my sake and for the sake of the good news, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this age—houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and land and meaningful work, with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.”