Keep it in the family - by James Archer

 

 

 

(Cast: Jesus’ mother Mary; his brothers James and Jude.  James is discovered sitting at a table, reading.  Enter Mary with three cups of coffee on a tray and sits down.)

 

Mary    Have you seen Jesus recently, James?

James   Not this week, Mum, but his fame’s spreading far and wide.

Mary    It’s not natural, seeing so little of his family.  I hope he’s all right.  (Jude storms in)

Jude     Idiot!  Fool!

James   What is it this time, Jude?

Jude     (Slams the Daily Star down on the table)  Look!  “Demons worship Jesus!”  Headlines in the national press!  Pharisees up              in arms!  Disgrace to the family!  Crowds clinging to him!  Our brother’s gone start raving bonkers!

James   OK, OK.  Don’t blow your top!  Calm down and let us see what it says.  You read it, Mum.

Mary    (Fumbles with her glasses, then reads)  “A terrified crowd watched aghast last night as evil spirits fell down and                        worshipped Jesus-bar-Joseph, the controversial Rabbi from Nazareth.  Hundreds of chronically sick people had followed              him to the lakeside near Capernaum, spurred on by wild rumours that he could heal them.  But the trouble started when              he drove out some evil spirits, and they fell at his feet and worshipped him, and he accepted their worship as if it were              his due.”

Jude     (Interrupting)  And that’s my brother!

Mary    (Continuing)  “Rabbi Jesus is already at odds with the Pharisees for healing a man on the Sabbath.  In an exclusive                    interview with our Star reporter, Rabbi Levi of Capernaum was quick to condemn the action last night.  ‘At last Jesus has              shown his true colours,’ he said.  ‘He is possessed by the devil, who gives him the power to drive out demons.’”

Jude     See what I mean?  If we don’t do something about it, he’ll be locked up within weeks.  He’s far too big for his boots!

James   Yes, but he has always been a bit like that.  Forgiving sins, arguing with the Pharisees, pampering to a crowd of hero-                worshipping peasants, and now demons.  So it’s not so different after all.

Jude     If he’d got any sense at all, he’d keep his mouth shut, instead of trying to teach the priests what Moses meant.

Mary    (who has not really been listening to them, far too busy with her own thoughts)  And it’s not safe for him.  He nearly got              crushed by the crowd last week, and the Pharisees are out to get him.  Oh Jesus, be sensible!

Jude     It was bad enough when he started associating with tax collectors and beggars.  And those fishermen!  (does a dog                  impression)  “Anything you say, Master!”  Ugh!  They make me sick!

James   It’s too much to expect us to cope with the pressures he puts on us.  Why can’t he just behave like anyone else?

Mary    And marry a nice Jewish girl.  Thirty-three and still single – what must the neighbours think?

Jude     He’s gone mad, Mum.  The attention’s gone to his head.

Mary    Now stop it, Jude.  That’s enough.

Jude     But we’ve got to stop him for his own sake.

James   OK, OK.  We’ll ask him round to supper tonight – he can’t reasonably refuse, can he?  Once he’s away from the crowd,            we’ll reason with him and make him see sense.

Mary    At least we can try.

James   So it’s agreed.  I’ll go and get him.  (Exit)

Mary    Jude, sit down and drink your coffee.  It must be cold by now.  (Clearing up around him.  Jude bangs his mug on the                  table.)  All this stomping and slamming.  (Exit with tray.  Jude picks up paper and flicks through it.  Mary reappears from              the kitchen at the same time as James returns.)  Jesus, how nice ….. (Realises that he isn’t there) ….. oh – James, where is            he?

James   (Bitterly)  I couldn’t even get near him because of the crowds.  So I sent a message with one of his fishermen friends,                  inviting him to visit his family.  And all he said was ….. (stops, shakes his head) ….. was, “Who are my family?  My real            family are those who do the will of God.”  (Jude slams the paper on the table and storms out.  Mary turns away                        dejectedly, and James leads her out comfortingly.)

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