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A short history of time: Act 3 - by James Archer

An evening of sketches presenting the gospel from Genesis to Revelation

See separate pages for Act 1 and Act 2.                   Summary


Act Three


Dance with Colours by Ruth Green


The Newcomer, by [             ] from Red Letter Days, published by Kingsway Publications


The Case of the Missing Corpse by Lance Pierson, from Drama for All the Family, published by Kingsway Publications


A Farewell Present, by Colin Mengell, from Drama for All the Family, published by Kingsway Publications


Getting our Acts Together


Born Free


Song – The Man of Galilee, by Linda Rich, from Fresh Sounds


One for Me and None for You, by Paul Burbridge and Murray Watts, from Time to Act, published by Hodder & Stoughton


The Claims of Christ, by [                     ], from Drama for All the Family, published by Kingsway Publications


Conclusion, including an extract from Messiah by Georg Handel



Dance with colours

(This is a dance which illustrates the crucifixion and resurrection with the aid of three coloured pieces of satin: a white one representing God, a black one representing Satan, and a red one representing the blood of Jesus.  In it the single dancer includes mime of the action and of the symbolic action.  The significance of the three colours needs to be explained to the audience, ideally by way of the programme which they will have had a chance to look at in the interval.)


(At the end of the dance, Gabriel enters and speaks to the audience)


You can imagine that these events caught all sorts of people by surprise.  Let’s eavesdrop on what happened at the gates of heaven.


(He winks at the audience conspiratorially as he ascends to his eyrie.)


The Newcomer

(From Red Letter Days by [    ], published by Hodder Christian Paperbacks.  The part of Cumulus has been taken by Herion from Angel Space earlier in the evening)


This is set at the gates of heaven on the evening of the first Good Friday.  Herion (from Angel Space earlier in the evening) is on sentry duty with his Commander.  They speculate about who the first person allowed in will be, and are shocked when it is a murderer come from his cross.


[Text of drama]


At the end of the sketch, Gabriel announces from his eyrie to the audience:


Gabriel                        Meanwhile, down on earth ………………………


Sherlock Holmes Investigates:  The Case of the Missing Corpse


Holmes and Watson investigate the disappearance of the body of Jesus and after exhausting all other explanations conclude that the body has vaporised.


[Text of drama]


(They look round, then freeze and exit, looking round as they go. No link is needed to the next sketch, The Farewell Present.)


The Farewell Present


Three of Jesus’ disciples walking back to Jerusalem after the Ascension, confused and trying to make sense of the promise Jesus has left them of the Holy Spirit.


[Text of drama]


(Gabriel comes down from his eyrie onto stage to continue the story.  He could read all of Getting Your Acts Together or he could share it with other readers)


Getting our Acts Together

(This consists of a series of extracts from the first eight chapters of The Acts of the Apostles, to be read so as to give a flavour of the early church.) 


After Jesus' ascension into heaven, the disciples returned to Jersualem.  When they arrived, they went upstairs to the room where they were staying.  They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus and his brothers.

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.  Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.  They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.  All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd.  With many words he warned them and pleaded with them. Those who accepted his message were baptised, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.

They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.  Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles.  All the believers were together and had everything in common.  Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.  Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts.  They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favour of all the people.  And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.  Many who heard the message believed, and the number of men grew to about five thousand.

Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them.  When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God.   After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken.  And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.

All the believers were one in heart and mind.  No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had.  With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all.  There were no needy persons among them, for from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need.

The apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders among the people.  All the believers used to meet together in Solomon's Colonnade, and more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number.

So the word of God spread.  The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.  Then a great persecution broke out against the whole church at Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria.  Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went.  And the word of God continued to spread.

 (As other readers disappear, Gabriel links in to Born Free)


But not everyone received their message ……………………..


Born Free

(This is a stylised poem from three different characters, an anarchist, a bore and Jesus.  It is suggested that all three are on stage together, with Jesus in the middle, almost reminiscent of the crucifixion where he has a criminal on either side, each hurling abuse at him.  There is little movement in this, but what there is needs to be in character.)



Hey, man!  I’m me!

I was born to be free!

Free to love and free to hate,

Free to spoil and free to create,

Free to live and free to kill,

Free to do whatever I will,

Free to give and free to take,

Free to mend and free to break,

Free to work and free to laze,

Free to choose what to do with my days.

So leave me be!  I don’t want to know

Your rules that prick my conscience so;

They tie me down – I was born to be free.

I’ll run my life, so just let me be me!



Hello there.  I’m me.

I was born to be free;

Free to set my rules for life,

To love my children and my wife,

To care for my parents as they get old,

And go to church, where I suffer the cold.

I set off for work at half eight every day,

Back at ten in the evening – no time left for play.

Some think my life boring; I call it secure,

For I never do anything not done before.

So let me be;  I don’t want to know

What I’m meant to be doing.  Don’t call me to go;

I’ve no sense of adventure.  I was born to be free.

I’ll run my life, so just let me be me.



Peace be with you!  I am he

Who was born to set you free!

I love you so much that I suffered and died

To have you in paradise right by my side.

Will you love me, obey and trust me to be

Lord of everything, anything?  Come, follow me!

When I give you commands, they’re designed for the best,

To give you fulfilment, enjoyment and rest.

I’m not just a spoilsport; I want you to be

Free to be you to the fullest degree.

So come with me!  I want you to know

What I fashioned you for; I command you to go

To the world with my love, which will set people free!

I’ll run your life, if you’ll let me be me.


(At the end of the poem, with no introduction except possibly musically, a solo singer or group respond to Jesus’ offer in the final verse by starting to sing The Man of Galilee as found in Fresh Sounds.)


The Man of Galilee

They say that I’m a dreamer, blind and cannot see

That life consists of living only to earn money.

But you know who I am, Lord, you’ll always care for me.

I only want to be like the Man of Galilee.


I want to walk like, I want to talk like,

I want to be like the Man of Galilee.

I want to see like, I want to feel like,

I want to be like the Man of Galilee.


They say that I’m an idealist, blind and cannot see

That the principles I cling to can’t stand reality.

But I know who you are, Lord, you’ll always care for me.

I only want to be like the Man of Galilee.


I want to walk like, I want to talk like,

I want to be like the Man of Galilee.

I want to see like, I want to feel like,

I want to be like the Man of Galilee.


(Exeunt singers.  There is no need for a link to the next sketch, One for Me and None for You.)


One for me and none for you


This is a mime of Dives and Lazarus overlaid by a chanted poem starting “one for me and none for you”, followed by a husband and wife in modern times acting much like Dives.


[Text of drama]


 (Gabriel comes down from his eyrie and reads from a newspaper the opening paragraph of The Claims of Christ.)



The Claims of Christ


This is set in a solicitors’ office where they have to work out how to identify which if any of the claimants to a legacy left for Jesus on his return is genuine.


[Text of drama]


(No link is needed to Conclusion.)



(Enter a group of angels including Gabriel, the Commander and Herion, dressed in white, and form a circle around an imaginary throne in heaven, before which they continually bow down. The angels say, together or in a stylised format:)


Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come.

You are worthy, o Lord our God, to receive glory and honour and praise,

for you created all things. 

Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honour and glory and praise. 

To Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honour and glory and power for ever and ever.  Amen! 

Hallelujah!  Amen!  Hallelujah!  Amen!


(As they are finishing their words, the music swells up with the introduction to the Hallelujah chorus from Handel’s Messiah.  All the angels join in as they sing the whole chorus together.)




See separate pages for Act 1 and Act 2.                   Summary

Editable and printable version

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