Revised Common Lectionary Years A,B,C

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For many years my husband Jim Sims and I, along with other contributors, offered a subscription website, www.childrenatworship.org. This was a seasonal resource (Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, etc.), offering members both multi-generational education opportunities and multi-generational story-telling resources, for every Sunday including Feast Days in the liturgical years A, B, and C. In the process of dismantling the website, we put these resources on CD. It’s possible to buy each year separately or all three years. Below is a sample, written by the Rev. Susan Bock.

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Although The Revised Common Lectionary recommends Matthew 1: 18- 25 as the Gospel appointed for this fourth Sunday of Advent, we would suggest the following story of Elizabeth and Mary in their respective pregnancies. This piece was written by The Rev. Susan Bock.

A Dramatic Reading for Advent

The presenters are not aware of each other and speak to the congregation tion It is most effective for the presenters to come in “on top of each other’s lines” so that the lines tumble and are sometimes concurrent. Their movements may be choreographed so that they move across the entire presentation area and finish facing each other. Our presenters ended by reaching toward each other and just barely touching each other’s hand.

It is important for Mary to be very anguished in contrast to Elizabeth’s elation.

Elizabeth: (Happily) They say you should be careful what you pray for!

Mary: (With obvious anguish) They say you should be careful what you pray for.

Elizabeth: For years we have prayed for a child, Zechariah and me.

Mary: For years, I have prayed for the deliverance of Israel. But I didn’t mean like this!

Elizabeth: I can’t be having a baby!

Mary: I’m hardly more than a baby myself, but this much I know: a girl can’t get pregnant without the help of a man.

Elizabeth: But here I am (touching the roundness of her belly) as certainly pregnant as anyone could be!

Mary: But here I am, pregnant! What will people think?

Elizabeth: I know what they’ll think. “Elizabeth?! We thought she was too old!”

Mary: And the terrible things they’ll call me…

Elizabeth: Long have they called me barren! But God has remembered me and lifted my shame. *The angel said – was there really an angel?

 

Mary: *The angel said – was there really an angel? (These two lines – Elizabeth’s and Mary’s identical lines – could be synchronized)

Elizabeth: Gabriel was his name, and he said this child will be filled with God’s Spirit, even in my womb. He certainly is lively in there, and he’s filled me with such life. And hope. Hope for us all. (Pause) His name will be John.

Mary: His name will be Jesus.

Elizabeth: He will be great, and will prepare the way for the Messiah!

Mary: He will be great, and save our people from their sins. But who will save me from the wrath of the rabbis?!

Elizabeth: (In an uplifted, heaven-looking posture) I’ve always said, Lord, there’s nothing you can’t do!

Mary: (In a more prayerful, thoughtful posture) I’ve always said there’s nothing you can’t do. So, please, Lord, help me now.

Elizabeth: I have to talk to someone!

Mary: What am I going to do? Who can I tell?

Elizabeth: He never was much of a talked, my Zechariah. But now he’s speechless. Claims he can’t talk. The angel made him mute. Likely story!

Mary: I must go and see my cousin. Only, please, Elizabeth, don’t condemn me!

Elizabeth: Mary! I could talk to her. She’s young and hasn’t waited so long! She probably believes in angels! Only, please, Mary, don’t laugh. But I want to laugh!

Mary: (Just a bit more hopeful) Yes, I can talk to her.

Elizabeth: And shout, and sing. I’d dance if I could!

These lines need to topple over each other.

Mary: Please, Elizabeth…

Elizabeth: Please, Mary…

Mary: I’m so afraid…

Elizabeth: Don’t laugh.

Mary: Don’t condemn me.

Elizabeth: And come soon!

Mary: Please.

Elizabeth: Please.

 

The Magnificat may be read or sung here. There is a lovely version in Songs & Prayers from Taize, GIA Publications Inc., Chicago.