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ELEMENTS OF SALVATION – written by Tanis Harms
TOPIC:       salvation, baptism, communion
style:       an Easter program with scripture readings,
.            narrations, dramatic vignettes, and songs
.             (suggested songs for soloists, choir or
.              congregation, can be switched for others)
.            This program also includes spots for
.            testimonies, baptism, communion, invitation.
SCRIPTURE:   Jn.1:1-5,12-14; Matt.3:13-17; Jn.6:32-35,51;
.            1Cor.11:24-26; Rom.5:8-9; 1 Peter 1:3-5;
.            Jn.3:16; Rom.10:12-13
Cast:        NARRATOR and/or PASTOR, SCRIPTURE READER,
.            SIMEON (older priest), MARY (young woman),
.            JOSEPH (young man), JOHN THE BAPTIST (30ish),
.            PHARISEES 2, ROMAN SOLDIERS 2
Set & Props: Bible time costumes, swaddled baby doll

.             $15.00 USD to receive a DIRECTOR’S SCRIPT
.                                    (plus sheet music)
.             
how you receive this & package description

SCRIPT:

SONG 1:   “GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD” by John Stainer

READER 1  (John 1:1-5,12-14)
.         “In the beginning was the Word,
.         and the Word was with God,
.         and the Word was God.
.         He was in the beginning with God.
.         All things came into being through Him,
.         and apart from Him nothing came into being
.         that has come into being.
.         In Him was life, and the life
.         was the Light of men.
.         The Light shines in the darkness,
.         and the darkness did not comprehend it...
.         But as many as received Him, to them He gave
.         the right to become children of God,
.         even to those who believe in His name,
.         who were born, not of blood
.         nor of the will of the flesh
.         nor of the will of man, but of God.
.         And the Word became flesh,
.         and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory,
.         glory as of the only begotten from the Father,
.         full of grace and truth.”
.                                                       2
(VIGNETTE 1:  SIMEON steps out as JOSEPH & MARY approach,
carrying the swaddled baby.  SIMEON is attentive.)

JOSEPH    You are Simeon, the priest?

SIMEON    I am.  (sees baby’s face & smiles with joy)
.         This is Him.

JOSEPH    We named Him, Jesus, as we were told.
.         We are now here to present Him to the Lord.

SIMEON    (to Joseph)  You had Him circumcised
.         after the eight days?

JOSEPH    Yes.

SIMEON    (to Mary)  And you completed
.         the appropriate days of purification
.         according to the law of Moses?

MARY      Yes.

JOSEPH    And we just made the sacrifice offering
.         according to the Law of the Lord,
.         although we could not afford a lamb.  
.         It was a pair of turtledoves.

SIMEON    It is acceptable.  (motions to the baby)
.         God – has provided the Lamb.
.         (takes baby gently in his arms with great awe)
.         God promised me that I would not see death
.         until I had seen the Lord's Christ.
.         Bless the Lord!  (kisses baby’s forehead)
.          (continues in prayerful tones)
.         Now Lord, let your servant die in peace,
.         as You have promised.  I have seen
.         Your salvation, which You have prepared
.         for all people.  He is a light to reveal God
.         to the nations, and He is the glory
.         of your people Israel!

(JOSEPH and MARY wonder at these words.
While, in the background, two PHARISEES enter.
PHARISEES stand to watch silently and suspiciously.
SIMEON now looks up to address MARY.)

SIMEON    This child is destined to cause many in Israel
.         to fall, but he will be a joy to many others.
.         He has been sent as a sign from God –
.                                                       3
(SIMEON glances back at PHARISEES, then back to MARY.)

SIMEON    But many will oppose Him.  As a result,
.         the deepest thoughts of many hearts
.         will be revealed.  And a sword will pierce
.         even your very soul.

(MARY puts up a concerned hand to her mouth.
JOSEPH puts a comforting arm around her shoulders.)

NAR. 1    Jesus was 100 percent man and 100 percent God.
.         He was our shining Light.  He was our
.         perfect example.  And leading by example
.         in our NEED for salvation,
.         Jesus WAS and IS – our salvation.
.         Jesus’s birth can be seen as a symbol
.         of a spiritual birth.  Jesus has ALWAYS been,
.         and coming from the glories of heaven,
.         He humbled Himself to be “born again” –
.         as a baby here on this earth, to take our place
.         in order to pay for our sins.
.         So, when we realize that we are sinners,
.         and humble ourselves to ask Jesus to forgive
.         our sins, we are then spiritually reborn,
.         becoming children of God, and obtaining
.         eternal life with God our Father
.         through Jesus Christ.
.         This is our salvation.

A PLACE TO HAVE TESTIMONIES (can be live or pre-recorded)

SONG 2:   “TELL ME THE STORY OF JESUS”
.           by Fanny J. Crosby, John R. Sweney

READER 2  (Matthew 3:13-17)
.         “Jesus arrived from Galilee at the Jordan
.         coming to John, to be baptized by him.
.         But John tried to prevent Him, saying,
.         ‘I have need to be baptized by You, and do You
.         come to me?’  But Jesus answering said to him,
.         ‘Permit it at this time; for in this way it is
.         fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.’
.         Then he permitted Him.  After being baptized,
.         Jesus came up immediately from the water; and
.         behold, the heavens were opened, as a dove
.         and he saw the Spirit of God descending and
.         lighting on Him, and behold, a voice out of
.         the heavens said, ‘This is My beloved Son,
.         in whom I am well-pleased.’"
.                                                       4
(VIGNETTE 2: JOHN THE BAPTIST walks out
and PHARISEES sternly approach him.

P 1       What just happened?!  Who are you?

JOHN      I am not the Christ.

P 2       What then?  Are you Elijah?

JOHN      I am not.

P 2       Are you the Prophet?

JOHN      No.

P 1       Who are you, so that we may give an answer
.         to those who sent us?  What do you say
.         about yourself?

JOHN      I am A VOICE OF ONE CRYING IN THE WILDERNESS,
.         “MAKE STRAIGHT THE WAY OF THE LORD,”
.         as Isaiah the prophet said.

P 1       Why then are you baptizing, if you are not
.         the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?

JOHN      I baptize in water, but among you stands One
.         whom you do not know.  It is He who comes
.         after me, I am not worthy to untie His sandal.
.         This was He of whom I said, “He who comes
.         AFTER me has a higher rank than I, for He
.         existed BEFORE me.”

P 2       So you are saying that the Man -
.         whom you just baptized - is the Christ?

JOHN      I saw the Spirit descending as a dove out
.         of heaven, and He remained upon Him.  This is
.         the One who baptizes in the Holy Spirit.
.         I myself have seen, and have testified that
.         this is the Son of God, the Lamb of God
.         who takes away the sin of the world!

(JOHN exits.  PHARISEES turn to each other.)

P 1       This is a very bold statement.

P 2       Indeed.  We must report back so we
.         may consider how to stop this madness.
.                                                       5
NAR. 2    John the Baptist - baptized only with water.
.         This does not provide anyone with salvation.
.         This is symbolic, and
.         a public testimony of one’s salvation,
.         so it should only be done
.         if one has made the decision to become
.         a born-again Christian.
.         It is symbolic that in our salvation,
.         we have been buried with Christ
.         and have risen again.  In salvation,
.         our sins have been washed away,
.         and we are made new in Christ.
.         As Jesus WAS and IS our salvation;  
.         Jesus, our example, made the public testimony
.         of being baptized in water before
.         He began His public ministry –
.         it was an act of obedience to God,
.         His Heavenly Father.

A PLACE TO HAVE BAPTISM

SONG 3:   “COME HOLY SPIRIT, DOVE DIVINE”
.           by Adoniram Judson & H.Percy Smith

READER 3  (John 6:32-35,51)
.         “Jesus then said to them,
.         ‘Truly, truly, I say to you,
.         it is not Moses who has given you
.         the bread out of heaven,
.         but it is My Father who gives you
.         the true bread out of heaven.
.         For the bread of God
.         is that which comes down out of heaven,
.         and gives life to the world.’
.         Then they said to Him,
.         ‘Lord, always give us this bread.’
.         Jesus said to them,
.         ‘I am the bread of life;
.         he who comes to Me will not hunger,
.         and he who believes in Me
.         will never thirst’...
.         ‘I am the living bread
.         that came down out of heaven;
.         if anyone eats of this bread,
.         he will live forever;
.         and the bread also
.         which I will give
.         for the life of the world
.         is My flesh.’”
.                                                   6
(VIGNETTE 3:  PHARISEES step out.)

P 1       Finally, we will be rid of this Man, Jesus,
.         once-and-for-all.  He has been usurping
.         our authority for far too long.

P 2       Do you think we will gain back the favor
.         of the people?

P 1       You saw the crowds when Pontius Pilate
.         gave them the choice to release Jesus
.         or Barabbas - the notorious criminal.
.         It was all too easy to stir up the people.

P 2       It is amazing how quickly they turned
.         against Him.

P 1       Well, now that Jesus is hanging on a cross,
.         after all His beatings and 40 lashes,
.         one can barely recognize Him.

P 2       I thought the crown of thorns was a nice touch.

P 1       Yes-yes, I’m sure He is in pain
.         from head to toe.  But, let us go
.         see this to the end, shall we.

(PHARISEES exit.)

NAR, 3    On the first day of Unleavened Bread,
.         when the Passover lamb was to be sacrificed,
.         Jesus became the spotless sacrificial Lamb,
.         in order to take our place in death,
.         and die for all sins, once-for-all.
.         Jesus told us to practice communion as a way
.         to remember what He did for us on the cross.
.         The bread is symbolic of His flesh that was
.         broken for us.  It should only be taken
.         if one has made the decision to become
.         a born-again Christian.  We welcome anyone
.         who already is a child of God to join us.

READER 4  (1 Corinthians 11:26)  “For as often
.         as you eat this bread and drink the cup,
.         you proclaim the Lord's death until He comes.”

PASTOR    We will pass around the bread.  
.         Once all the plates have been passed around,
.         we will partake together.  

(Have SONG/S until bread has been passed around.)     7

SONG 4:   “BREAK THOU THE BREAD OF LIFE”
.            by Mary Z. Lathbury, William F. Sherwin

PASTOR    (1 Corinthians 11:24)
.         “And when He had given thanks, He broke it
.         and said, ‘This is My body, which is for you;
.         do this in remembrance of Me.’"

(ALL partake of the bread.)

READER 4b (Romans 5:8-9)
.         “But God demonstrates His own love toward us,
.         in that while we were yet sinners,
.         Christ died for us.  Much more then,
.         having now been justified by His blood,
.         we shall be saved from the wrath of God
.         through Him.”

(VIGNETTE 4:  SOLDIERS enter, followed by PHARISEES.)

P 1       Excuse me.  Are you sure He is dead?

S 1       We are.

P 2       Because, I don’t know if you realize,
.         this is the Jewish day of preparation.
.         We cannot have any dead bodies remain
.         on a cross - on the Sabbath.

S 1       Pilate is aware of your customs.  That is why
.         he had us break the legs of anyone still alive.
.         This is to help speed up their death.

P 2       So you broke the legs of Jesus?

S 1       We did not have to.  He was already dead.

P 2       How can you be so sure?  Do you understand?
.         It is very important that Jesus is dead.

S 1       I pierced His side with a spear.  Both blood
.         and water came out.  If He was still alive,
.         it would have been only blood.  I have seen
.         death many times, so I can assure you –
.         this Man is dead.  There was water
.         in His blood.

NAR. 4    At the fall of man, when man chose to sin,    8
.         God laid out the law:  where there is sin,
.         there is death:  a spiritual death.
.         And over the years leading up to this point,
.         the Israelites were told to make sacrifices
.         to cover their sins.  The blood of the animals,
.         usually a perfect lamb from their flocks,
.         would be used.  But this would cover their sin
.         for only that moment.  And these temporary
.         sacrifices had to continue until Jesus came as
.         the spotless Lamb of God – to be the sacrifice
.         for all time.  His blood that was shed -
.         paid for all our sins.  When we ask for
.         forgiveness, His blood covers all our sins.
.         The wine is symbolic of the blood
.         that Jesus shed for us.  Again, it should only
.         be taken if one has made the decision
.         to become a born-again Christian.

READER 5  (1 Corinthians 11:26)  “For as often
.         as you eat this bread and drink the cup,
.         you proclaim the Lord's death until He comes.”

PASTOR    We will pass around the wine (juice).
.         Once all the cups have been passed around,
.         we will partake together.  

(SONGS are sung until wine/juice has been passed around.)

SONG 5:   “THERE IS POWER IN THE BLOOD”
.            by Lewis E. Jones

PASTOR    (1 Corinthians 11:25)  “In the same way He took
.         the cup also after supper, saying, "This cup is
.         the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often
.         as you drink it, in remembrance of Me."

(ALL partake of the “wine”.)

READER 5b (1 Peter 1:3-5)  “Blessed be the God and Father
.         of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according
.         to His great mercy has caused us to be
.         born again to a living hope through
.         the RESURRECTION of Jesus Christ from the dead,
.         to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable
.         and undefiled and will not fade away,
.         reserved in heaven for you, who are protected
.         by the power of God through faith
.         for a salvation ready to be revealed
.         in the last time.”
.                                                       9
(VIGNETTE 5: SOLDIERS enter, followed by angry PHARISEES.)

P 1       I thought you said He was dead.

S 1       He was!

P 2       And you were supposed to seal that tomb
.         as best as you could - and protect it.

S 1       We did.  We even put a seal around the stone.
.         A GROUP of men could not have moved this.

P 1       Then how do you explain this?  NOW, because
.         Jesus had been SAYING that He would rise again
.         after three days, people are going to start
.         believing that this actually happened.
.         It must have been those disciples!
.         How did the followers of Jesus get past you?

S 1       They were not men, they were, well...

P 1       They were what?

S 2       They were – angels.

S 1       Don’t forget about the earthquake.

S 2       Yes, there was ANOTHER earthquake.

P 1       Coincidence.

S 1       Believe what you want.  I know what I saw.
.         You just cannot explain away something
.         like that.

P 2       You are trained Roman soldiers.  Yet,
.         you are shaking like a leaf.

S 2       I’ve seen many battles and many gruesome things
.         but this is different.  When Jesus died, and
.         that first earthquake happened – people who
.         had been dead and buried – just walked out
.         of their tombs.

S 1       Truly this was the Son of God!  And NOW –
.         this Jesus – has risen – and is alive.

P 2       Do not be saying that!

P 1       We’ll be speaking to your commander.         10
.         And we will insist that you tell people –
.         that it was the disciples who stole
.         the body of Jesus.

S 1       I do not know what makes you think that this
.         will put an end to people hearing the truth.

(PHARISEES walk away.  SOLDIERS follow.)

NAR. 5    He has risen!  (ALL, “He has risen indeed!”)
.         Jesus conquered death so that we might have
.         eternal life.  All we have to do is believe.

READER 6  (John 3:16)  “For God so loved the world,
.         that He gave His only begotten Son,
.         that whoever believes in Him shall not perish,
.         but have eternal life.”

NAR. 5    He has risen!  (ALL, “He has risen indeed!”)
.         For anyone who has not made this decision,
.         God loves you, wants you to be His child,
.         and has provided the way of salvation –
.         through believing in Jesus Christ.

READER 6  (Romans 10:12-13) “For there is no distinction
.         between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord
.         is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all
.         who call on Him; ‘WHOEVER WILL CALL
.         ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.’”

(A PLACE FOR A POSSIBLE INVITATION, or let people know
where they can go if they’d like to pray with somebody
right after the service, if you have designated people
on standby for this.  Have SONG/S during this time,
or just close with one SONG.)

SONG 6a:  “CHRIST THE LORD IS RISEN TODAY”
.            by Charles Wesley
SONG 6b:  “ALLELUIA! SING TO JESUS”  (if needed)
.            by William C.Dix, Rowland H. Prichard
.            & Robert Harkness