That’s the Spirit – a drama for Pentecost

Adapted from an idea in “Plays for all Seasons” by Derek Haylock

Scenario Imaginary interview between Simon Peter and two Roman guards to recount the events of the first Pentecost Sunday.

Bible base Acts 2. 1-42; Mark 14. 66-72

Cast   Simon Peter; a Roman Centurion; a Roman Soldier

Scene – Jerusalem – The two guards are sitting behind a table.

Centurion: Interview with one Simon known as “The Rock”, at the headquarters of the Jerusalem Garrison, 6pm on the Day of Pentecost, in the seventh year of the Prefecture of Pontius Pilate. (To Peter) You are Simon, known as “the Rock”?

Peter: Yes

Roman Soldier:  Why “the Rock” – are you a wrestler or something?

Peter: It’s a long story – Jesus called me that

Centurion You are from Galilee?

Peter Correct

Centurion Occupation?

Peter:  Fisherman – well ex-fisherman – put “fisher of men”. (Smiles at the Soldier who is still scowling.)

Roman Soldier  What do you mean fisher of men? You sailors are all the same …

Centurion Look, let’s get on with it shall we? I’ll just put Fisherman

Roman Soldier:  Aren’t you one of those followers of that crazy preacher – Jesus of Nazareth – the one we crucified for calling himself King of the Jews

Peter:  Yes

Roman Soldier:   Because we heard that you were denying it – three times in fact

Peter:  Well yes that’s true I did deny it – I was frightened and confused

Centurion:   But you don’t deny it now

Peter:  No

Roman Soldier:  Because you are not frightened and confused any more

Peter:  No

Roman Soldier:  (to the Centurion Doesn’t sound much like a Rock to me

Centurion:   OK. So where is his body then? Because we have had a report that it has been stolen

Peter:  It’s not been stolen – he rose from the dead

Roman Soldier:    (Mockingly) Rose from the dead?

Peter:  Yes we have all seen him since he was crucified – he is not dead

Roman Soldier:  So you are saying that he is still alive – that we, the Roman Army, botched the job?

Peter:  No he was dead, but now he is alive – as much as he ever was – in fact even more so – he seems to be everywhere (Pause, then conspiratorially to the Centurion) – we have even seen him eat, shared bread and wine with him

Roman Soldier:   Quite a lot of wine by the sound of it

Centurion:   Yes – we’ll get to that in a minute. You see, sir, we’ve had a few complaints about disturbances in the city this morning. I should explain, you’re not under arrest or anything.

Roman Soldier:   (Threateningly) Not yet

Centurion:   We just wanted to check up on what’s going on. We have had some important foreign visitors in here – good, God-fearing people: Parthians, er – who else was it?.

Roman Soldier:  It’s quite a list (Checking his notes, then reading) Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and converts, Cretans and Arabs, Sir.

Centurion:   I’ve never seen so many foreign visitors in the city! It’s like the Olympics are being held here in Jerusalem not in Britannia

Peter:  Today of all days! It’s brilliant timing, isn’t it?

Centurion:   Is it? Annoying I call it – anyway they seem to be a little bit confused and …

Roman Soldier:   Upset

Centurion:   Perplexed

Roman Soldier:    Upset

Centurion:   (reading notes) “Stunned, excited, amazed, challenged, thrilled”

Roman Soldier:   Upset

Centurion:   Well, yes. Some of them were upset but not all, it seems. Anyway we’ve had reports about a loud noise …

Roman Soldier:   (from his notes) “like the rushing of a mighty wind”

Centurion:   And flames

Roman Soldier:    “Coming out of people’s heads”

Centurion:   And you speaking to them in foreign languages

Roman Soldier:   (Menancingly) How exactly do you know Parthian?

Peter:  I don’t or at least I didn’t – that must be the work of the Holy Spirit

Centurion:   (writing down) “Holy Spirit” Yes we’re coming to that. But first of all do you want to tell us about the wind and the flames and everything

Peter:  Well it all started before our teacher, Jesus, was crucified. He said this would happen – that he would send the Holy Spirit to help us when he was gone.

Roman Soldier:   Yeah right – “Holy spirit”, methylated spirits is more like it

Centurion:   We’re coming to that – so he is gone now, this Jesus?

Peter:  Yes – sort of

Roman Soldier:  Dead again?

Peter:  No, not dead.  Here, but not here

Centurion:   Now I’m confused

Roman Soldier:  They were right – he’s drunk

Peter:  No, no, not at all – I’m just filled with the Holy Spirit

Roman Soldier:   Exactly

Peter:  No – it was only 9 o’clock in the morning that it came – I hadn’t touched a drop

Roman Soldier:  You’re a sad case – off your trolley by breakfast and cant admit it – classic case of denial – repeat after me “My name’s Simon Peter and I’m an alcoholic”

Peter:  (ignoring him) As I was saying this morning – it’s as we were told in the scriptures in the writing of the prophet Joel.

Have you got a Bible? It’s Joel 2: 28-32 ‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.

Centurion:   (continuing reading from a Bible which he has found) Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’

Roman Soldier:  So are you saying these are the last days? The end of time?

Peter:  Well they may well be – strange things are happening – they may well be your last days – the Roman Empire won’t last forever you know

Roman Soldier:  I wouldn’t bet on that.  I think the Roman Empire will last a lot longer than your Jesus cult!

Centurion:   (ignoring the Soldier) So what do we need to do to be saved

Peter:  Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Roman Soldier:  Oh yeah – More of this Holy Sprit

Centurion:   Well it is there in the Jewish Bible – foretold!

Roman Soldier:  You don’t believe this nonsense?

Centurion:   I don’t know – there’s something about this guy. Do you know he baptised 3,000 people today?

Roman Soldier:  I’m off– if you ask me you’re wasting your time with this nutter – good luck to you (the Soldier leaves)

Centurion:   (turning to Peter) I’m interested in this dead but not dead Jesus character – are you saying he has come back from Hades as some sort of spirit – like a ghost?  Tell me more about him

Peter:  Do you know what it is to feel truly loved? Utterly known, completely understood and still loved?

Centurion:   No, but I think I’d like to

Peter:  Have you got any bread and wine – there’s something I need to show you

Centurion:   Come with me (They leave together)

Let us pray Almighty God we give thanks for the gift of the Holy Spirit – for your continuing presence with us here on earth and for your ability to know us, to love us and to change our lives. Amen

Closing Prayer taken form the letters of St Peter

With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness.
Instead he is patient with you,
not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief.
The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire,
and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.

Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth
so that you have sincere love for each other,
love one another deeply, from the heart.
For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable,
through the living and enduring word of God.
For, “All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field;
the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord endures forever.”
And this is the word that was preached to you.
Amen.

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2 Responses to That’s the Spirit – a drama for Pentecost

  1. Rae Graham says:

    This is amazing. Innovative, Bible based and very moving.

  2. Reblogged this on The Word on the Hill and commented:

    Hope you find this inspiring …

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