A Stranger on the Road (version 1)

Based on the Gospel of Luke, chapter 24

[This version requires actors—Cleopas, Mary, and Jesus. They need a clear path to walk around the chairs.]

[Mary is standing a little to the side of the Narrator.]

Where’s Mary? Has anyone seen her tonight? Where could she have got to? [Children call out and point.] Oh, there you are. How come I couldn’t see you? [She can shrug.]

Does that ever happen to you, that you’re looking for something, and you can’t see it even though it’s right in front of your nose?

It’s like that sometimes with Jesus: he’s there all the time, close beside us, telling us he loves us, but sometimes we don’t realise it. Maybe we’re sad or we’re angry or we’re confused, and we feel Jesus is a million miles away.

But there are always things that remind us that he’s there. We just have to notice them. Sometimes there’s something we read in the Bible that reminds us; or there’s a warm feeling that we get inside that means Jesus is there; or we come to a communion service at the church.

There’s a story in the Bible about two friends of Jesus who were very sad after he died, and they didn’t know yet that he had come back to life. Their names were Cleopas and Mary, a husband and wife, and they were walking from Jerusalem, where Jesus had died, to their home in Emmaus, a few kilometres away.

[They begin to walk around the chairs.] And as they walked, they talked. “Isn’t it sad that Jesus died?” said Mary. “Yes,” said Cleopas. “I had begun to think he really was the Son of God.” “I miss him already,” said Mary. “He was so kind and gentle and wise.”

Just then, a stranger came up alongside them and began to walk with them. [Jesus joins them.] They didn’t know who it was. (Can you guess who it was?)

He said, “What are you talking about?” They stopped and looked sad. Cleopas said, “How can you not know? Our friend Jesus was killed here a couple of days ago. I thought everybody knew.” “Yes,” said Mary. “We thought he was going to be the saviour of the world, but now he’s dead, and it’s all over.” Cleopas said, “But now some people are saying he’s alive again. That would be wonderful, but of course that couldn’t possibly be true.”

And the stranger said, “Why shouldn’t it be true? Haven’t you read the Bible? This is the way it was always meant to be—that the Son of God would be killed and then he would come back to life.” And as they walked along, he explained more and more. And Mary and Cleopas found that they had a strange warm feeling growing inside them, but they didn’t know why, or what it meant.

Eventually, they came to the town where Cleopas and Mary lived, and they got to their house. [It works best visually if they can manage to arrive home when they are in front of the audience.] The stranger seemed to be going on, so Mary said, “Don’t go yet. Why don’t you stay at our place tonight, and we can have a meal together?” And he said, “That’s great. I would like that. Thank you.”

So they went in, and sat down, and Cleopas and Mary got the meal ready. And then they said to the stranger, “Would you like to say a prayer and thank God for the food?” And the stranger said, “Sure.” And he lifted his hands to pray . . . and suddenly they knew who it was (how did they know?): it was Jesus and he really was alive! And then . . . he was gone. He just disappeared into thin air. [This Jesus stubbornly doesn’t disappear.] OK, since Jesus can’t disappear, he’s just going to walk off. [Jesus walks off.] But in the story, Jesus actually disappeared.

And Mary and Cleopas were so excited that they ran all the way back to Jerusalem, even though it was quite late by now, so they could tell Jesus’ other friends what had happened.

[Mary and Cleopas run around the chairs and end up in front of the group, and say, “The Lord is risen!”—and hope for the response “The Lord is risen indeed!”—three times.]

May 2104